Show me the money!
Obsessing about “the split” and making sure you are not getting taken for a ride is one part of separation, but to really win you need to step back and look at the bigger picture.
Show me the Money!
It is almost impossible not to get obsessed about percentages, asset splits, superannuation and who is getting what when you are going through a separation. And most lawyers will feed that obsession. But a far better way to get through a separation with your sanity intact is to stand back and look at the bigger picture. What would I like to do next, how do I get from where I am to where I want to be and what do I need to make that happen.
It is almost impossible not to get obsessed with what you will get.
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There is no doubt that how your assets are divided is important, and makes a big difference to how you will live in the future. But what most lawyers wont tell you is built in to the Family Court process is a mechanism designed to protect both of you financially. The Family Court has to approve your asset split to make sure it is fair and reasonable. If you submit consent orders – or choose to go to court – there is a range the court will accept to ensure neither of you are missing out and neither of you will be unable to take care of yourselves and your children in the future. And if you choose a BFA (a sort of post-nup) you both have to have legal advice and cant be coerced in to signing.
So once you realise there is a safety net, and you aren’t going to miss out, you can take a deep breath get a good nights sleep and start planning how you would like your life to look from now on.
There is a safety net so you aren’t going to miss out.
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At BrightSide we prefer to talk to our clients about the overall outcome they would like to achieve rather than the percentage. We rarely give our clients a percentage because it tends to frame everyones thinking and then ends up as wins and losses. People get fixated on the percentage and any point away from that is a loss which only leads to arguments and lawyers fees. For most of us, ten percent of our asset pool is about $5,000, not chicken feed but also not worth having a 2 or 3 year court fight over and certainly not worth paying a lawyer $100,000 to get.
What people do talk about is relationships
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Rather than percentages in a BrightSide initial consult we will talk to you about is what is most important to you and how we can find a way to make that happen. When we talk to clients in their initial consult about what they want from their separation money is mentioned but it is only one of the things mentioned and not usually the first thing. What people do talk about is relationships. Relationships with kids, friends, in laws and as surprising as it may sound even their ex. They talk about going back to old careers they haven’t worked at in years or starting new ones they have always wanted to try. They talk about houses they would like to live in and experiences they would like to have with their kids. Big picture outcomes rather than percentages.
Which is the advantage of collaborative law instead of the old fashioned conflict law. Collaboration and negotiation makes all of that possible because it makes all of those relationships still possible. If you choose to make it a battle, take to the trenches and lob grenades at each other for several years, any relationships you do have will end up looking like a WW1 battlefield. That is hard on your kids, hard on your family, hard on your friends but mostly it is hard on you.
If you take to the trenches and lob grenades at each other your life will look like a WW1 battlefield.
I need nothing here
And separation is hard enough without bringing all that grief in to it as well.
Which is why you need to focus on the big picture outcome not the percentage. If you can spend as little money and time on your lawyers as possible, get what you need from “the split”, preserve your relationships and begin your new life as soon as possible that is a win. That is a great outcome and a big picture win. And it is a win for everyone involved, you, your kids and even your ex (who one day you may even want to talk to again).
Get a good nights sleep and let BrightSide look after you.
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For help with your separation or parenting issues call BrightSide
Susan Hewitt is the Principal at Bright Side Family Law, a non-litigious family law and mediation practice. Susan has worked as a lawyer and journalist for almost 30 years. She is an accredited collaborative lawyer and family-law mediator who is committed to helping families through their relationship breakdown in an honest, cooperative and respectful manner.
If you are facing a family law matter give us a call (6382 0123) or email us https://brightsidefamilylaw.com.au/contact-us/