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Family law often involves complex issues of law. There are those matters which can be easily resolved by way of a Consent Order.

Additionally, there are even Do It Yourself Consent Order Kits on the Family Court website. However, this doesn’t mean it’s always the best idea to not use a lawyer and do it on your own instead. 

So, why should you use a lawyer rather than saving on costs and doing it yourself?

I can give two examples which particularly relate to property settlement matters.

In the first, my client and his ex-wife had divorced over 12 years ago. They did an informal property settlement. Neither of them obtained legal advice when coming to that agreement. The wife applied to the Court because she believed that she did not get what she was entitled to, and she got permission from the Court to seek a property division. She ended up receiving a substantial payment from my client’s superannuation fund. In addition to having to pay his ex-wife money from his super fund, he had expended time and money on the Court proceedings which they could have avoided if the parties formalised their agreement at the time of separation.

In the second example, my client and her ex-husband agreed to an informal property settlement. My client came to me to seek legal advice, as her view was that she did not receive what she was entitled to from her ex-husband. The Court granted permission to seek property division, and she was awarded $150,000.00 in addition. 

So, spending some money to get advice when you separate about your particular circumstances is a worthwhile exercise. While it may not seem necessary now, it could end up saving you money in the long term.

Katrina Peters

Associate at Statewide Legal Practice