Would you like fries with that? The era of fast, cheap family law.
When you are navigating the family law process, it is important not to get sucked-in by websites and online companies, offering to prepare your family law documents, whether that be Consent Orders or Binding Financial Agreements, for a fraction of the cost of a “real” lawyer and sometimes for no cost at all.
Remember, you are not buying a fast-food meal to satisfy your hunger pangs, but you are dealing with the life of you and your family members and that you need to rely upon such documents to assist in managing your ongoing co-parenting relationships into the future or to ensure that your financial relationship with your former spouse is appropriately finalised.
You are trying to make sense of family law matters during an emotionally charged time and there is a risk of signing a document just to make the matter go away, however, if the appropriate documentation is not prepared in the correct manner, it will do quite the opposite and such decision will surely come back and haunt you at some point in the future.
There is nothing black and white in family law and no two relationships are the same. To make fully informed decisions it is important to speak with a Family Lawyer who will listen to your needs and tailor advice accordingly. It is important to get matters finalised properly the first time, as there are a multitude of other challenges which separated families may have to deal with in moving forward, let alone, having a document that they thought finalised their parenting arrangements or their property settlement matters and then later discovering that it does not do what they had expected.
It is not uncommon for us to see Clients who pay a fee to an online company to receive Consent Order documentation and when they file the document in the Family Court of Australia, the Court will not approve the Orders until particular changes are made. Such persons are then required to pay for the documents to be redrafted.
We also see Clients who pay a fee to an online company to receive a Binding Financial Agreement and when it comes time to obtain the compulsory legal advices, the Agreement does not provide what they had expected in terms of finalising their financial relationship together and the Agreement has to be redrafted by the Family Lawyers.
Whilst we encourage parties to attend to preparing their own Court documents if able, in an effort to reduce costs, hence our previous Blog, DIY Consent Orders – Can it be Done? it is essential that you seek legal advice regarding your draft documentation. As such, if you do choose to use an online company for such document, seek legal advice, as it can be false economy not to do so, as not seeking some guidance, can cause not only financial detriment into the future, but also issues in your co-parenting relationship with your former spouse which could be avoided if the documentation was drafted appropriately initially and advices received as to future issues which you may not have envisaged.
Should you have any queries or want to know how best to progress your matter, please call one of our Gold Coast or Logan Family Lawyers for free family law advice on telephone (07) 5679 8016.