How Do I Prepare For A First Meeting With A Lawyer?
Family Court WA
At Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky, we use our online web tool to get you started, which contains a user-friendly no obligation and confidential tool that can guide you by a series of questions to build a profile of the matters you require legal advice about. If you decide to engage us for a first appointment the information given can then be provided to us ahead of the meeting. That means that on our first meeting we have had the opportunity to read your profile and we have relevant information about your situation. Valuable time is saved for our meeting. A first meeting will cost $440 including GST and will provide specific advice for your situation and an assessment of what steps should come next.
What Are Pre-Action Procedures?
The law sets down rules that require a person wanting a financial settlement after relationship breakdown to take certain steps that are called pre-action procedures. These steps are designed to support negotiations for settlement.
There are circumstances where the pre-action procedures should not be complied with, if for example the matter requires urgent assistance from the court. Those circumstances are set out in the legislation and include family violence, concern that assets might be dealt with by one party or a third party such as a bank, or a party is thought to be absconding overseas to thwart the other party’s entitlements. The list is not exhaustive, and an assessment can be made by our experienced lawyers as to whether you should engage in pre-action procedures.
Running Out Of Money For Your Lawyers?
Many separating couples will pay several thousands of dollars for legal advice and then discover that they have only just started litigation and that there is even more expense down the road. If one party is being unreasonable then the choices that the reasonable party has can be very difficult. In the end, the law is there is there to protect the weaker party from being overwhelmed and outgunned. But there must be a practical outcome too; the costs should not outweigh the benefit. Legal fees reduce the available assets to share. Superior legal representation is not cheap. An initial assessment and advice should not break the bank.
FAMILY LAW LEAD
The vast majority of family law settlements are reached by consent orders in the Family Court, either after negotiation and a Consent Application has been filed, or by Consent Orders made after one party has filed an Application for Final Orders that the other party has responded to. Sometimes the agreement can be entered into by a Binding Financial Agreement under the relevant family law legislation, either the Family Law Act or Family Court Act.
At Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky we prefer to advise a client from the early stages of dispute when there is still a good chance of getting to an agreement. A comprehensive assessment of your dispute will take up to 45 minutes of legal time that will be charged at our flat rate one off appointment fee of $440 including GST. If your matter requires more detailed attention than that or you would like assistance with the preparation of the court documents and negotiations with the other party, a fixed fee can be determined for that work and provided to you, which is an offer by us to complete a certain scope of work for you at a fixed cost.
How Can I Keep My Legal Costs Down?
Where there is a dispute about financial contributions to a marriage or de facto relationship, financial records are key. Vital records can include bank statements, tax returns, business and property records, and other documents that any couple will accumulate over the years. The first port of call to extract relevant documents is your accountant, where documents can usually be obtained in electronic form. The obligation on parties and their lawyers to give “disclosure of documents” can result in high costs, for not much advance in your case. To assist in keeping your legal costs down you should follow the instructions given to you about disclosure of documents carefully. At Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky we take steps to minimise costs and in appropriate cases save fees in the law office by outsourcing to confidential agents who can organise and collate extensive documentation to the standard required in litigation.
Can I Refuse To Go To The Family Court?
Separating couples can find it difficult to accept that someone other than them can make decisions about their personal lives. Professional expertise in family law is understood to require not only a law degree but also years of experience in the field of family law. In making family law very private, the government has also made it largely impenetrable to the lay community.
The law provides that “a person must not publish in a newspaper…by radio broadcast, television or other electronic means or otherwise disseminate to the public or a section of the public by any means, any account of any proceedings or of any part of the proceedings…that identifies a party to proceedings or their relative” (Family Law Act Section 121 Family Court Act Section 243).
In the years since that law was passed the personal right of the privacy of individuals has become more developed. Information about what happens in the court that might assist couples when separating is generalised. Because each case that goes to trial is decided on its own merits, generalisations do not always assist.
Legal costs have become very high. Having legal assistance is no more remarkable than having a professional give advice on your health and your tax and financial planning.
Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky have been providing advice in family law matters over many years. We have expertise in relation to all the methods that can resolve disputes and to prevent them from occurring or escalating, from negotiation, mediation, collaborative practice and litigation, litigation being the last resort. The impact legal costs have is always a concern and consideration in the matters we conduct.
We seek creative settlement solutions designed to provide the parties with an end to their financial relationship, in accordance with Section 81 of the Family Law Act (Family Court Act Section 205ZJ).
If one party refuses to participate in family court proceedings, the other will generally be able to proceed on an undefended basis, i.e., without the refusing party being heard. As a court of law, the Court will require steps to ensure that the refusing party has had notice of the proceedings and ample time to prepare their case and to present it. But ultimately the law will proceed to deal with the case on the evidence that has been provided to it, without the other party presenting their own case, if they continue to refuse to take part.