It was only recently that the Family Court’s Chief Justice William Alstergren warned “anyone including lawyers, who unnecessarily string out disputes will be in his sights as he moves to slash a backlog of cases”…..(The Australian insert date)
The court is cracking down on strategic moves of both lawyers and self-represented litigants who attempt to string out court related matters. Such a strategy has a negative effect not only on the mental health of the litigant, but also financially.
Generally most people do not have endless amounts of money to fight simple legal matters. Matters concerning children and property are extremely sensitive in nature and when coupled with the emotion involved it can become costly.
Whilst there may be a view that lawyers are expensive, the client has a role to play in the way their matter is conducted. As a client, there are things that you can do to help move your legal matter along quickly and cost-effectively. Of course, one has to bear in mind the attitudes of the other party and their lawyer but in general taking a sensible approach may assist.
There are a number of ways that as a client you can assist to make sure that your matter is progressed in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Obtaining independent legal advice specific to your circumstances, at an early stage is a prudent move to make. Early, preliminary legal advice in your matter gives you a good understanding of what you can expect. The Family Law Act is complex and the process can be cumbersome.
An experienced lawyer will be able to provide you with an understanding of how the process works, what you can expect and how to best manage your particular situation.
Being well equipped with an insight into the process early will help you appreciate what is involved so that you can prepare yourself from the start.
Throughout your matter, you will be asked to provide information and review documents. Being prompt and timely in your responses and taking the time to read correspondence that you receive from your lawyer can help avoid delays.
Working collaboratively with your lawyer, asking questions when you are unsure of a process or why you are being asked to do something will ensure that you remain informed and feel in control throughout the process.
The biggest difference you can make to avoid delays is to avoid the Court. While this is not always possible, and the Court is ultimately there in situations where it is needed, there are a number of other avenues that can be recommended by your lawyer.
An experienced family lawyer who will build a collaborative and effective working relationship with you will help make a difficult time smoother and less difficult.