The Family Court is now filled with self represented parents who are unable to resolve disputes about their children. Many no longer qualify for the assistance of Legal Aid and are left to their own devices. The flow on effect is that property disputes are unable to get timely hearings. There has to be an alternate way for people to resolve property disputes because the queue is long and extremely slow.
Mediation, in the hands of skilled qualified mediators, is that alternate way for good people to settle their differences. Mediation is becoming so successful in property disputes that it could be truely described as a parallel system to the Court system. It is helped by the support framework of the Court and with that support gives people the means to settle their own disputes.
I recently read an article in the Herald about a group of young children living in abusive and violent family homes. Their sense of helplessness was paralysing. They were the victims of violence, arguments and abuse.
“Why are the parents more childish than the children?”, they asked.
The challenge was to find the solution. To get the parents to wake up and grow up.
The children arrived at the answer. It was really simple and obvious to them. “If people wanted to be parents they had to grow up, pass an exam and get a licence. They had to learn the rules and the right way to treat kids.” As one said, “You have to do that to drive a car.”
What can you say? But out of the mouths of children... We adults really do need to listen.
I read an article in the Daily Examiner where a mother of three children had recently separated from her partner and was unable to obtain rental accommodation. This was a tragic story. She had no rental history. She had limited finance available to her. She was seen as a financial risk as a tenant.
This predicament is not uncommon particularly if one party has been the homemaker and parent and the other the financial provider. After separation the homemaker and parent is often impoverished while the financial provider remains comfortable.
A good Family Lawyer is able to assist the impoverished. Applications can be made to the Court for money to be released to the financially needy partner. This can be in the form of spousal maintenance and/or interim property orders.
It is essential for the financially vulnerable to get specialised advice in Family Law at the outset. This is the time you most need help from a specialist.
A question often asked after people come to an agreement about property is, “Why didn’t we settle this property dispute earlier?” The answer is simple but the reasoning is complex.
“You weren’t ready to agree.”
I recently heard a teacher speak about “the teachable moment”. This is the moment in time when a student’s interest is captured . It is a near magical point when learning and teaching merge. The exercise is so simple. The teaching is absorbed and often embedded for life. The settlement of a property dispute is exactly the same. When it is resolved it is so simple and often so obvious.
However the journey to get to that place or moment of agreement is difficult and painful. So much to say; so much to grieve about; so much loss and disappointment.
A skilful lawyer and negotiator who has good human qualities is your guide to the moment of agreement. Don’t just employ any guide; employ a good guide.
Christmas was meant to be a time of family joy. For newly separated families it can be a time of stress. Dad feels cheated; Mum feels abandoned; kids feel confused.
Xmas day was a combination of no communication; lonely travel to pick up kids, and lots of angry advice from the extended family as to what should happen. The overall result was unbelievable stress.
Underlying all of this were unspoken fears. "Where will I live?"; "How will I survive financially?"; "How do we divide the property?"
This is a New Year. My aim is to get you focussed on achievable solutions and move you out of the conflict zone. Good family law advice allows you to move on with your life.