One profession that fails to garner any public sympathy is family lawyers, a field where professionals attempt to strike deals and reach conciliatory agreements following a separation. Seen by some as a necessary evil where representation in a court of law is required, this is a niche that has seen much change and with it, a degree of criticism and scrutiny where attorneys have been forced to justify their existence.
What has resulted is a series of problems and challenges where family lawyers in the Sydney CBD have been forced to find solutions to their practice. Few will be quick to leap to their defence as firms are left to change their approach to practicing.
Here we will discuss the key challenges they face in 2018 as the profession continues to force practitioners to adapt or to fade away.
Increase in Competition
With divorce rates slowly increasing on an annual basis for the past few decades, family lawyers are in hot demand. This niche has seen incredible growth in recent times as attorneys who specialise in this field continue to see cases pile up on their desks. What this fixation in the market has caused is increased competition where more firms and lawyers are emerging on the scene.
Parents Rights vs. Children’s Interests
Australian has experienced much change in this field, with a Senate inquiry taking place over alterations to the 2006 Family Law Act. Family lawyers have since been placed in the middle of a debate that sees interpretations differentiate between the rights of the parents against the best interests of the children involved. Some analysts have attempted to verify the official definitions in the eyes of the law, yet this remains an ongoing concern where outcomes are scrutinised.
A divorce is always a fraught time for individuals who are experiencing tremendous physical and emotional degrees of stress. Needless to say that consultations with family lawyers is not high on their agenda item and this is where meetings and modes of communication can becomes complicated for the attorney. As they attempt to undertake due process and operate in a quick and diligent fashion, their client can be hampered in their decision making and ability to articulate a coherent position.
Irrational and Impractical Demands
An extension of this concern for family lawyers is seeing their clients failing to take on their legal advice. Whether it is a marriage or a de facto relationship that ends acrimoniously, one party can attempt to use the legal system purely for their own needs to make demands that are either impractical or irrational. Attempting to control and venture beyond anger is one of the key challenges that a qualified attorney must solve.
Sourcing Outside Council
Family lawyers that are unable to help emotional and irrational clients will often see them sourcing outside council. Friends and family members are often relied upon during separations and these are parties that can be incredibly opinionated and equally partial to lending their own council that does not have legal implications in mind. Clients cannot be prevented from talking to loved ones and those they trust, but an attorney must recommend against taking their word over that of their council.
Family lawyers are seen as a nuisance in many cases and vultures by the ultra cynical. However, it is worth noting that these challenges they face do get in the way of an important process that helps to mediate and collaborate between two spouses who have encountered their own difficulties without any legal interference. Family lawyers are on hand to help smooth that process over for the sake of both parties and that of any children involved.