Separation and Divorce Consultation
Separation and Divorce Consultations are for people who are ending a relationship and want more understanding of their family law options.
During the session you will get the facts from a Family Law professional and make a plan so that you separate without destroying your family.
Book in for a Separation and Divorce Consultation
What will we do in a Separation and Divorce Consultation?
In the session we look at the past, the present and most of all the future. The consultant will help you to understand what you need to do following separation to reach a financial settlement and to develop a care plan for your children. There are a number of options to achieve this without going to court even if you are in conflict. We’ll help you to get clear about your goals for your family and to begin to build a plan to work towards achieving them within the limits imposed by Australian Family Law.
What happened in the Past?
The first part of the consultation is a quick discussion of the history of your relationship. During this part of the session we help you to collect your Family Law “Vital Statistics”. You’ll need this information to get good quality legal advice and if you want to get court orders to make your settlement legally binding.
What's going on right now?
Next our practitioner will ask you about your current situation. This is not a legal advice session but they will be giving you legal information and helping you to correct any “old wives tales” about family law. If you don’t understand your legal rights and obligations they will help you to prepare the information and questions you need to get good legal advice. They will be concerned for your safety and security and link you with specialist support services if you are not properly supported.
What do you want the future to hold?
The final stage of the process starts with what you want (your goals) for yourself and your family. Once your destination and what iss important to you is clear your practitioner will help you to your plan to move towards your post separation future. You will put together one or more goal plans to help you to negotiate the family law system to come out the other side with the agreements you need in place. The higher the conflict the more detailed and binding your settlements will need to be and by the end of the session what you’ll need will be clear to you.
Video explaining the Separation and Divorce Consultation process
Program Manager and founder Joanne Law talks about the Separation and Divorce Consultation.
We developed this session to help people who are separating and divorcing to develop goals and plans that help to prevent conflict becoming entrenched or escalating into violence.
Seperation and Divorce ConsultationAre you confused? You don't have to be.
- Full separation or divorce consultation via phone or video meeting (Zoom or Skype)
- You can do the session from any location including with your support worker or a family member or friend
- Joint sessions with your partner are OK if you want to work out how to have a non-adversarial separation
- Children cannot attend these sessions. Please arrange child care as we will not proceed with the session if children are present.
- Face-to-Face options are subject to availability of staff and rooms.
Why have a Separation or Divorce Consultation session?
The benefits of a Separation or Divorce Consoltation
When you have conflict in your home it can be really confusing to work out what your options are and who to turn to for help.
Everyone has an opinion and sometimes the advice you receive is uninformed, biased or self-interested. Lawyers will often want to head straight to court but while sometimes going to court is the only option left available to you it is not the only option and often not the best option. Going to court should be a considered decision and not the automatic response.
That is because going to the Family Court costs a lot of money and guarantees that you will be locked in conflict for years further affecting your family relationships. When you are in court it also significantly affects your ability to communicate and resolve day to day issues with your former partner if you are continuing to co-parent.
Going to court is like having surgery to separate. Sometimes your relationship is so sick that it seems like you require the order of a judge in order to reach a resolution but the reality is only about 15% of matters the start in the Family Course actually get to the stage of a Final Court Order. Most are worked out by a compromise during the court process and after a lot of cost and distress.
The greatest benefit of the Separation or Divorce Consultation is that it will help you to face the reality of your situation and all of the options you have to improve your situation while also maintaining a high priority on making sure that you, your former partner and your children are safe from harm or from further harm.
The consultant will help you to understand your situation, consider your options and develop a plan to move forward and take back control of your life.
Before you separate
If you can considering separation but are confused about your options a Separation or Divorce Consultation can be a great first step. If you have not had legal advice the Consultant can help you to prepare to get good quality legal advice.
Separation may not be the only or best option but when considering ending a relationship it pays to talk with someone who understands the family law system but doesn’t have a vested interest in any one of those options. Find out what your options are, especially if you have concerns about your safety or the safety of your children.
During the Separation
We hear many, many stories of people who spend excessive amounts of money on family law and usually that is because they do not understand how to work well with lawyers. The fact that your lawyer quoted you $10,000 or $20,000 doesn’t mean you may not be in for a very expensive surprise if you are not keeping track of how they cost of the process.
If you feel that you are not being well advised, feel that you are locked out of the family law system or feeling lost or confused for any other reason you may benefit from a Separation or Divorce Consultation.
When Trying to Co-Parent
If you have finalized your property settlement that is generally the end of that stage of your separation. Arrangements for children many need to be adjusted as your children grow and their needs change. There are many ways to achieve this and they do not normally require you to go back to court or put up with orders that don’t work for anyone.
What happens in a Separation or Divorce Consultation Session?
During the Separation or Divorce Consultation the consultant will help you to gain clarity about your goals and options in regards to your current situation. When you are separating there are the Financial and Legal aspects to consider but also very much the emotional side of things.
Unlike a legal consultation where the lawyer will focus only on the legal issues the consultant in a Separation and Divorce Consultant will be talking with you about the bigger picture of navigating through the many challenges associated with separating.
Because the consultant is a Family Law Professional they will also be helping you to bring together the information you need to get good quality legal advice and help you to prepare to speak with a lawyer if you are not aware of your rights and obligations under Family Law.
During your Guidance Session we help you to go through a structured process of :
- collecting the basic information needed for family law
- clarifying your current situation and the issues you are experiencing
- finding out about your family and what you want to change
- exploring what you have already tried and other options you may not have considered
- supporting you to decide what your next step or steps should be to move towards a safer, more positive and respectful situation for you and your children
Is a Separation or Divorce Consultation the same as a Legal Advice and Strategy Session?
No. Guidance Sessions are facilitated by Family Dispute Resolution practitioners with additional training from Interact Support. Guidance Sessions are not legal advice sessions but we can help you to prepare and refer you to a lawyer if you need legal advice.
Legal advice is important but it is only part of the picture when you are ending a relationship and usually lawyers are only able to assist you with the legal aspect of your situation.
Is a Separation or Divorce Consultation the same as Marriage Counselling?
No. During the Separation or Divorce Consultation you may identify that individual, couples or family counselling may be beneficial for you but the Guidance Session does not use a counselling methodology.
It is more like a coaching session in that you clarify your goals and with the help of the practitioner reality test it and work out a plan to achieve them. Guidance sessions are designed to help you to understand your options and work out what to do and are much more focused than a counselling session.
Often only one person from a couple comes to the Separation or Divorce Consultation but it is quite acceptable for both to attend if you want to have an amicable separation and avoid the conflict that can often be generated by going to individual lawyers as your only source of information.