Who Goes to The Family Court?

collaborative divorce or "divorce without court" saves money

Fewer people each year is the answer to this question. This is a good news story, but not because fewer people are separating and divorcing, which may be your first response to learning that fewer applications are filed in the Family Court these days.


Divorce Agreements That Reduce Legal Fees

It is a good news story because many families are reaching agreement and settling their disputes with the assistance of mediators, collaborative divorce law practitioners and psychologists. In doing so, these families are protecting themselves from expense of  significant legal costs, and from escalating conflict which is bad for everyone’s health, and in particular for the health of children.  Other families  are reaching agreements, with the assistance of co-operative lawyers, in various different ways.  As a veteran of the adversarial legal system,  all of the alternatives to litigation are positive.


Divorce is an Emotional Time NOT a Legal Issue

Most separating couples do not have  complex legal issues to resolve, and very often they do not have any legal issues to resolve.  Almost all separating couples have complex emotional issues to resolve, and it is a wise and rational decision for couples to find  ways to reach their agreements which do not involve the  limits and coercion of the court system,  or worst of all having a stranger make long-term decisions  for the lives of couples and their children.  From my perspective, it is much better that couples invest their financial and  energy resources into resolving  the emotional fallout of separation, and  the practical and financial  issues are then much more likely to resolve themselves  or to be agreed  upon with  much less pain and difficulty.


Which Divorcing Couples Go to Court?

For those couples who find their way into the court system,  there is  significant concern about what is really going on.  Often the disputes which find their way into the court are  relational disputes, and part of that can be  due to high conflict behaviour, resulting from personality disorders,  addiction and other hidden factors.


Bill Eddy and the High Conflict Institute

Who is Bill Eddy? The following extract from his website link. “William A. (“Bill”) Eddy IS CO-FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT OF HIGH CONFLICT INSTITUTE, LLC, IN San Diego, California, AND Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego, California. He is a Certified Family Law Specialist in California with over FIFTEEN years’ experience representing clients in family court.”

The work of Bill Eddy and the High Conflict Institute  suggests that  in  high conflict litigation,  it is most likely that one or more  of the parents/ couple  has  a personality disorder. So these people are not litigating about law,  which is what courts are established to deal with. The court system  adds enormous stress  to  the lives of litigants,  and for those with personality disorders it  appears likely that  such stress  causes their behaviour to deteriorate. Unfortunately,  the court system has no capacity to identify and deal constructively with  adverse behaviours.  This is a truly powerful argument for  either  keeping  such people away from the court system,  or providing funding,  training and structural change to allow the system  to understand and accommodate  problems that are  hidden  or otherwise difficult to identify and manage.

If you would like to know more about “Divorce Without Court” in Melbourne just follow the link for more information.

In a recent, thought-provoking article by Bill Eddy that is well worth reading  about replacing the Family Court in order to assist families that may become high conflict litigants in a divorce case.  Just follow this LINK to the article on the High Conflict Institute’s website.