Most people think of the law as being black and white, right or wrong.
This may be of true of some practice areas, but it couldn’t be further from the truth in our area of family law. Much like life, family law is anything but black and white and, as family lawyers, we spend a lot of our time in the grey area. That necessitates a complement of skills and experience that goes far beyond only that of the law.
As the largest team of speciality family lawyers in Queensland, we’re fortunate to have a depth and breadth of experience and knowledge that extends well beyond family law to support our clients as they navigate the often messy world of relationship breakdowns. A great number of our team bring knowledge from other areas, including business administration, management, communications and journalism, that complement their legal prowess.
Personally, I started my working life as a registered nurse and have an in-depth knowledge of nursing and mental health care, in addition to my personal experience as a mother. This complementary knowledge has been invaluable to so many of my clients over the years where complex mental and physical health problems presented in the context of a family law matter. For example, I have supported a client that had experienced a psychotic breakdown and subsequently consented to orders that meant he had very little time with his child in circumstances where his current mental wellbeing did not affect his capacity as a father. With my involvement and understanding of his circumstances, we were able to achieve an outcome where he now gets to spend quality time, including school holidays, with his child and play a part in the child’s life that may never have been possible without the unique combination of mental health and family law skills that I could bring to that scenario.
Another of our lawyers has a background in childcare and also studies psychology. This places her in a strong position to be able to assess and advise on age-appropriate care arrangements for children following separation and divorce. Many clients have benefited from this awareness in ensuring that their children are able to spend the time needed with all family members post relationship breakdown to support them to become well-rounded individuals.
Our Kara Best is also an accredited mediator and recently became a parenting coordination practitioner. These are skills that traverse boundaries and influence how she approaches family law. In much the same way, we’re also fortunate to have a number of our team qualified as collaborative law practitioners who can work with clients in a formal collaborative process to achieve resolution where the threat of evolving into a litigious matter is greatly reduced. While formal collaborative law is still taking shape in Australia, these skills are used in each and every matter towards achieving an outcome through collaborative negotiation rather than an aggressively charged approach where no one wins.
The diverse legal backgrounds held by our team, in areas such as administrative law, rural law, commercial law, criminal law, succession law and estate planning law, adds a further depth of legal skills and knowledge to the family law area in which they all now practise.
Then there are the life experiences that only serve to help understand the many and varied people that we come across in our work, be it as a parent, carer, labourer, landscaper, English teacher in Japan, bartender/waiter, librarian, childcare worker, customer service representative, nurse, or violinist. To cap it all off, we are fortunate enough to boast three accredited family law specialists within our team and one lawyer who can speak German!
It is this unique combination of knowledge, experience and skills that sets our team apart, adding value and providing understanding for our family law clients who are their own unique people with their own experience, knowledge and skills. In a world of grey, don’t settle for black and white.