Are You Ready To Go To Family Court?
Posted: 28th January 2020
Posted in: News
Posted by: Fiona Browne, Associate
Making the decision to go to Family Court is not a decision that should be made without considering the impact upon you and your family. It is not uncommon for a client to think that they have no choice but to go to the Family Court given the often intense feelings separating couples experience at the point of separation. Many clients come to their first appointment and relay strong emotions and often unreasonable reactive behaviour experienced from their former spouse. They feel that things are out of control and they are firm that they are prepared to go to the Family Court to deal with their family law dispute regardless of the cost. For the experienced family lawyer, this client is experiencing an emotional response and they need to be advised as to what the reality is of them making the decision to go to the Family Court at such an early stage.
Unfortunately, the costs are not just financial. At the time that a client instructs us to go to the Family Court, they do not realise what going through the Family Court system will mean to them in terms of stress, time and money. The most important thing that must be stressed to a client is that by going to the Family Court, they no longer have control over the outcome in their family law matter. They are handing control over to a third party. Someone who doesn’t know them or their family.
Risks When Going Through The Family Court System
Legal fees are something you will have to pay out of your own pocket. Every Court appearance will incur legal costs and these legal costs are not normally recoverable.
Where the other party is difficult and the matter does not resolve and proceeds to a final hearing, an application can be made to recover part of your legal costs. Unfortunately, there will always be an out of pocket component to what you must pay in legal costs to your family lawyer to get your matter before the Family Court.
You will be focused on going to the Family Court. You will lose time that you would otherwise be able to devote to the things that are important such as family, enjoying your free time or your work.
The Family Court is responsible for thousands of cases opened each year in each registry, amounting to hundreds of thousands of cases nationwide. When your matter is before the Family Court you will often be required to be at the Family Court for a full day. This is difficult when you are trying to manage all the other important things in your everyday life. Life must continue regardless of whether you are going to the Family Court.
Parties normally have a lengthy wait period given the thousands of cases before the Family Court.
Going to Court is stressful. Clients will commonly report back that going through a family law matter, particularly where there is a parenting dispute, was the most stressful experience in their life. The feelings of stress and anxiety take a toll on the whole family. Until the matter has been dealt with by the Family Court, it is difficult for parties to move on in life.
Is Going Through The Family Court System The Only Option?
Although the Family Court is there to provide a final decision for separating couples if they are unable to resolve issues in respect to parenting or financial matters, it is not the first option or best option for the majority of clients.
Families are encouraged to make arrangements outside of the Courtroom. This will result in saving time, money and stress. It will allow clients to have control of the outcome. Importantly, it may also result in clients being able to maintain some level of cooperation with their former spouse.
So before deciding to start the court action, take some time to think about the best cause of action and speak with you Family Lawyer for sound legal advice about the matter.
If you have questions, we encourage you to CONTACT US for a FREE initial consultation.