Looking beyond the legalities
I know some family lawyers who I admit are technically brilliant. They’re able to quote case law and legislation without breaking a sweat and they know all of the procedures back to front. They’re legal experts who write the text books that both students and judges alike will refer to in their essays and in their judgments. BUT between you and me, you probably wouldn’t want them to advise you or represent you in court*. But why?
The answer is that family law is more than just the law. It’s all too easy for professionals like family lawyers to forget what’s at the centre of all the issues. It’s the human factor. It’s a condition of the heart. It’s not something that anyone can find in a library or a text book, or by searching on the internet. When we deal in family law, we’re dealing with real people and their lives. It’s personal to them, and family lawyers should respect that. We’re dealing with real people and their relationships with their family and loved ones, how they interact and communicate with each other, and how they love each other… yes, love.
In the middle of a blog that promotes our family law services and ‘discount’ divorces, I’m going to talk above love and reconciliation – and as much as it’s our role as family lawyers to provide assistance in the legalities of separation, divorce, property settlement and parenting, I believe it’s also incumbent on us to encourage you and all of our clients to reconcile and repair your relationships – if not for your sake, or your partner’s sake, then for your family and those who mean the most to you.
If you think back, more often than not, love was the reason of your union in the first place. With that in mind, I don’t think it’s so strange to ask whether you still love him (or her as the case may be). In fact, it might be the most important question I could ever ask you. Of course, we could skip all the ‘lovey-stuff’ and focus on just the factual information and tick a couple of boxes to ensure that we’ve satisfied the legal requirements. How easy would it be if we could just get ‘the law’ to say you can get a divorce? But it’s not that simple when the heart yearns (even secretly or silently) and says otherwise? At least I don’t think it’s that simple and I don’t think it should be either.
Love is complex. Love justifies many things, and in the absence of anything else, I think it gives you a pretty good reason to explore reconciliation with whoever might have been your ‘better half’ at one time or another. It doesn’t matter whether your efforts result in or are even likely to result in repairing the relationship or marriage – but at least give it a go and you’re able to say that you’ve given it a go. It should be worth that at the very least, isn’t it?
The cold hard fact is that separation and divorce, and especially a decree of divorce (decree nisi), is legally and clinically absolute. It’s a declaration by the court that your marriage is irreconcilable and is over. That’s it. The end.
For the majority of us there are no huge financial settlements, no front page stories in Women’s Day or New Idea, and aren’t any paparazzi hiding in the bushes outside the front door. It’s just a divorce.
I appreciate maybe that’s what some people want, but it’s not necessarily what they need or what they should do. In Australia and other western countries, society has become more and more accepting of divorces – but is that right or the best for the couple or the family? Divorce should be the last resort and never the first option. When you find that you’re there, yes we’ll still help you with your divorce, your property settlement, and obtaining parenting orders – and along the way, we’ll still ask you ‘do you still love him?’.
Family law is more than just the law – it involves you, and everything that you are. My lawyers and I know this, and we make sure that all times we’re working in your best interest and supporting you through this difficult time.
*If you can find a lawyer with Mozart’s technical genius in law and justice, and Florence Nightingale’s bedside manner in empathy and service, then pass their details to me – these are exactly the kind of people I want working here!
A personal invitation
Before choosing any professional adviser, I encourage you to base your decision on more than just a price. Price does not always equate to value, service or long term cost savings – and not every lawyer you speak to will have the ‘bedside manner’, empathy or commitment necessary to help you on this challenging journey.
With Phang Legal, you benefit from practical and cost effective advice, recommendations and solutions. My aim is that we will be one of your most trusted and valued professional advisers. My team’s dedication to service and results means you will enjoy confidence and peace of mind while we look after what’s best for you and those important to you. Living through a relationship breakdown is difficult, and normally obtaining legal advice and support is an expensive exercise. My hope is our professional advice and objective opinion will help steady you during this difficult time – after all, even if your relationship is over, you’re still entitled to be treated fairly and with respect.
If you want to know more about Phang Legal or our services, please contact me and my team on +61 2 9687 8885 or you can email us here.
I look forward to being of service.