The Mistakes People Make in Family Law Matters

The Mistakes People Make in Family Law Matters

In this video, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Page Provan Managing Director Bruce Provan lists down mistakes people have made and hopefully can avoid in family law matters.


Morning. My name is Bruce Provan. I’m the Managing Director of Page Provan, a law firm that specialises in family law and fertility law in Central Brisbane. I’ve seen clients make some horrendous mistakes when they separate over my 31 years of being a lawyer and practising in family law. And I just want to share with you today some of the mistakes that they’ve made and some mistakes that hopefully you can avoid.

The first mistake is not doing anything. Many people persist in unhappy and sometimes violent marriages for far too long. And for those people, they really need to do one of two things. They either need to fix their relationship, for example, through counselling, or they just need to make the decision to move on with their lives. Because once they do, they’re going to be happier and more productive people. Certainly, they’ll go through an unhappy stage going through the separation, but they’ll come out happier people in the end. 

The second mistake I’ve seen people make is not getting legal advice. It won’t cost you much to have a consultation with a Brisbane family lawyers to find out your rights, your entitlements, and the process.

Knowledge is power and armed with some legal advice and knowing what’s ahead of you puts you in a much better position to be able to prepare for the separation and work your way through the separation. And it will probably mean that you’re not being duped by your former partner. 

The third mistake is choosing the wrong lawyer. Lawyers these days generally specialise in one or a few areas of law. Consulting with a lawyer who doesn’t have much knowledge of family law can be a huge mistake. It’s far better to consult with a lawyer who’s experienced in family law, preferably a lawyer who’s an accredited specialist in family law, to make sure that you get the right advice. Because in the end, getting the right advice will probably mean that things will go smoother, that you’ll be able to resolve things fairly amicably and hopefully avoid going to court. I’ve seen too many matters where people get the wrong advice, and those matters are often the matters that end up going to court and generating a lot of legal fees unnecessarily. 

The fourth mistake I see people make is listening too much to family and friends. Now, when people are going through a separation, their family and friends are going to be invaluable to them. They can provide a lot of emotional support and sometimes financial support, if that’s required. But too many people give wrong or inappropriate legal advice to their friends or family who are going through a separation. Often that advice is based upon their own experience or what they’ve heard from others. And a lot of it can be misleading or just inappropriate, because everyone’s journey is different. Every person’s financial circumstances and their relationship with their children are different. So if you’re contemplating separating or going through a separation, you need advice that is tailored to your circumstances. 

The fifth mistake I see is people not being open and honest with their lawyer. Sometimes there are reasons for this, sometimes somebody’s had an affair and they don’t want to tell their lawyer what they’ve done. But it’s far better that they tell their lawyer what’s happened so that the lawyer can try and minimise the damage. What you don’t want is a situation where something that is embarrassing comes out during the course of a mediation or during a case that’s in court. Far better that let your lawyer know and be able to prepare. 

The sixth mistake I see is exposing the children to conflict. The research shows that it’s not the separation which causes harm to children. What harms them is the conflict both before and after the separation. So many couples manage to have a fairly amicable separation that causes minimal of any damage to the children at all. But for some people, exposing their children to conflict can be very damaging to the children and lead to long-term consequences. And people sometimes inadvertently expose their children to conflict. 

Next mistake is not looking after yourself. Going through a separation is a stressful time for a lot of people. It’s the most stressful time of their life. So it’s important to look after yourself, that is looking after your health. Consulting with doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists sometimes to make sure that you’re looking after your health, making sure that you get enough sleep and enough exercise. Sometimes it’s a case of getting advice from accountants or financial planners and looking after your finances. 

The final mistake that I see people make is leaving themselves short of money. Around the time of separation, often there’s not a lot of liquid funds available to distribute. So you need to put yourself in the best position you can to have access to those liquid funds as you’re going through a separation.

Because you’re probably going to need some liquid funds. 

For example, if you’re going to rent somewhere, you’re going to need a bond, you’re going to need money to pay for lawyers, doctors and other professionals who you might consult during the process of separation. And if you leave yourself short of funds, that can leave you exposed. 

Now sometimes there’s funds available, you may be able to get Centrelink, you may be able to get child support or spouse maintenance, but that can be a time-consuming process and can take several months to be able to access those funds. And if you’re in a situation where you allow your spouse or former partner to control the funds that are there, that can really put you in a difficult situation. So it’s important to make sure that you have sufficient liquid funds.

So they’re just a few of the mistakes that I’ve seen people make over the years of being a family lawyer. I hope that assist you.

If you’ve got any questions or concerns, please contact us at Page Provan, and we’ll be able to assist you.


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