Finishing up school on a Friday afternoon is usually a fun time for children – the anticipation of the weekend, the relief of school time routine, and the joy of just being able to play and relax for a couple of days.
For parents going through separation however, Friday afternoons are typically the most stressful time of the whole week – having to make arrangements for how the children will transition to the other parent and how they will be returned, consume them with fear and dread.
We are often contacted by parents late in the day on a Friday, when disputes arise. Usually, we are instructed to send a letter to the other parent, expecting them to receive it and obtain some advice before replying, all within a time frame of conclusion of school on a Friday. Unfortunately, it is not always possible for final agreements to be reached with such a looming deadline, and when parents cannot agree the outcomes are unhappy for the children – their weekend has suddenly turned into a stressful tug-of-war between their parents.
Lawyers cannot always solve these types of problems – often, it’s better to leave the lawyers out altogether, as this type of letter writing will mean more legal fees, but not necessarily solve the dispute. The way we encourage our clients to solve this problem is by actively taking part in alternative methods of dispute resolution – options including:
- collaborative practice,
- or family dispute resolution.
These things take time, they can’t be achieved in the short space of a frantic Friday afternoon.
The best solution we can offer our clients is to come and see us for advice early on – we can:
- provide you with suggested parenting plans that are age appropriate
- reality test your position,
- and give you advice on how the other parent’s position should be considered.
Having an impartial person hear the situation and give you some guidance can be all that’s needed.
We can can you to find the right type of dispute resolution for your family, and we can be in the background to support you in that process, including writing up a proper agreement for you to present to the other parent, for a predictable structure to take shape.
It’s about being ready to deal with the dispute early on – it will work out much more cost effective, and have much better long-term outcomes for your family. It’s about avoiding the situation escalating out of hand, by increasing the conflict, increasing the work for the lawyers and therefore increasing the legal fees This doesn’t result in better outcomes – especially not for the children.
This will help focus both parents on what’s important – the children’s Friday afternoon becoming fun again.
Separation and contacting a Family Lawyer for the first time can be a scary step to take. Its something most of us never really want to do. To talk to us about an initial consultation contact us on 02 9523 3007 or CLICK HERE to submit your details. We’ve also created a complimentary online separation pathway questionnaire to help you find out where you stand by answering a few simple questions. CLICK HERE to get started obligation free.