This Blog | Fresh Thinking



The reality is that a great many people will need a family lawyer at some time.  The rate at which married couples divorce hovers around 1 in 2.  And those statistics are likely to be conservative if de facto relationships are taken into account.


So the demand for family law advice has not changed, and does not look like changing in the future.


But something which is changing is the way family lawyers practise family law.


That change is often not obvious.  But it is happening.  And 10 years from now, it will be even more noticeable.


Once upon a time family law disputes were resolved in a particular way – settlement offers were exchanged, and if that did not work, proceedings were commenced, and the parties thrashed it out in Court.


That system has worked, but it can be a blunt instrument.  Parties can leave that system having spent a not insignificant part of their wealth on legal costs, and having ‘treaded water’ for years.  Many report that they left that system having had outcomes forced on them, and that it was not what they expected.  Often, the process has seen the litigants become enemies, and that has bled into their relationships with their children.


Not every separating couple wants that experience.  They want something outside the existing ‘menu’ of traditional dispute resolution options.


Many prefer to avoid conflict.  Some want to leave their relationship respectfully.  Some want to know that the person they once loved will be taken care of.  Some want to be sure that their children have not been unwilling hostages in the process of separation.


Family lawyers have come to realise that there has to be another way.  They have done so because their clients are asking for their situations to be resolved in a different way.


And that is why many family lawyers have adapted.  They recognise that there is more than one pathway to be taken by those enduring separation and divorce.


The modern family lawyer, therefore, is the one giving their clients options.


Those options will range from mediation and arbitration, to collaborative divorce.


The result is that there are more arrows in the quiver of the family lawyer who is prepared to think differently.


Of course, litigation will always be there for cases in which determination by a Judge is required, but it is not the ‘go to’ arrow any more.


These modern family law options can work for couples and families.  That is happening already.  We live in an exciting time seeing them develop.


And that is what this page is about – shining a light on family law issues.


Fresh thinking is what will see those of us at the coalface of the practise of family law ‘keep up’ with the changes which lie ahead, changes driven by what our clients want from their separation and divorce.


And that is why I have started this page, a forum for ‘fresh thinking in family law’.