Family Law – Do winners even win in the Family Court?

Family Law – Do winners even win in the Family Court?

As a busy Adelaide Family law firm you would think we spend a lot of time in the Family Court but as we see Court as a last resort and have a strong focus on keeping our clients out of Court, we donÕt spend a lot of time there. There are very few matters that really need to be litigated and we only litigate when it is warranted.

Relocation is one area of Family law which is often hard to settle. If one party wishes to relocate with the children after separation or divorce and that would affect the relationship the other party has with the children, it is no surprise that it is hard to compromise. For example, if one party came from England leaving behind all their family and friends, and then had children in Australia with their partner, upon their separation they may wish to return home to England and take the children with them.

It is understandable that they would feel strongly that they ought to be able to return to their family and familiar surrounds. It is understandable that if they are the primary carer of the children that they would want to take the children with them. It is also understandable that the Australian parent would want the children to stay in Australia where they were born and where they are able to see and spend time with that parent. It is hard for the parties to compromise Ð neither would want to live half way, one or the other of them is going to have a significantly reduced relationship with the children if the parents live on different sides of the world. So off to the Family Court they may go to ask the Judge to make a decision. Eventually, after both parties have spent thousands of dollars and waited a long time (sometimes years) the matter comes on for trial. The person who wanted to move has had to stay pending the outcome of the trial. The parties would have spent even more money to run the trial and get an outcome.

So at the end of the trial one party gets what they want. They think that means they have won, but have they? We see so many matters where even the ÒwinnerÓ is unhappy Ð they have had a ÒwinÓ on paper but that ÒwinÓ has come at a significant financial and emotional cost and along the way the stress of the uncertainty has been a factor in their everyday lives and then, when the Family Court hands down the decision that gives the ÒwinnerÓ the outcome that they wanted, they have to worry about the fallout from the ÒloserÓ of the case. How does the ÒlossÓ land for the other party and what will it do to them and the relationship the parties need to have for the sake of co-parenting their children?

The person who doesnÕt get what they want may find that they have to either miss out seeing their children very often, or they may be prevented from relocating back home if they want to see their children. They have spent a lot of money on the case and they didnÕt get what they wanted. Are they bitter? Do they let that bitterness affect their attitude and approach to the other party? The answer is often yes.

Does that mean that the winner really wins? The answer is often no.

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