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Why Family Lawyers Don’t Use The F Word

You know the word I’m talking about. Every client wants to say it.No, not that one….the other one. I’m talking about the ‘fair’ word.

Everyone just wants what is fair. Your ‘fair’ share of the assets. What is ‘fair’ in terms of time with the kids. A ‘fair’ amount of child support or spouse maintenance. But ‘fair’ is one of those completely useless words that means something different to each person who uses it.

What you think is ‘fair’ is never going to be the same as your former spouse’s idea of ‘fair’ is. We all start from a different perspective and therefore what we think is fair in the circumstances is always going to be different.

Your idea of ‘fair’ may be driven by factors such as:

  • Wanting to provide as best you can for your future;
  • Feeling that you are entitled to something to compensate for your hard work during the marriage;
  • Getting revenge against a former spouse for the hurt that they have caused you;
  • The legal advice you’ve received (good or bad);
  • Knowing that the other party can earn more in the future or has a wealthy family who will assist them to get back on their feet;

Whenever client’s ask me “do you think that is fair?” I only ever say one thing – we don’t use the ‘F’ word. The family law system is not ‘fair’. But it’s the only system we have and my job as a lawyer is to help you through that system and obtain the best possible outcome for you in the circumstances.

Instead of focusing on ‘fair’, I encourage my clients to focus on what they can live with. What is the outcome that will allow them to walk away without losing too much sleep, and wake up tomorrow feeling like a weight has lifted off their shoulders because, even though the outcome wasn’t ideal, they can now move on with their lives without the burden of litigation.

Sure, it is a lot easier to make a commercial decision when dealing with financial matters rather than children. But all too often parties lose focus in parenting matters too. They may think they are focussing on what is best for the children, but that view is always clouded by our own personal wants and desires.

After many years of watching people go through the family law system and come out the other side, I can tell you that things will always seem more ‘fair’ to you if you have had some input and control over the outcome and you haven’t wasted months and years of your life in litigation.

Image Credit – Ion Chiosea ©

Written by Amelia Trotman on May 2, 2018

Experienced in all aspects of Family Law, Amelia has a particular interest in complex parenting and property matters, international relocation matters and surrogacy. Amelia's down to earth approach and empathetic nature allows her to develop trusting relationships with clients and work towards achieving the best possible outcomes. View Amelia's profile

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