Chapter 50

You say, she say, hearsay

It takes two to tango, and to have an argument. One normally instigates it and the other usually retaliates. Like watching a game of tennis, it gets pretty boring seeing people do the same thing, over and over again. Judges have probably heard more arguments in their time than they care to remember. So, it’s nothing new or surprising to them to hear yet another bitter dispute between two parents over access to their children. What’s done is done, but what you do now will hopefully be more successful than your relationship with Jane. As long as argument exists in what’s left of the relationship, there will be little chance of resolution. The tit-for-tat tennis match of you say, she say, hearsay is about as entertaining to the court as watching the grass grow.

Hopefully, you have laid your case, good bad or indifferent, on the table for your counsel to see. And Jane has probably done the same on the other side of town. Embellishing on events is unwise, as what could be construed as a simple lie may be considered a crime in court. It’s called perjury, and it’s something you definitely don’t want to do. Depending on the nature of your disputes with Jane, the court may decide a number of things. In many instances, Jane’s and your name calling may simply cancel each other out, especially if it sounds like a lot of hot air. But if it presents as abusive, then it’s more than likely the court will want to know more. The truth is, the more you sling it, the more it’s going to cost first to hear and then to resolve……..

Chapter 53

Which way, boss?

There aren’t many who will like this comparison either, but your solicitor is a bit like a taxi driver. At the end of the day they can only take you where you want to go. Like a good solicitor, a taxi driver knows what’s happening on the streets, understands the rules of the road, gets you there as quickly as possible and hopefully delivers you in one piece. Whether or not you know which way to go, your solicitor will always have their own view on proceedings, but they may be less likely to voice their personal opinion than a cabbie.

There is a certain duty of care your solicitor needs to abide by. They are charged with the responsibility of acting on your behalf at all times, representing your interests to the best of their professional ability. This is another clear distinction between a cabbie and a solicitor. Though they are driving things for you, and their knowledge of the road ahead is far superior, you still remain in control of the wheel. But, apart from fighting with Jane, overruling your solicitor could well be the stupidest thing you can do. When it comes to the deal that needs to be struck, your solicitor will hopefully be turning on the charm and doing their utmost to reach an agreement. You do need to understand where things are going, and you can’t afford to sit back and enjoy the ride, but barking out directions like a back-seat driver is not a good idea……….

Chapter 56

M&M&M: Method and the madness of mediation

Before you have your case heard in front of a judge in the Family or Federal Magistrates (Circuit) Court, you will need to go to mediation. Although you may consider it madness, mediation is the likely and preferred method of resolution of your parenting dispute. If you fail at first to reach an agreement, don’t be surprised when the court recommends mediation once more. If Jane is the argumentative and uncooperative type, mediation may seem like a great big waste of time, but it’s not. This game is about patience and, in the end, coming to an agreement. Always take a positive attitude into discussions and maintain this disposition, for it will serve you well.

It is far more beneficial to be agreeable than to use this opportunity to vent your frustration or anger. Mediation is a chance to sort things out and to reach agreement on care arrangements for your kids. The more you remain focused on this idea, the more likely you are to find a solution and reach an agreement. It’s the unknown that drives a bloke to drink, so mediation should always be valued, and it’s also far more expedient and cheaper than a court case.