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The importance of ‘amicability’ within family law

Whilst separation and divorce proceedings are hard on all parties involved, many men need an increased amount of support, this family lawyer has emphasised in her new book.

user iconLauren Croft 13 October 2022 SME Law
The importance of ‘amicability’ within family law
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Siobhan Mullins is a collaboratively trained family lawyer and founder of award-winning family law firm Separate Together, which was awarded Firm Innovator of the Year at the 2020 Women in Law Awards. In addition, Ms Mullins was awarded Sole Practitioner of the Year at the 2020 Australian Law Awards and the 30 Under 30 Family Law award 2020. She is also a published author of The Guys’ Guide to Separation and Divorce.

The new book is targeted at helping men navigate the world of separation and divorce, offering critical support and advice to achieve the best outcome possible.

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Ms Mullins said that she decided to write The Guys’ Guide to Separation and Divorce because “there was nothing out there like it”.


“Writing a book was the fastest and most comprehensive way to create a resource with need-to-know information. My writing process involved time blocking and laser focusing,” she said.

“Because I wrote it as an FAQ guide, I didn’t have to mince words, which meant the content was easy to write. I wrote the book within three days.”

Writing the book specifically for men was a decision driven by the lack of basic information there is for men going through separation proceedings — and Ms Mullins said that her book would hopefully allow these men to go through a divorce in a more straightforward way.  

“There are few practical, straightforward, user-friendly resources out there for the everyday guy. I figured [that] by answering those basic parenting, child support, and financial questions that guys have, I could help him meaningfully engage and communicate with his partner to reach a separation agreement,” she said.

“An important part of this book is a focus on men’s mental health and insights, advice, and lessons from men interviewed who’d experienced a separation.”

Within the family law space right now, there are a number of other key issues lawyers should be aware of, including price awareness. Online legal templates and buyer naivety, according to Ms Mullins.

“People don’t know what’s a reasonable amount to pay for a quality family law legal service. Website copywriting and lawyer sales conversation training are two ways that can overcome this challenge to communicate value to clients. 

“[In addition], firms and non-lawyers are leveraging technology to offer online legal templates. This begs the question whether the document is a legal service and covered by PII and the matter of quality control with non-legal professionals offering such products. This growing area requires the profession’s attention,” she said.

“Fast 24-hour online turnarounds for legal paperwork are also problematic because it could mean that clients are getting the bare minimum of what they require, but the clients know no different. Community education about quality legal services could assist clients in their due diligence.”

Ms Mullins also wrote about amicable separation in her book — which is more likely when both parties understand the “lay of the land”.

“Amicability suggests communication between a couple, which means there’s an opportunity for an agreement. We know that high-conflict separations can inflict irreparable damage on kids and future generations, so they’re best avoided,” she added.

“Separation agreements mean more money for the couple (with reduced legal fees), better outcomes, faster closure and emotional healing, greater life opportunities, and less sacrifice and heartache.” 

This kind of human-centric approach has been a key part of Ms Mullins’ practice — and will continue to be moving forward, she said.

“To succeed in my law firm business, I had to change how I practised law to meaningfully solve my clients’ problems. I moved from providing advice and taking the lead in acting on clients’ behalf to adopting a human-centric approach,” she concluded.

“I changed my language and communication mediums. I introduced information service packages and adopted a teamwork approach to the solicitor-client relationship. Nowadays, I focus on coming up with creative solutions within the bounds of the law for clients to decide what will work best for their family.”