How to Cope with Emotions in Family Law

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

By Lisa Ruggero-Salerno, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Partner at VRT Lawyers

I have been in practice for 35 years and I have been a Family Law Specialist since 1993.

I have seen it all and, as I say to my clients, I have seen Mother Theresa turn into the devil. This is not an insult to Mother Theresa but just an indication of how people can change going through litigation.

Family Law is especially difficult because of the emotions involved. When you have a commercial litigation matter, it is all about money only. When it is a Family Law matter, it is emotions, children, belongings, and the hard work that you have done during the relationship, the feeling of rejection and the feeling that your marriage or relationship did not succeed. There are a lot of emotions that people have to deal with in Family Law/Breakup of Relationship. I have seen it many, many times where people agree to settle between themselves without any Court Orders. This is a very dangerous thing to do.

The reason it is dangerous is that unless you divorce each other, the door is always open. In fact, if you do not divorce each other, for example, 20 years later, your spouse can make a claim in the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court for property settlement.

The Court does not look at the assets at the time of separation, the Court looks at the assets at the date of Hearing. – One reason why it is dangerous to settle without Court Orders.

So if you have agreed between yourselves and you do not want to do Court Orders, at least file for divorce or in relation to de-facto relationships, after a period of two years an Application can be made out of time and there are strict guidelines by the Courts as to what applications would be allowed, but if you are married and not divorced the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court can and will decide on your property and assets. In these terrible times we can reflect and a lot of people are housecleaning, pottering or doing odd jobs and contemplating their situation.

If you separated and never divorced but sorted out your property between you, and you have not done a Will then the Intestate Laws apply and you are still legally married to the person – so guess what happens? Your spouse will receive the bulk of your Estate.

Recently I had the children of a Deceased client come to me in tears because the Solicitor that was acting for them had told them that the estranged wife of only 2 years (separated 20 years ago) was going to receive the majority of the Estate. They were lucky I had done the Divorce for their father so the former wife got nothing.

Your Will and Divorce are important, do not procrastinate. – Lisa Ruggero-Salerno

To assist people in applying and obtaining a Divorce Certificate, we are offering a special offer whereby we will charge the following for the Application for Divorce:

  1. Preparation of the Application for Divorce with children under 18 years of age – $770 (inclusive of GST)

  2. Preparation of the Application for Divorce with children over the age of 18 years of age – $550 (inclusive of GST).

Plus Filing Fee of $910.00 (unless you are in receipt of Centrelink payments where there is a reduced filing fee). If you and your spouse are amicable, you can jointly apply for a divorce and we are prepared to offer a special price of $550.00 (inclusive of GST)*.

*Plus fees payable for service of court documents (usually around $35, if required)

Lisa Ruggero-Salerno, Accredited Family Law Specialist and Partner

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