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3 Common Mistakes To Avoid in Family Court

Break-ups in families are an incredibly stressful and worrying time. For some people, it’s their first time ever attending a family court if family dispute mediation with their family lawyer does not resolve their issues. If the dispute has to go through litigation, people tend to make some unavoidable mistakes which may negatively impact on their case. Here are the top 3 common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Not disclosing all financial information

Before the due court date, it is key that you have discussed all the relevant information you are legally required to provide, with your family lawyer in Melbourne. You are obliged to disclose all financial resources that are available to you, all of your income where employed or as part of investments and any financial interests in property including any investment portfolios. If you have gifted any monies to other parties since the relationship breakdown, this has to be declared along with shares/interests that you hold or receive as a shareholder, director, beneficiary or trustee.

All parties have a duty to disclose all details of their financial situation and it can be a genuine error that they forget to include everything or an attempt to hide some of their finances. Either way, the courts will check and if it comes to light that there is an intent to hide some pertinent information, this will go against the individual and the judge could well find in favour of the other partner. Getting an objective third party such as your trusted lawyers in Melbourne to go through all income and outgoings, will highlight the records and transactions that should form part of the pack of information for the family courts.

  1. Publishing information via social media and lying

A lot of people live their lives through social media, posting every aspect and detail of day-to-day living including photographs and comments. Arguments and opinions during a time of great upheaval such as a divorce must not be played on or commented upon when going through the family courts. Negative comments about the ex-partner or details of the relationship that paints them in a poor light, not only shows up the person posting online but it is illegal. Section 121 Family Law Act states it is an offence to publish information which could identify an individual currently part of a family law matter which is being decided up by the courts.

Even if they are no longer part of your Facebook page or Instagram account, do not make reference to them or their new partners. Remember, if you make the content private, what is posted on the Internet is part of your digital footprint and can be accessed. Both individuals have to present themselves and their case in court with a clear conscience and tell the truth under oath when questioned. The family lawyer will be there to represent them but if questioned by the ex-partner’s legal counsel, this can be a nerve-wracking event and sometimes the temptation is to lie. This is not only illegal but in the eyes of the judge, reduces the credibility of the individual. Talking through each step of the process with a family lawyer will prepare people for what questions could be asked and they will be advised on what they can and cannot say (or post) about the process prior to the event.

  1. Not putting the interest of the child first

In terms of safeguarding the child’s interests, this the priority of the Family Court. As adults, ex-partners should demonstrate that this is the one shared interest and commitment they have in common. If the courts see evidence that one parent has been speaking ill of the other parent or trying to turn the child against that parent, this will impact very badly on them. This also goes for negative comments about maternal or paternal grandparents or other family members. The child should not be used as a bartering tool in any family dispute, and this includes access and visitation rights.

Again, if the court finds that one parent had been attempting to overshare too much about the family court process with the child, this too can go against them. While it is recognised that separations and family disputes can be sometimes vitriolic between adults, the child must be seen as the number one priority.  

Involving the best family lawyers in Melbourne from the beginning of the process will avoid these common pitfalls as well as giving equable and objective support and guidance for the adults involved.