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Stopping short of the Courtroom doors…

June 4, 2013

The signs were not good.

Parents who had engaged in over 10 years of various Family Court proceedings where a Judge has had to decide almost every dispute brought before it. A child who was all too aware of the conflict between his parents. No communication between the parents besides perfunctory email correspondence.  And here we were facing a three day hearing about relocation of the child.

No, the signs were not good for managing to resolve this dispute in a manner that was conciliatory, that enabled each party to maintain their dignity and provided them an opportunity for creating a new foundation on which to build their future parenting relationship. To Court we were heading.

However, as a result of exhaustive negotiations and dialogue the parties in this dispute were able to avoid having a Judge decide their fate. They were even able to share a hug at the end of some face to face discussions about the new, future parenting relationship they were about to embark on.  

Being involved in this case reminded me:

-most people don’t want to go to Court

– most people want to come to their own resolutions for their family

– how destructive litigation can be to ongoing family relationships

– with the right lawyers working collaboratively for their respective clients, most things can be resolved.

– it takes “two to tango” in a conflict but just one to stop

– as lawyers, we can do constructive, positive work when we practice in a way that recognises the beneficial and empowering outcomes that can result when we support and assist families  to constructively problem solve their family law issues themselves.

Not every lawyer will keep you out of Court. Just as some surgeons may be “knife happy”, some lawyers are “litigation happy”. Some lawyers want to argue the argument for the sake of the legal argument and the “sport” of litigation. As a lawyer, I enjoy the cut and thrust of legal argument in Court. However, I also respect this may not be an argument that my client wants to have in front of a Judge and that there are considerable advantages to staying out of Court.

With the current Family Court Review by the Government, my hope is that more resources will be directed towards helping people in the midst of family law problems obtain legal advice and representation but resolve their problems outside of Court.

If you want to stay out of Court, contact me – Selina Trigg at Family Law Results on 0064 9 297 2010 or go to www.familylawresults.co.nz to learn more about our team of specialist family lawyers.

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