What are the upcoming changes to the Family Court?
Hello everyone, I’m hoping that you might be able to help me understand what is currently happening in my case.
In late November I filed papers seeking changes to my current contact arrangement. Most of the changes are rather minor issues, the biggest ones would be increasing contact from 1 to 2 overnight stays a week, and increasing holiday contact to a more reasonable level (it’s currently pitiful).
At a meeting regarding holiday contact in November, Lawyer for Child put very heavy pressure on me to agree to mediation. I refused to make a decision on the spot, and told her I needed time to think about it.
Among other things, she said “There are changes to the Family Court coming into effect in the New Year, and if you don’t make a decision now (about mediation), it will be much harder to sort things out later”.
Lawyer for Child has said she would support my request to increase contact, but to be frank, I wouldn’t trust her as far as I could throw her. She swings between condescending and abrasive, and has repeatedly made comments such as “I’m a single mother too, I see things from her point of view”.
My last experience of mediation was a long drawn out affair that took nearly a full day and cost me several thousand dollars in legal fees, while my ex-partner simply sat there (with her free lawyer) and refused to agree to anything. Eventually the mediator wore her down to the point of grudgingly agreeing to one day a week. In exchange I had to agree to jump through a whole lot of hoops.
My ex-partner is currently holding a grudge about our recent a holiday contact case, she won’t even speak to me during changeover, and it’s visibly distressing our child. My Ex isn’t an easy person to negotiate with on a good day, she has a history of being obstinate and I doubt she’ll voluntarily agree to any substantial increase in contact. I don’t have a great deal of confidence that mediation will produce a reasonable result.
What I’m hoping you could tell me is…
Why is Lawyer for Child pressuring me so intensely to agree to mediation? (Does the Family Court have some sort of incentive program for Lawyer for Child to get them to push for mediation?)
What are the upcoming changes to the Family Court? How would they they be relevant to my case or mediation? And when do they come into effect?
Will any of the upcoming changes affect Legal Aid? And will the changes affect my case since it was filed in November? My ex-partner is on a benefit and uses her ‘free’ lawyer to deliberately delay and draw-out every issue at no expense to her.
How much would it cost to take a case like this through to a hearing? (assuming I’m paying for my lawyer) And how long would it take?
– – Jimbob