Separated? The top 5 tips for navigating your family law matter

Posted on June 10, 2022

Separation and divorce are among the most stressful life situations that anyone can go through. It is common to experience severe emotional distress, uncertainty about the future for yourself and your children and feel overwhelmed by the tasks in front of you which can include moving house, changing your children’s school, and financial uncertainty.

At Scanlan Carroll our team of experienced family lawyers can assist you.  Our firm has been operating for over 30 years and we pride ourselves on our personalised approach to our clients, giving you the right advice when you need it at this stressful time so you are never left wondering what the next steps are.

Here are our top 5 tips for navigating your way through your family law matter:

Get some legal advice and select your lawyer with care

Even in amicable separations, where you may have agreed what your property division will be with your former partner, we recommend obtaining legal advice so you can be certain of what you are entitled to, that you have included all relevant property (super gets included!) and that your agreement is properly documented to ensure your property matter is finalised. This avoids having any doubts in the future, and regretting your decision down the track that you have settled for an amount lower than you could have obtained.

Seek recommendations from friends and colleagues and seek a lawyer who practices mainly or exclusively in family law, and call the firm to have an initial conversation with the lawyer to ensure you feel comfortable with them.  Family lawyers are often involved in more personal information about your family and finances than other types of lawyers and are advising you during a stressful time.  Working with a lawyer you find easy to deal with can provide relief in a difficult situation.

Our mottos are timeliness and accessibility – we know that in a family law dispute you need to be across where your case is at at all times and not wondering what is happening and what the next steps are. At each stage you are provided with options about how to move your case forward for you to choose from, ensuring that you feel in control of your matter.

Get your documents in order

In all family law property matters, each party has an obligation to fully disclose their financial position. It is usual to provide a year of bank statements, your superannuation balance, payslips and three years of tax returns. Having your documents ready leads to less delays in your matter and enables quicker advice to be given to you once the full financial picture is known. Less follow ups from your lawyer and the other side or their lawyer means faster progression of your matter with less unnecessary costs.

Ask (lots) of questions

Separation is overwhelming and for family law clients, it is often their first time of instructing a lawyer. We explain the process and your options in the first meeting, and provide detailed advice confirming this after the meeting so you can go away and read it again in your own time.

Surround yourself with support

Many family law clients bring a trusted friend or relative to their appointments as a support person. Our client’s support people are welcome at all times. It can be helpful to have someone to discuss your case with you for support outside of your lawyer.

We can assist you with recommending other support people and professionals to assist you as your matter progresses, such as a financial planner or a mortgage broker to make inquiries about your ability to retain your home, or purchase another home, as an example.

Begin with the end in mind

Feedback from past clients is typically that they never looked back after their matter was resolved. From the early advice stages, we can assist you in deciding the best future course of action for you. Our aim is to provide you with the right advice at the beginning to resolve your matter as soon as possible, so that you can move forward with your life.

At Scanlan Carroll we being a commercial approach to your family law matters. If you would like to make a time to discuss your family law matter, please contact Carol Pages, Partner and Accredited Specialist – Family Law on [email protected]