find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Corporate Lawyer
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· 12 months fixed term opportunity
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Lawyers brace for 'divorce month'

Lawyers brace for 'divorce month'

Jennifer Hetherington

Lawyers specialising in family law are set to have their hands full this month, with January traditionally seeing an influx of divorce actions, according to a Brisbane-based law firm.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, Hetherington Legal family law specialist Jennifer Hetherington (pictured) said yesterday marked the first working Monday in January, signalling a flood of divorce actions after Christmas. 

“We have the same experience as UK lawyers, with a marked rise in inquiries and instructions from clients who want to start the new year separate from their partner, Ms Hetherington said.

“Pressures building over the holiday period contribute to this, especially financial pressures. In the UK, surveys indicate 40 per cent of separating couples cite financial pressure."

However, Ms Hetherington said couples who are on the verge of separating need to be properly advised, to avoid any rash decisions.

“January can be a crazy time, so it’s crucial couples contemplating a separation should first get legal and, if necessary, financial advice before they make life-changing decisions,” she said.

“I have had clients who have decided to get back together and work on the marriage, when they realise the picture they face. Divorce has a huge financial impact on a family.” 

Ms Hetherington added that if couples understand that they may not see their children for a week or more at a time, they may end up rethinking their decision to separate.  

“Once a decision to separate is made and conveyed to the spouse, it can be hard to take it back, she noted.

Ms Hetherington had some key advice for couples who are looking to call time on their marriage this holiday season.

Obtaining advice before you communicate your decision leaves the door open to stay in the marriage, if the advice shows you could have a difficult future, she said.

“And by ‘advice I don’t mean family, friends and Facebook pages. There are community legal centres available offering free advice for those who cannot afford it, but many lawyers offer fixed-fee initial meetings so you can make an informed decision about your future. It also enables you to find out about options to finalise the legal aspects of your separation without conflict. Look for a trained collaborative lawyer, committed to keeping you out of court. 

“If your spouse suggests counselling, dont be an ostrich’, or dismissive of the issues raised. Take it as a sign that there are serious issues to discuss but your spouse is committed to trying to work through them. I have had countless clients whose spouses refused to go to counselling. Ask yourself if it is worth losing your marriage and your family before you refuse to go to counselling.

“Above all, keep the kids out of it and if you are committed to separating, use collaborative law to minimise the impact on finances and children, rather than the adversarial method of conventional divorce.


Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers brace for 'divorce month'
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Warning
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, even how we take a...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...