Hello. My name's Craig Turvey and I'm the special counsel in the Cooper Grace Ward family law team. Today, I'd like to talk to you about managing your expectations in your property settlement or parenting matter.
Usual first steps
It's a natural human instinct that when you're going through that sort of process before you go and see a lawyer, people will Google. They'll Google 'separation - what happens?' There'll be all sorts of articles online about divisions of property, what parenting arrangements should be, and all those types of things. And people obviously, will also speak to close friends and family about either their own direct experiences or what they know from other people. All perfectly normal and probably quite sensible.
Important case differences which result in a different outcome
However, as a family lawyer, it often happens to us that people will go through that process and then come and see us and they will already have certain expectations about what their entitlements are or what the parenting arrangements should be. Family law cases can tweak a lot depending on the facts, and it might be that your scenario is very similar to your best mate's. But there's a few important differences which mean the outcomes can be quite different. Or really, it could mean the facts could be very similar, but the spouse in that matter just collapsed in terms of the negotiations, just folded completely and so your mate got what they wanted, but your ex-partner is not going to do that.
So, having those sort of expectations at a really early stage, it can be quite dangerous from our perspective because we're giving people advice and sometimes that will conflict with what their expectations are. And so then we kind of have to try and unwind that when they already have this fixed idea in their head about what they going to get or what a parenting arrangement might look like. So, while it might be useful to go through that sort of preliminary step once you've separated, I would try and caution people from generating really fixed expectations as much as you can until you've spoken with a family lawyer and you've gotten some solid advice.
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