Marguerite Picard Blog

Hi and welcome to my blog.

This blog is a free resource for you with the aim to educate and express opinions about collaborative family law, divorce, separation and child custody. All articles are informative and are up to date with current practices. Please enjoy reading and take care of yourself. - Marguerite.



Parenting Coordination In Divorce

Does this idea have any merit in Australia? Is there a better alternative? Parenting coordination has been established in America and Canada for many years. Its purpose is to assist the children of parents who are in significant divorce conflict with each other, and as a result cannot get their act together to properly implement a parenting plan. A parenting coordinator is a person trained in dispute resolution who can help parents to focus on their children’s needs, to understand what it is like to be one of their kids, with the goal of ensuring that arrangements for the time children spend with their parents works properly.
Parenting coordination recognises that the greatest problem the parents have is their own relational conflict, rather than there being any real problem with the court orders or mediated agreements. From my perspective, by this time the horse has well and truly bolted.


Questions On The Family Law Act

Our Family Law Act requires parents to mediate arrangements for the children before being permitted to ask a court to make orders. My question is why our Family Law Act does not require parents to work on their own relational conflict, before asking the court to make children’s orders? Spending resources at the front end of family separation, preventing court proceedings and the entrenchment and escalation of relational conflict is surely a better investment than spending the same resources on parenting coordination. At that stage, it is likely that court proceedings will have escalated the conflict between the parents, they will have continued their conflict for months or years longer, making it much tougher to treat. Is this another example of a failure to see the blindingly obvious in supporting families in separation? An interdisciplinary collaborative approach in these separations, would be enormously powerful, cost-effective and child focused. High conflict people and high conflict relationships are likely to require considerable therapeutic support, which can be organised as part of a collaborative process where the professionals recognise and are prepared to act upon that need.

The Risks of Paying Your Lawyer by the Hour

Case For Fixed Legal Fees The case of DLA Piper having been well and truly exposed for ‘churning’ files has been reported widely. In that case, private emails between colleagues, suggesting that billable time be added to a client file, and that the firm’s appetite for costs knew no bounds, have been exposed in a costs dispute. For most lawyers… Read more

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Fixed Fees in Divorce

Attorney General Speaks On Upfront Legal fees In ‘The Age’ 25 February 2013, the former Attorney General Mr. Rob Hulls says that lawyers need to find ways to charge their clients less, and suggests that people want to ‘know upfront’ what the outcome will cost. Here here! At MELCA we couldn’t agree more, and that’s why we were the first… Read more

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Does the Family Court really value the role of the homemaker?

Can You Believe This Family Court Decision? Picture this. A couple had been married for 29 years when their marriage fell on hard times, but their assets did not. They had assets of about $32million when they argued their way into the Family Court for divorce. The decision of the Family Court was that the husband had contributed 60% of… Read more

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