Family law cases: 5 common mistakes that jeopardise people’s interests

November 3, 2021

Family law cases are contentious and often fraught with energy and emotion. But despite passions being high, there are some things NOT to do. We explore the top 5 things to avoid in family law disputes. 

Last week on our social media channels, I discussed why our firm does what it does from a family law perspective. The response privately was quite something: it hit a nerve with our clients and others, with a raft of inquiries about our work resulting from it.

As I mentioned then, Family Law is a labour of love for our firm. But while we love assisting people in this space and making a meaningful difference to people’s lives, there are things we come across every day which we wished people would keep in mind to make their own outcomes easier to achieve.

Here are the top 5 common mistakes people make when it comes to family conflicts, separation, divorce cases and related matters that seriously put their outcomes in jeopardy both legally as well as practically and emotionally. 

1. Being unflinching in an ANY position and not being pragmatic

There is a time to take a decisive stand, and a time to realise that the law gives regard to multiple people’s rights.

Often, people want to “stand firm” or “make them (the counterparty) accountable”.

Family law is the wrong place to look for vindication and to “fight it out”.

It is critical to approach the matter with an open mind, considering the commercial reality of your situation and looking to settle as early as possible for all involved, unless in extreme cases where one party has clearly done something wrong.

2. Not sharing the entire story with your lawyers

Lawyers can only prepare a client’s case so far as the instructions they are provided. Family law disputes are not the places to hide facts hoping they’ll go away.

Thus, openness from the get-go – especially with one’s lawyer – is paramount.

3. Throwing children into the mix

Involving children in separation disputes is a mistake and should be avoided at all costs.

Apart from the emotional toll on all involved, courts also don’t look favourably upon those who use children as bargaining chips or try to achieve outcomes that threaten the other party’s rights to access (again, unless in cases where there are clear wrongs or criminal activities).

4. Posting on social media

Simply put, posting about your family law matter on social media or the Internet can be an absolute strategic disaster.

There have been numerous cases in the Family Court where parties’ social media posts have been accessed and used against the poster in proceedings!

These activities often viewed negatively by the Family Court as being indicative of a total lack of insight into behaviour and can result in an unfavourable outcome. 

Keep emotions in check! 

5. Using laypeople and friends for legal advice

 “My friend got divorced and they got this so they told me I can get that too”. 

This conclusion is likely a big mistake, and it is likely you’ve misunderstood.

Every circumstance is different and has its own set of facts and circumstances.  Those facts and circumstances will have the biggest impact upon the outcome of a matter as will other variables such as how a matter is resolved.

Resist the temptation to compare and try to keep the uniqueness of your situation in mind.

This list is a short and deliberately punchy one, and one we’ll build upon in the time to come. I look forward to sharing some more insights and tips based on our experience, but for now, these are some things to avoid if you are going through a family law matter, even if your heart tells you otherwise.

About Us

Circle Bridge Legal is a leading Western Sydney law firm at the heart of Australia’s next growth engine. Located in the hub of activity generated by Sydney’s upcoming second international airport [Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport], our ambitions are as grand as our region’s.

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