Welcome to Gray’s Family Law. Before you read any further you should know that we no longer accept cases that are either in Court or likely to end up in Court.
Our principal, Michael Gray, was first admitted in 1980 and, after more than 35 years in the Family Law arena, understands the futility of litigation. Family law cases, if contested in Court, are likely to take up to 2 or more years to conclude and after enormous expense (not unusually of around $50,000 each party) and substantial emotional turmoil, will result in a decision over which neither party has any control and with which (usually) neither party is happy. Where there are children of the relationship and whether or not they are the subject of the litigation, the harvest of that dispute is that those children are often alienated from one parent and sometimes both.
Statistically, approximately 95% of cases that are commenced in the Family Law jurisdiction, both property and parenting, settle without going to trial. It is our assessment that of all cases involving relationship breakdown and consequential property and parenting disputes, approximately 70% are settled without commencing Court proceedings. It follows from that that of any 100 cases, 70 are resolved sensibly between the parties without going to Court, 30 are commenced in Court and of those 30, 95% settle. In round figures, that translates to between 1 and 2 out of 100 requiring a judicial determination and 98 or 99 out of 100 that don’t. Do you want to be one of those 1 or 2?
There are of course cases where one party finds him or herself being dragged through Court because of the unreasonableness or vengefulness of the other party. That is regrettable but there are avenues available to attempt resolution or to at least minimise the damage that the unreasonable or vengeful party is intent on inflicting.
Broadly, Family Law cases fall into 2 categories, being property and parenting. In parenting matters, a party cannot commence proceedings in court unless the parties have attended Family Dispute Resolution and a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner has issued the relevant certificate under section 60 I of the Family Law Act. In property matters a Court will usually order the parties to attend private mediation or, occasionally, a conciliation conference with a Court Registrar.
Our emphasis is on helping people to resolve their issues by exploring alternative dispute resolution processes first and, once the issues have been resolved, preparing an agreement in accordance with the relevant sections of the Family Law Act. If we are unable to assist the parties in resolving those issues, we will, in parenting matters, issue the relevant certificate under section 60 I and refer the parties on to other lawyers to act for them in any subsequent proceedings.
For your assistance, we have set out the principles which govern parenting and property matters under the “Property ” and “Parenting” tabs and have provided a link to the Family Law Act from which you can access those sections of the Act that are relevant to your particular situation. We have also included an “Alternative Dispute Resolution” tab, which sets out the alternative methods we provide for resolving your dispute and a “Fees” tab from which you will be able to assess the likely cost of any of the range of our services you may require. If there is any further information required, please email us using the form provided.