Litigation - Pitfalls of Litigation

For those involved in litigation, there are a number of disadvantages that they may face throughout the court process. Some of these pitfalls include:

  • There is no certainty of a litigated outcome. Whilst lawyers can provide advice as to the range of orders that the court could make, there are no guarantees. Judges and Registrars do have an inherent discretion as to what orders and directions should be made in proceedings listed before them.
  • It is a time consuming and drawn out process. With the current delays the court system is experiencing, proceedings that require a final determination is likely to take in excess of two and half years from the date of filing the Initiating Application (commencing the litigation). Therefore, for a number of years, for that family, there will be a concern in respect of the future court proceedings and/or potential claims that may be made against the other. In regards to financial issues, parties can be financially entwined and/or dependent on the other party for years post their separation, whilst waiting for a judicially imposed decision.
  • The significant cost. With ongoing correspondence, preparation of court documents, attendances on legal representatives for ongoing advice and at court, the associated out of pocket costs can be substantial.
  • The emotional effect of litigation on a party to the proceedings can be damaging. Ongoing conflict, the potential pressure of coming face to face with your ex-spouse and appearing at court can be stressful and will take an emotional toll. Further, to progress your case at court, it is likely that negative statements and allegations are made against the other person. It is for this reason that litigation can be destructive for any chance of having an effective relationship with the other person post separation, which is important in parenting matters.

Notwithstanding the above potential pitfalls, litigation may not be avoidable. Litigation may be essential to receive an outcome that is either in the best interests of the children or for a financial matter, orders that provide a just and equitable result.


Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?


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