5-stage resolution pathway
Regardless of how your matter unfolds, our five-stage pathway lays out the steps nearly all clients follow when resolving their family law matter. There are some side roads, and there are always some unknowns in family law, but sticking to our established, well-worn path will help you refocus when you need to, and keep you on track for sorting things out with as little emotional and financial cost as possible.
This initial stage starts with you and your lawyer – we will identify the legal issues and any goals that may be common to both parties or different. We will also talk about any interests or concerns in relation to you and your former partner.
This is where you tell us your story – what’s keeping you awake at night and what you want to stay the same.
The diagnosis phase continues throughout your matter but starts early with your lawyer identifying the issues you need resolved – Parenting? Property? Living arrangements? – and the goals and interests that are important to you, where the kids go to school, where you live, where’s the money coming from.
Some of these will be things a traditional legal process won’t take into account but they matter to you, so they matter to us.
We understand the legal processes and options, your rights and entitlements. With that knowledge we can work with you to achieve what you are trying to do and prioritise what is important to you and your family.
We identify the options available to you and then help you make a decision about which is the right path for you to follow from here.
After an initial meeting we will propose a settlement strategy and give you a fixed-fee quote for what the work involved would cost.
2. Gather information
Once we have agreed on a settlement strategy, we need to gather information.
Now it is time to work with your lawyer to gather all the information you are legally required to provide and, importantly, any information that is personal to you and helps explain what is important to you and your family – this could be something like a pre-approval to return to study or to get reaccreditation, including the length of time training might take and how much it will cost.
You, your lawyers and any other necessary collaborative professionals will work together between meetings to gather the information you need to make decisions. It is likely to include financial documents – tax returns, superannuation balances and bank statements – and valuations.
You might also be gathering information about your kids – from their school or counsellors. Your lawyer may suggest an independent child expert meet your children to provide feedback at a future meeting about how the kids are travelling
Where couples can quickly gather information and exchange the legally required documents settlements are much more likely to be resolved faster.
Once we have the required information we can provide you with preliminary legal advice based on the facts and figures, along with any recommendations we may have that you seek advice from other professionals such as financial, personal or parenting advisors.
We then work together to brainstorm options for solutions; then consider or weigh up the outcome of each option. When going through the possibilities we will talk to you about the emotional, financial and legal perspectives of each path.
Here is where we start working on your chosen settlement strategy.
This may involve finalising a kitchen table agreement; participating in a mediation; negotiating with your ex or their lawyer; or working in a collaborative team.
The hard part is over and all that’s left is for the lawyers to draft a written agreement that accurately reflects your settlement terms, for each of you to sign – this will finalise your legal matters.
The agreement you have reached will be drafted into legal documents. This may in the form of Consent Orders to be filed in the Family Court of Western Australia, or a binding financial agreement that reflects your unique arrangement.
This drafting will be done by your lawyer and then sent to your ex for signing.