Reaching agreement with your former partner on key issues can be hard when your marriage or de-facto relationship ends. It is also risky without legal advice to protect your best interests.
The biggest issues to address are what happens to the children, how to re-organise your financial arrangements and how to divide the things you own together.
Many people negotiate agreements on these issues between themselves (and avoid lawyers all together!). However, doing it yourself means there is a risk that you might agree to something that is less than what you are actually entitled to - causing more problems down the track.
If you are having difficulty reaching agreement on some or all of these issues, if you want to ensure that the proposed agreement is fair or you are just not sure what you are entitled to, then we can help.
Our Family Law team offers practical advice on what you can reasonably expect based on our extensive understanding and experience in this area and support in achieving a fair settlement.
You can learn more about this process and what is involved by reading our "Helpful Guide to Successfully Navigating Separation and Divorce".
How we help
Our experienced family lawyers will help you negotiate a fair outcome and protect your best interests and that of your children.
Over the last 50 years, we have successfully guided and supported hundreds of people through this (sometimes very painful) process and out the other side.
At Tonkin Legal, we firmly believe that the best way to reach agreement with your ex-partner is through negotiation wherever possible.
Because everyone’s situation and relationships are different, there a number of ways that we can help you do this.
Sometimes, the best approach is to deal directly with your ex-partner's lawyer via correspondence and telephone to negotiate agreement.
In some situations, we recommend a more face-to-face approach, where both of you agree to engage your own collaborative lawyer (like St John Heath or Shane Williams). Everyone comes together at one (or more) meetings and works to resolve differences in a supported and polite way and negotiate a settlement, bringing in expert assistance from psychologists, financial advisors and others as needed.
Other situations may benefit from appointing an experienced mediator to support the process of reaching agreement - and we have established relationships with the best in the area.
But sometimes no amount of negotiation will work and we need to go to court to reach a fair settlement for you. This is the most expensive and stressful of all options and we only go down this path if all other efforts fail. Arbitration can be an alternative to court, offering a speedier process with enforceable outcomes.
But you can rest assured that when we do go to court, we have an excellent track record for securing a good result for our clients.
1. First meeting
The first step is to organise a meeting with you and one of our Family Law team. This is where we get to know you, learn more about your personal situation and your relationship with your ex.
There are lots of aspects to consider. We will collect as much information as we can at this meeting to help us understand the best approach to take. This checklist explains what you need to bring to the meeting. The first meeting will cost $450 (including GST) and takes one or two hours (and sometimes a lot of tissues) to get through.
2. Prepare a cost-estimate
Based on the information gathered at our first meeting, we'll prepare a cost-estimate which clearly explains the anticipated costs of appointing us to reach a fair settlement. You will need to pay some of this in advance.
This cost-estimate is based on our many years of experience undertaking this type of work. We pride ourselves on working as quickly and as efficiently as possible to keep your costs down. But we are not going to cut corners. Our focus is on getting the best result we can for you.
3. Negotiate agreements
Once you are happy to appoint us, we commence negotiations on your behalf. It's our job to advise you on the best approach to take and to help you secure a satisfactory agreement on some or all of the following:
- Child custody arrangements - What happens to any children, where they will live, with whom and when?
- Child support arrangements - Who will pay for what expenses associated with supporting your children?
- Spousal maintenance payments - If one party is not working and needs financial support and the other party can afford to pay it?
- Financial agreements - What happens to your joint assets (your family home, any investment properties, cars, superannuation, money in the bank or shares)?
4. Provide additional support
Once you have reached agreement with your former partner on these issues, there are other matters that may require legal advice. Our team is also here to help you:
- finalise your divorce
- sell your joint property and buy a new home
- preparing a Will or update your Will to reflect your new circumstances
- plan your estate.
Our comprehensive, supportive and results-oriented approach is why our clients chose us for this important work.