We often have clients who attend their first appointment concerned about what it means to have instructed a divorce lawyer. It is a common misconception amongst people that when you instruct a divorce lawyer you have reached a point of no return and it is now “game on”.
A couple of things to note when considering meeting with a divorce lawyer are
- Your former spouse does not need to know.
There is no requirement that you inform your spouse that you have met with a lawyer.**
- We can be as involved or uninvolved in the negotiations for parenting matters, property matters and spousal maintenance matters as you decide.
It is up to you whether we correspond with your former spouse or whether you wish to commence negotiations regarding parenting and financial matters yourself.
- There is no obligation to continue to instruct a lawyer after the first appointment.
We always provide clients with options at the end of their first appointment as to where they would like to go from here – would they like us to write, attend court or wait to hear from them?
- An initial meeting does not mean that your matter is heading straight for the Family Court.
We always suggest a number of alternative dispute resolution options at your first appointment.
- A suggestion to commence proceedings in the Family Court does not necessarily mean that your matter is going to a trial.
There are a number of interim hearings and Court initiated dispute resolution options which provide an opportunity to reach a settlement. The current percentage of matters that start in the Family Court and remain in the Family Court system until a trial is 2%.
- Your relationship with your former spouse does not need to be acrimonious for you to have a need to seek legal advice.
Often a client will just need some initial advice as to their rights and entitlements. Parties may also need advice as to how to practically resolve their matter and formalise any agreement that has been reached between them.
Making an appointment to see a divorce lawyer should not be considered a scary step or an act of going to war with your former spouse. It will likely be the most sensible step you can take in the direction of resolving your family law dispute.
**Tip from the experts – don’t pay our initial consultation fee with your credit card or joint account if you don’t want your partner to know.