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.


Civilised Separation: A proven way to care for your money and your health

Spoiling for a fight with your ex? That’s understandable, and probably normal. Divorce can bring so much anger, fear, loss, sadness and regret. Most people will tell you, if they are honest, about the temptation to say and do some pretty awful things to their ex. Many of them have done and said those things, which will rarely have been a good idea, no matter how it felt at the time.

Angry outbursts can feel satisfying, and outbursts in the presence of your children or other people can make you feel validated in your anger about what your ex has said or done to you. Finding an outlet for your anger is healthy; letting go of anger in a way that is going to escalate conflict and your own pain is not healthy. It’s not healthy for your emotional well being and it’s not healthy if you care about money and divorce.

I have worked in co-operative or civilised separation for many years now, and one of the things I have learnt, is that those very early steps or missteps count down the track. Holding back can often be the difference between some kind of reasonable solution and an acrimonious fight about everything….about your children, about your money, your child support, your property. And when you end up arguing instead of co-operating, you will damage your own emotional and often physical health, and you will spend much more money than you need to, usually on lawyers, and get less for it.

Separation means that you face many decisions. Some of those will be major decisions, and some of those decisions will have long term effects on your family and your money. There are different people who can help you to take the long view, and channel some of the emotion you feel away from the decision-making that you and your spouse need to manage. Nobody will say that is easy to separate your feelings from legal decisions, and it isn’t. But anyone who has come to a dignified, respectful conclusion to their marriage or relationship will say that keeping the decision making as business like as possible, and biting their lip at times, was a good tactic. Your psychologist/counsellor, peace-making lawyer, friends, family are all people with whom you can think about unburdening your stress and upset.

You need to know what is possible and reasonable in negotiating agreements with your ex, but you don’t need to risk court or fights between lawyers to get a fair outcome. Collaborative lawyers, mediators, divorce financial planners and counsellors are peacemakers. Peacemaking is not selling out or giving away your rights; it is about making good decisions for your children and yourself. Staying away from angry outbursts will help you to stay away from angry lawyers, and that’s the proven key to looking after your money and health.


Is ‘Amicable Divorce’ the New Black for Family Lawyers?

In my opinion, no lawyer should talk about amicable divorce/separation until they understand what that means and how it can be achieved. Any lawyer who is writing letters that look like the following example, should perhaps remove ‘amicable’ from their vocabulary. ‘Dear Madam/Sir I am instructed on behalf of your husband/wife/partner, who wishes to reach an amicable settlement. It is alleged… Read more

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Divorce Month: Here’s to protecting your dignity

Christmas holidays seem like a particularly sad time for families to separate, but it is the time of year when a high number of marriages and relationships come to an end. Separation is always hard, and there is no ‘right’ time. There is only a ‘right’ way to manage the decisions that follow separation. There is not enough said about dignity in separation and… Read more

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Finding your Divorce Rudder

I recently heard a journalist say that during divorce, ‘You can’t control the legal process’. That might be closer to the truth if you have gone down the path of litigation, which most people do for want of advice about a better way to separate. But it’s certainly not true that you can’t control or positively influence how your separation happens. The first step… Read more

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Cost of Divorce after 1 July 2015

All fees in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court will go up on 1 July 2015. If you are planning to apply for Divorce, and meet the requirement of being separated for 12 months, including separation under the same roof, act now. The current fee for filing a Divorce Application is $845. On 1 July it will increase to $1,195. To… Read more

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