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Don’t get caught in Court

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) published a series of articles about divorce in Australia ( 7-8 November 2015) following the release of the latest figures from the Australian Institute of Relationship Studies.


The AFR reports the divorce rate among people over the age of 50 was increasing despite the overall divorce rate declining slightly. People are also waiting until they are older to marry, while many are waiting to divorce after their children are in their mid-teens or leave school.


Family Lawyer Jamie Burreket of Broun Abrahams Burreket said one of the common issues played out in Court is when a parent has lent or advanced monies to their children to help them acquire real estate, which is fine when the couple are happily married but once they separate it can turn nasty if and when the parents want their money back. Burreket advises ensuring any cash advances are properly documented as loans not as a gift.


The AFR suggests 1 in 20 couples end up in Court after separating. Family Lawyer Paul Doolan says one common issue among many couples is when one partner spends big; nothing is frozen between separation and final settlement and due to the court’s limited resources, people who spend big on renovations, new cars and expensive rentals often aren’t penalised. In some cases there may be a judge who will “punish??? for extraordinary spending.


The lawyers interviewed by the AFR agreed that it is best for couples to try and settle things, outside of court when they can. There can be up to a 3 year wait in Court and people can easily end up spending $100,000-$200,000 in the family court, on top of the fact that there are no guarantees that you will get what you want.


At Hawke Segal Mediation we offer mediation services for people who want to settle parenting or financial matters through direct negotiation and collaboration. We endeavour to keep our clients out of Court saving them time, money and the emotional distress involved in litigation.


As family dispute resolution practitioners we are always focussed on the best interests of the children. We don’t act for either party, mother or father, we are there as a professional neutral party focussed on helping both sides hear the other’s point of view, looking for common ground and working toward agreements that the whole family can live with.