Why good collaboration is so important between a client and their lawyer by Georgina Robertson

How you and your family lawyer collaborate with one another can make a significant

difference in finding the solutions you need regarding your family law matter. To help

demonstrate what good collaboration can look like from both sides, CFLS paralegal

Georgina Robertson shares one of her earlier experiences working with a client and

explains how collaboration helped determine a good client outcome.

When I joined CFLS, we had a client who had already worked with our team previously in

circumstances where she was managing parenting arrangements for her child through Court

orders with her former partner. During the relationship, she had been subject to coercive and

controlling behaviour which contributed to ongoing parenting difficulties even after final orders

were made, as the ex-partner was continuing to control our client through their child.

She came back to us seeking our urgent assistance on a number of issues, namely that the

father was over holding the child on baseless allegations in an attempt to intimidate her. From

this, our client instructed us to take urgent Court action. On the back of our application to the

Court for the child to be returned, we were able to raise other urgent issues for our client

including international travel, a GP and psychologist for the child, and enrolment in primary


I ensured things progressed in a timely manner by drafting the Court documents and liaising

with the client and Susan (CFLS’ founder and FDR Specialist) about any amendments required,

following up on evidence with Child Protection and Victoria Police to support her case, and

compiling the brief to the barrister. We were able to put forward a very clear cut case on behalf

of our client, and as a result, the Court ruled in her favour.

 A key factor in the success of this case was the collaborative and trusting relationship that developed between CFLS, our client and the barrister.

This included how Susan built a strong rapport with our client through listening to her

perspective and challenging circumstances, which allowed her to feel heard and understood. In

turn, Susan was able to offer strong advice about the most important issues in her case and

what was likely to happen when we went to Court. This set our client up to understand her

options and participate in decision making, giving her a way forward and reassurance that the

child’s best interests were being prioritised.

Our client also responded promptly to what we asked of her by doing things such as typing a

summary of events based on her diary entries and providing supporting evidence such as

emails and text messages. This assisted us greatly in understanding the timeline of events and

was integral information that strengthened the case. I spoke regularly with her when she

needed to take down key details for Court documents, discuss any latest developments, or

go over any concerns she had.

When we checked in regularly as a team, the barrister we worked with was able to

provide our client with further reassurance that we were taking the best course of action

and this gave her confidence that she was in the best position possible to succeed.

As a result, we were able to be thorough in our approach and achieved a great outcome for

our client. Each option could be ‘reality tested’ against practical factors like travel, cost, and time to tailor a solution that will work long term for the client and prevent her from ending up with an agreement that did not fit in with her lifestyle or needs.

The more thorough the instructions from the client, the better prepared the lawyer can be.

If you are someone who is beginning their family law journey with a lawyer, something I would recommend that can help your family is to keep a diary or draft a chronology of significant events from the commencement of the relationship to now, including details about any effects that separation or events following it had on your child/ren. This will help your lawyer understand what pathways might suit you and your family best in the long run. It will also foster the beginnings of good collaboration between them and yourself.

If you are seeking family law advice, support or simply want to explore your options,

please do not hesitate to contact Creative Family Law Solutions to connect and discuss

your matter further.

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