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Common Errors Family Law Clients Make

Our client’s often ask how to resolve the legal issues around their separation and divorce while minimizing legal fees and conflict. As lawyers, we hope to provide advice on how to restructure your family relationships in the most efficient way. These times of transition are extremely difficult for everyone – emotions are high and the future seems uncertain. We often see our clients making the same types of mistakes. Our blog post this month points out some common pitfalls:


  1. Not getting advice early on before making important decisions – knowledge is power. Ensure that the decisions you make about the best interests of your family are informed by your rights and obligations under the law.
  2. Insisting on making decisions based on what “feels right” instead of accepting objective legal advice – as lawyers, it is our job to tell you about the law as well as our ‘outsider’s perspective’ of the situation, i.e. how a Judge applying the law might see it. Despite what people often believe Judges have limits about what they can and will do under the law.
  3. Not getting advice, or after getting it not listening to it – why bother having a lawyer if you are not going to make use of the advice? You can make mistakes and create problems for yourself without the fees. Why add fees to the equation?
  4. Insisting on having everything your way – despite legal advice that you cannot.
  5. Not considering the cost/benefit of each decision – do you want to spend $20.00 to get $5.00?
  6. Not being realistic about lifestyle choices given the level of resources available – relationship breakdown means change for everyone. Managing, not ignoring it is the better approach. But first it means knowing what is reasonably achievable in the legal process.
  7. Failing to recognize the real and lasting harm family conflict does to children – consider the affect this will have on your family. Is that a price you want to pay or have your children pay? What options help eliminate or minimize that?
  8. Not communicating with their lawyers – lawyers work hard with competing demands and priorities, it makes it difficult if they have to chase their own clients. Financial disclosure is an important part of this. (see our blog Disclosure – Just do it). Sometimes clients minimize communication to save money, that is often a false economy in the big picture.
  9. Not separating the emotional and relationship issues from the legal and financial issues. Emotional and relationship issues can’t be solved in any legal process. Vindication or being proven right may be impossible (as the issues are not legally relevant to the Judge) and even if not impossible can be unduly expensive and difficult.
  10. Being inflexible in thinking and approaches – what the parties did before didn’t work. Approach the new situation with new ideas, be open to advice and be ready to try new things in order to find solutions.


We help our clients avoid these mistakes. If you would like to schedule a consult to discuss please contact us.