Case Studies

By Jonathon Naef, Lawyer

At Balance Family Law, one of the first steps that we encourage our client’s to take is to define what their long-term/“big picture” goals are. Why? Because the issues that arise in the Family Law space are very “human” issues and whilst we can give the legal answer to a Family Law problem those legal answers may not be what the parties need to move forward in their lives and be happy.

Common types of goals that we have come across include:

  • “I want to be able to maintain an amicable relationship with my ex for my children”
  • “I want to stay a big part of my children’s lives”
  • “I want to be financially secure”
  • “I want to have enough superannuation so I don’t have to work until I’m 80”
  • “I want to be able to move on and be happy”

By defining these “big picture” goals, we are able to come up with strategies and options for settlement which work towards achieving these goals. We are also able to identify what other professional services may be needed to help work towards those goals – such as a financial planner or psychologist.

Whilst we know that defining your goals can be hard, as it is easy to get caught up in the past and the present, defining your goals early on makes settling your matter that much simpler. From our experience, clients who have been able to clearly identify goals:

  1. are less stressed out by the process, and are able to manage and overcome conflict much easier;
  2. are able to maintain good relationships with their ex;
  3. are able to resolve their matter much quicker;
  4. incur less legal fees!

 Example 1 – Nigel & Nellie (not their real names)

Take a recent client of ours for example – let’s call him Nigel.

Nigel and his ex, Nellie, had been separated for some time, and due to some unforeseen financial issues sought a property settlement involving the former family home. They were both in their 50’s.

When Nigel came to us, he had two goals – (1) to keep the former family home as he had been living in and contributing to it since separation, and (2) to be able to retire by his late 60s.

After defining his goals, we met with Nigel and a financial planner to have a chat about his goals. The financial planner was able to look at his assets and earnings and talk to him about how much it will cost to keep the property, whether he would be able to refinance the property into his name, what his retirement looked like and how much that may cost.

From this meeting, we were able to come up with a number of options and proposals for settlement which could meet Nigel’s goals. Some of them were not ideal, but even a non-ideal option is still an option which ought to be considered. We looked at all of these options, ranked them from first to last preference, and then decided on an offer to put to Nellie.

In this matter, goal setting helped provide a clear framework for us about how to achieve the best for Nigel. It also helped Nigel focus on the bigger picture when going through his matter, and not get caught up on the little issues which could have caused further conflict.

 Example 2 – Lucy and Dan (not their real names)

In another matter, our client, Lucy, had very clear goals when it came to settlement of her family law matters with her ex, Dan. In this matter, there were two children under the age of 10, and Lucy’s main goal was to ensure that both she and Dan remained amicable and could continue to make decisions about their children jointly.

These goals informed not only how we would approach settlement of their parenting matters, but also their property matters. We made sure that any issues that arose with respect to their property dispute were handled sensitively so that they have very little bearing on how the parenting matter was being dealt with.

Because both Lucy and Dan shared their goal for remaining amicable, a lot of the time we took a step back. We gave Lucy the tools and information that she needed to go to Dan directly and discuss and try to resolve matters with him, and thus reducing the risk of issues or positions being misinterpreted or agitated by lawyers.

In the end, Lucy and Dan were able to sit down and go through our Forward online settlement solution together (yes, together), and work through the system to document their agreement quickly and cost-effectively.

These are just a few examples of how we have been able to help people identify and articulate their goals, and use them to navigate their way through their family law matters as quickly, cost-effectively and amicably as possible!

For more information about how we can help you define and achieve your goals in your family law settlement, give us a call here. Our lawyers can discuss your needs and goals with you and help you finalise your settlement agreements quickly and cost-effectively.

At Balance Family Law, we help you to identify your goals when it comes to your family law dispute!

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Finalist - Corporate Kindness Awards

Issued by Corporate Kindness Awards · Winners announced April 2022

Winner - Sole Practitioner of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Dec 2021

Winner – Partner of the Year (Family Law)

Issued by Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards · Nov 2021

Winner - Service Business Award

Issued by Ausmumpreneur Awards · Sep 2021

Winner - Service Business of the Year

Issued by Roar Awards · Sep 2021

Winner - Innovation Award for Legal Education and Change Initiatives

Issued by APAC Insider · Aug 2021

Winner - Top Boutique Law Firm 2021

Issued by Australasian Lawyers · Aug 2021

Winner- Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Issued by APAC Insider · Aug 2021

Finalist - Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Jun 2021

Finalist - Innovator of the Year Award (Company)

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Jun 2021

Finalist - Innovator of the Year Award (Individual)

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Jun 2021

Finalist – 30 Under 30 Award (Family Law)

Issued by Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 Awards · Apr 2021

Winner - Rising Stars in Family Law

Issued by Global Corp Media · Mar 2021

Finalist -Rising Star Ausmumpreneur of the Year

Issued by Ausmumpreneur Awards · 2021

Finalist -Social Change Hero

Issued by Roar Awards · 2021

Winner - Boutique Law Firm of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Sep 2020

Winner - Family Law Firm of the Year

Issued by Corporate Live Wire · Sep 2020

Winner - Service Business Award

Issued by Ausmumpreneurs · Sep 2020

Winner -Emerging Mumpreneur

Issued by Ausmumpreneur · Sep 2020

Finalist - Sole Practitioner of the Year

Issued by Australian Law Awards · Aug 2020

Winner - Rising Stars of Family Law

Issued by APEC Insider · Jul 2020

Winner – Family Law Firm of the Year (Australia)

Issued by International Advisory Experts (IAG) 2020

Outside of Balance, I am an adjunct lecturer and assessor with the College of Law in the ACT. In this role, I lecture and mentor future lawyers in the ACT and surrounding regions, as they complete their Practical Legal Training (which is the course you are required to complete to be able to practice as a lawyer).

When I am not lawyering I love to travel and have already made it to 18 countries across Europe and Asia. My personal goal is to travel to every continent, including Antarctica. My favourite destination so far is Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland, where I skydived over the Swiss Alps!

My innovative approach to law has seen me, and Balance Family Law recognised with over 23 national and international awards and accolades since 2020 including the prestigious Lawyer’s Weekly Family Law Partner of the Year 2021, Australian Law Awards Sole Practitioner of the Year 2021, Australian Law Awards Boutique Law Firm of the Year 2020 and the Gold Ausmumpreneur Award for a Service Business in 2020 and 2021. I have also received consecutive Chief Minister’s Awards for Excellence for my work with families and children on the frontline during my time working in child protection. In 2022 and 2023, I was invited to be a Judge at the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards, and Partner of the Year Awards, and the National Ausmumpreneur Awards.

As one of Australia’s most respected family lawyers and a gamechanger in the lawyer space, I look forward to working with you to navigate this challenging time in your life.