What can I expect from a first client appointment?
All our first client appointments have a fixed fee of $400.00. The appointments are about an hour in length but we don’t “clock watch”.
In your initial appointment, we want to understand your circumstances and what is important for you to achieve both in the short term and the long term. Our solicitors will provide you with guidance and an overview of the relevant laws and how they might apply to your matter.
During the first appointment our solicitors will provide you with options that can be taken to resolve your matter. Such options may include lawyer based negotiation, mediation, collaborative practice or litigation.
In our first client appointments, we strive to give you direction and options to you so that you leave your first appointment with a sense of clarity and the next step forward.
How long will it take to resolve my matter? (Time frames court process vs mediation etc?)
Time frames can vary greatly depending on the complexity and nature of your matter, and also the process through which you choose to resolve it.
Most dispute resolution processes assist in the resolution of a matter faster than those in the litigation process. Each matter is different and depends on a number of variables that are outside of your control and the control of your solicitor.
Going to court is generally a very lengthy process and can take years for a matter to be resolved. After filing an initiating application, it can take 3-4 months to get a first return date. You may appear before the Court on a number of occasions before getting a Final Hearing which, based on the Canberra Registry, can be up to a 2 year wait. There may be a further delay in receiving a decision from the Judge after a Final Hearing.
What are the costs?
When can I get divorced?
Are there time limits to getting a property settlement?
When do I need to update my Will?
It is important that you regularly keep your will updated to ensure that it can be properly administered when necessary. It may be time to update your will:
- When there are major changes in relationships such as separation, divorce, marriage, etc.
- If an executor of your will has died or has become unwell.
- If you have recently disposed or acquired new assets such as buying a new home.
- If your family has grown, such as new born children.
As a general rule of thumb, you should review your Will at least every 3 years and update it as necessary.
Should I use mediation or collaborative practice?
Collaborative practice and mediation are both voluntary non-adversarial forms of dispute resolution, using interest based negotiation.
Mediation is conducted with a third party mediator and can occur in the one room or in separate rooms. Collaborative practice involves all the parties and their lawyers being in the same room with an aim to create a peaceful and healthy space for discussion. Mediation relies heavily on the mediator’s performance in helping to guide the resolution, however collaborative law involves discussion between all parties and getting instant feedback.
Unlike mediation which is centred on positional bargaining and can involve threats of litigation, collaborative law involves no threat of going to court, which can help the resolution process by shifting to a win/win mindset. Collaborative law involves the recognition and understanding of a lot of extra factors including feelings whereas mediation is more ‘straightforward’ by only keeping to the essential facts and figures.
Mediation generally involves 1-2 session which can involve in the parties having to deal with last minute information and making decisions on the spot, whereas collaborative law involves a series of (structured) sessions run at the desired pace of the parties, by ensuring each party is up to date with the relevant information.
Depending on certain factors, including the ability to communicate freely with the other party, one method of dispute resolution may be more suitable than the other. Our solicitors can guide you in the right direction and help you choose the best method of dispute resolution for you.