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CityLife Cairns

REVIEW OF THE FAMILY LAW

REVIEW OF THE FAMILY LAW SYSTEM NARDINE COLLIER Nardine Collier is an accredited Specialist in Family Law, a Nationally Accredited Mediator and Family Law Arbitrator and Managing Director of Workplace Legal Solutions, Cairns Mediations and Collier Lawyers. The Australian Law Reform Commission has been tasked to undertake a review of the Family Law System. It has released a paper setting out 47 questions to be considered. (Submissions can be made online and close on 7 May 2018 - See the ALRC website for more information). One of the question relates to Costs and access to the family law system; and asks: “Question 10 - What changes could be made to the family law system, including to the provision of legal services and private reports, to reduce the cost to clients of resolving family disputes?” It was noted that the costs associated with family law cases going through the system can sometimes impoverish families, with reports that on many occasions legal costs in family law matters had amounted to over $100,000. There was a recent case in the Sydney Registry where the costs had reached over $900 000! It just makes no sense for parties to spend close to, or all, the money they have to divide, on legal fees. Another concern is that high legal costs creates great pressure on parties to settle the matter in a way that might not be best for them or their children. Then there are the growing number of people who don’t qualify for legal aid yet just don’t earn enough to afford legal representation. This can have the effect that parties don’t seek legal advice, don’t deal with their issues; and/or agree to arrangements that are unsafe, unfair or unworkable. The issues paper suggests that one answer is expanding the availability of low-cost family dispute resolution (mediation) services. That would certainly assist; but also, not forgetting that private mediation fees are not expensive in the context of how much it costs to run a family law matter. It’s tempting to blame lawyers for ‘charging too much’ but bear in mind that you are paying for professional advice and expertise, as you would with a doctor or accountant. Also, the reality is that the way the system is structured, there are just so many hours… and hours…and hours… of work that are required to properly run a family law matter in the court system – and of course the longer it goes for, the more it is going to cost. The better solution by far, is to have a mediation at the early stages of a family law matter. Even if agreement isn’t reached about everything, there might be things that can be agreed which will reduce the overall costs and time involved. Spend money wisely to get good advice from a professional so that you know what the best outcome is for you and your children. Then go into the mediation with a genuine desire to settle your matter and who knows? - you might just save yourself a lot of money! M: 0428 526 568 P: (07) 4214 5666 E: nardine@collierlawyers.com.au W: www.collierlawyers.com.au DON’T LITIGATE | MEDIATE • Affordable Rates • Flexible Payment • Fixed Price • Family & Workplace Mediation • Resolving Family & Workplace Disputes • Investigations and Advice • Workplace Policy Development M: 0428 526 568 P: (07) 4214 5666 www.collierlawyers.com.au CityLife 66 Magazine

THE POWER OF PR BEWARE OF THE OVERNIGHT EXPERT DANAE JONES Danae Jones is Principal of PR & Marketing firm Danae Jones Consulting e: danae@danaejones.com.au w: www.danaejones.com.au There is no question that social media and the worldwide web have seen the arrival of the overnight expert. For consumers this has created no end of problems as people are signing up for products, services and programs with so called experts that are no more than amateurs with a very captivating social and online presence. My advice is, do your research before committing to engaging anyone or buying anything from someone you haven’t heard of before. Online and social media reviews are also not sufficient enough research as many of these can be easily fabricated. Google is your friend. Don’t be afraid to Google the company or person’s name and do your research on that platform first. Google is renowned for exposing the good, the bad and the ugly. While you’re at it, Google yourself. Yes yourself. You’ll be surprised with what you will find. If you or your business don’t rate a mention on Google, than you need to do some serious work in building your online presence. Now getting back to working out the experts from the amateurs. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of their work and samples of success stories or contact details of reputable companies that have become their happy customers so you can contact them directly. If someone is as good as they say they are, they won’t be afraid to give you their client list and their contact details. Legitimate qualifications in their area of expertise is always a good place to start, or if they don’t have the qualifications on paper, make sure they’ve been doing what they say they do for a long period of time. Experience matters. The other point I would look at is if they practice what they preach. So if someone says they do great websites, but they themselves have a sub par website, than chances are they aren’t what they’re cracked up to be. Same applies for social media and marketing. If someone says they are great at social media or marketing, make sure you take a look at their own marketing collateral and social media platforms and make your assessment that way. On the flip side the overnight expert phenomenon has a lot of benefits for people who are new to an industry and want to easily dominate and make themselves appear bigger than what they really are. This can be achieved with minimal outlay and a creative strategy to funnel sales. CityLife 67 Magazine

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