Family Law Support

It is not always possible to work with the other party to agree upon the way forward.‚Äč

More about our Family Law Support approach.

At CFLS we offer a range of options for you to consider so that together we can support you to achieve your goals for your future following separation. We invite you to work with us to develop an action plan tailored to the unique needs of your family and your situation.

In our initial information and assessment session we focus on understanding your values, your goals, and the steps required for this journey. We can accompany you down this pathway in any way that works best for you; supporting you in the background, travelling with you side-by-side, or taking the path for you and reporting as we go.  

At CFLS we have well-established links with other professionals and value any opportunity to work collaboratively with clients and their other supports. Our experience has shown us that this holistic approach results in the best outcomes.


Can I choose the best lawyer for me?

It is important that you have a good working relationship with your lawyer. We recommend that you meet with a number of lawyers to experience different approaches and find the right fit for you. Personal referrals from someone who has travelled this journey before you, can be a great place to start. You can arrange a free 15 min chat with one of our operators through our website, or you can arrange an initial information session of about an hour to develop an action plan to meet your unique needs.

Can the same lawyer act for both sides?

It is not acceptable for a lawyer to act for more than one party in any dispute. We prepare documents based on instructions from one of the parties, which can be forwarded to the other part for their consideration. We would always recommend that anyone making important decisions and signing important documents should discuss these in advance with a lawyer advising them of what they mean from their perspective.

When should I engage a lawyer?

You can engage a lawyer at any time, and on whatever basis is appropriate at any time. You may need information and preliminary advice, you may need help with developing your action plan, you may require support for negotiations or mediation, or you may require an advocate to guide you through the court process. A lawyer may fulfill any one of these roles at a point in time, and later fulfill another as your needs change.

Do both sides need to have a lawyer?

A party cannot be forced to obtain legal representation, although it is recommended that some legal input is obtained for empowerment and to ensure informed decision-making.

Does engaging a lawyer mean going through the court process?

No, proceeding through the court process should be a last resort. There are many important functions that a lawyer can perform including providing information, legal advice, support for negotiation and mediation/Family Dispute Resolution, formalising agreements, engaging in collaborative practice, as well as providing guidance through the court process.

How should I communicate with my lawyer?

This should be something that you discuss with your lawyer to agree on the best mutually acceptable method of communication in your circumstances. This can be face to face, or by Zoom, phone, text, email or other social media.

What should I tell my lawyer?

It is important to be completely open and honest with your lawyer. They cannot advise you as to the best way to approach or manage a particular aspect of your situation if they are not aware of it. Remember that all communications between you are confidential, and you can be confident that all discussions will be private.

Can I tell things to my lawyer in confidence?

All communications between you are confidential, and you can be confident that all discussions will be private. If a risk of danger to life or property is identified then a lawyer may have an obligation to advise the relevant authorities. This is particularly important for any risk of harm to a child.

How do I know what my lawyer will cost?

This should be a topic discussed with your lawyer prior to you engaging them. Lawyers have professional obligations to advise in advance of likely legal fees, and to keep you advised of these as they change over time. Do not hesitate to raise any concerns regarding fees with your lawyer as soon as possible.

When do I have to pay my lawyer?

This is a matter to be agreed between you and your lawyer. It may vary depending upon the role that you want your lawyer to have in your matter, and the likely amount of costs to be generated. In most circumstances you will be billed monthly or at important events such as mediation dates and court events. At each event you should receive a detailed list of the costs up to that time, paid and unpaid, and an estimate as to the cost involved for the next event, and the overall costs to resolve the matter.

What if I have concerns about what my lawyer is charging?

It is important that if you have any concerns about costs, you raise these with your lawyer as soon as possible. These should be sorted out before proceeding further, to ensure that you have a working relationship that is a good fit for you and is achieving your goals for your matter.

How will I know what my lawyer is doing for me?

Your lawyer should be providing regular and timely updates of any developments in your matter. You should be receiving copies of any correspondence or documents from the other side, and be involved directly in responding to such communications, and reviewing your action plan from time to time. If you are unsure of the pathway of your matter at any time, you should contact your lawyer to review progress and confirm future steps.

What if I no longer have confidence in my lawyer?

It is important to discuss any concerns regarding your legal representation as soon as possible. If you lack confidence in your lawyer and cannot resolve this by discussion, then we would recommend that you consider obtaining a second opinion and discussing your situation with another lawyer. Think of a similar situation with a medical advisor- you would not hesitate to approach another experienced professional.

What if I want to change my lawyer?

It is your prerogative to change your lawyer when you wish to. You can notify your lawyer in writing that you have discontinued their retainer and they no longer represent you. Once any outstanding fees are paid, you will be entitled to any documents you have provided to your lawyer in hard copy, if any, and your file will be sent to you or your new legal representation. If court proceedings are under way, you must file a new Notice of Address for Service with the court.

What if I want to explore a relationship with a lawyer from CFLS?

Book a free 15 min chat to discuss your situation with one of our lawyers, or ring 0419104494 to arrange for an initial consultation to discuss your situation, receive preliminary advice, and to develop an action plan as to how to move forward with your matter.

Can I engage a lawyer from CFLS if I am being funded by Victoria Legal Aid?

Yes, CFLS does accept matters referred from Victoria legal Aid.

What people have been saying

Susan has been a great option for our clients that are seeking a pragmatic and considered resolution to their family law matter. Susan is not only approachable for the clients but communicates effectively with all parties to ensure that their interests, positions and concerns are heard. All of my clients that have worked with Susan have left the mediation process feeling that the attention their matter received was personal and well prepared. I highly recommend Susan as a family dispute resolution practitioner.

Brynne Allen
Family Lawyer
Carew Counsel
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