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Seeking a Second Opinion in your Family Law Matter

By 22 April 2020Family Law, General
Second Opinion

For many, the recent lockdown has afforded an opportunity to slow down, and potentially the chance to think more clearly and certainly more deeply about what might be going on in our worlds.

For those who are in the midst of separation and negotiating arrangements for children and property settlement, it is only natural to be asking whether the advice you’re receiving and strategy embraced is the right approach.

Your children are likely to be the most important thing in the world to you.

Your financial capacity to move forward with your life is also likely to be an important priority.

If you were diagnosed with a serious neurological impairment tomorrow, the reality is that you would be looking beyond your trusted general practitioner for guidance almost immediately, and in all likelihood you would seek out the advice of more than one specialist before making big decisions about treatment.

The future of your family and the law in relation to it is no different, these situations demand specialist practitioners, and you have a right to a second opinion when so much is at stake.

Hopefully you enjoy a very close and trusting relationship with your advisor, this is really important to getting the right outcome. Seeking a second opinion about your matter is not inconsistent with that trust, and in many respect will allow you more firmly embrace the advices that you are receiving.

I’ve spoken previously in our video content about the value of a second opinion – the very articulation of your situation and the issues that are playing on your mind, often allows for greater personal clarity. I routinely provide second opinions without any expectation of a client moving forward with me essentially because, if their lawyer is on the right track and the relationship is a positive one, then my advice is not to incur the potential cost of transferring your file, but to move forward with the same lawyer (albeit with a better understanding of why certain steps have been taken and certain advice provided). That won’t always be the case, with the utmost loyalty to my colleagues, sometimes it’s necessary to say that in all honesty I would recommend a different approach, or path. That information can then be used by you to potentially query or re-direct your own lawyer, again without necessarily moving forward with a different lawyer.

Some tips in seeking a second opinion:

  • Look for experience and specialisation in the complex area of family law practice;
  • Provide the lawyer giving you a second opinion with as much information and documentation as possible, preferably before the attendance so that they understand your situation before you chat;
  • Write down your primary concerns and queries and ensure they’re addressed during the discussion;
  • Beware any practitioner that wants to tell you that they will definitely achieve an outcome or guarantee a result. For reasons that I have articulated on previously, that’s a dangerous thing to do in his area of the law

I have no difficulty with my clients seeking a second opinion, perhaps in part because I’m confident in my own understanding of this area and strategy. I’ll sometimes actively seek out that opinion myself, often from a Barrister or another member of our team – it’s important as a practitioner not to assume you’re always right, but to be prepared to hear contrary opinion and debate the merits of a particularly situation and approach.

Information is power, and it’s imperative that you feel confident and empowered to provide instructions when so much rests on these negotiations. We are engaging with our clients every day by video conference, telephone and email to provide advice. On a reduced and fixed-fee basis we can provide that second opinion that may put your mind to rest. Contact our Toowoomba family lawyers today to schedule an appointment for your second opinion.

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