Smart Separation

Advice & Blog

A free resource for Smart Separation.

Divorce Advice, Mediation & Articles

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 to the best of my knowledge. Please enjoy reading each article and take care of yourself. – Marguerite.

PODCAST – Building Your Collaborative Practice

Building Your Collaborative Practice (HOST) I’m Wallace Long. Welcome to Collaborative Conversations, a podcast that looks into the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Practice approach for separating couples.  In this episode, I speak with a collaborative lawyer, Marguerite Picard. https://www.linkedin.com/in/margueritepicard/  Marguerite shares how she moved from adversarial lawyer to collaborative lawyer, and what drove her to establish in […]

Finality versus Alimony: Are we applying the wrong test?

Finality versus Alimony: Are we applying the wrong test?

Finality versus Alimony: Are we applying the wrong test? When a family law settlement is finally done, most people experience relief, even if mixed with some negative sentiment. For income-poor spouses, the balance often swings way to the negative. This is an important conversation we really haven’t faced up to in Australia. And yes, it […]

10 things to let go of to be happy

10 things to let go of to be happy

10 things to let go of to be happy

Thinking About Separating? Recently separated?

Thinking About Separating? Recently separated?

Thinking About Separating? Recently separated? Avoiding the wrong move might be the best move you ever make If you are thinking about separating, or have recently broken the news to your partner, these tips are to help you avoid as much of the hurt and cost as possible. If your partner has recently told you […]

Thinking About Separation? What to know and what to do

Thinking About Separation? What to know and what to do

Thinking About Separation? What to know and what to do “When I seriously decided to separate from Fiona, I had no clue where to start, so I started off by making a list of all the things I was worried about. That turned out to be a bad idea because it was a very long […]

Will Covid-19 change the family law system forever? Too early to tell?

Will Covid-19 change the family law system forever? Too early to tell?

Will Covid-19 change the family law system forever? Too early to tell? For years, governments have been cutting the real funding of the family courts. In the eyes of the legal profession, there is little argument that the effect of cost-cutting has been to dilute the quality of the courts’ service. Lawyers have long argued […]

Parenting arrangements and the family court – Covid-19

Parenting arrangements and the family court – Covid-19

Parenting arrangements and the family court – Covid-19 Important: If you or your child are in danger, please contact your local police office. If you or someone else are struggling, please use the resources below    Lifeline on 13 11 14 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 Safe Steps on 1800 015 188 Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 MensLine Australia on […]

There’s More Than One Marriage Story

There’s More Than One Marriage Story

Have you watched the new Netflix drama Marriage Story? Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story looks at a marriage falling apart while the family stays together. The film looks at this breakdown in a compassionate way and features Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Laura Dern. As I watched this film through my […]

“Lawyers as Peacemakers”? Hmm. Is that in the science fiction section?

“Lawyers as Peacemakers”? Hmm. Is that in the science fiction section?

Lawyers as Peacemakers”? Hmm. Is that in the science fiction section? No, but I can see why you’d be asking your Divorce lawyer that question. I was talking to someone about J Kim Wright’s book “Lawyers as Peacemakers”, when this question was asked. And yes, I get it. Most people aren’t used to hearing “lawyer” and “peace” […]

Divorce advice from “Experts”. Knowing when to pass.

Divorce advice from “Experts”. Knowing when to pass.

Divorce advice from “Experts”. Knowing when to pass. Separation and Divorce happen every day to many families. Maybe because it is a life crisis that so many people face, family and friends often think they have helpful advice for you. Sometimes that’s true, but very often it is not. Because someone has been divorced themselves, […]

Getting divorced?  “Get a proper lawyer, my friends said”.

Getting divorced? “Get a proper lawyer, my friends said”.

Getting divorced? “Get a proper lawyer, my friends said”. I’m a collaborative lawyer, and I agree that if you are going to have a lawyer in your divorce, go for proper. A proper lawyer will: • listen to you• learn from you about how you and your ex have dealt with power and conflict in […]

“Do you want to look a gift horse in the mouth, or do you want to spit right in its face?” to quote his honour.

“Do you want to look a gift horse in the mouth, or do you want to spit right in its face?” to quote his honour.

“Do you want to look a gift horse in the mouth, or do you want to spit right in its face?” to quote his honour. How would you feel if a judge in a family court said that to you? Put yourself in Anna’s shoes. Her marriage had ended, and she’d had to leave home […]

Divorce: Who owns the kids?

Divorce: Who owns the kids?

Divorce: Who owns the kids? Jean Paul Getty the third was a sixteen year old kid when he was kidnapped. His Grandpa refused to pay a ransom because he had other grand kids and didn’t want to potentially have to pay ransoms for them too. His Dad said he’d pay the ransom if his Mum gave up […]

Turning your Divorce Settlement into Dust

Turning your Divorce Settlement into Dust

Turning your Divorce Settlement into Dust “Who do you believe about what is a fair property settlement?” Henry says this was one of the hardest things he had to decide when he got divorced. He got lots of advice, as you probably have too, if you’ve been separated. Henry saw a couple of lawyers in […]

What’s after year 12 for you? Separation? You are not alone

What’s after year 12 for you? Separation? You are not alone

What’s after year 12 for you? Separation? You are not alone Maybe you’ve spent years feeling torn with indecision about your marriage? Unsure about whether to stay or go? Meet Sarah and Peter who both felt that way. They had been married for twenty six years. They had three children, and the older two had […]

Family Courts: If their decisions are inevitable why go there, if their decisions are unpredictable, why go there?

Family Courts: If their decisions are inevitable why go there, if their decisions are unpredictable, why go there?

Family Courts: If their decisions are inevitable why go there, if their decisions are unpredictable, why go there? One of the favourite hobbies of family lawyers is to discuss their court cases, and nothing makes for more excitement than when the Court ‘gets it wrong’. Unsurprisingly, one lawyer or the other often thinks that the […]

If your kids could make the rules of divorce, here’s what they’d say

If your kids could make the rules of divorce, here’s what they’d say

If your kids could make the rules of divorce, here’s what they’d say If you are separating, you and your ex will make the decisions about your children. But if your children were able to make the decisions or the rules, this is what they would like you to know: Kara Bishop, the curator of www.postcardsfromsplitsville.com, […]

Child Support: Rich House, Poor House

Child Support: Rich House, Poor House

Child Support: Rich House, Poor House Every so often I’m reminded why the child support formula is a really bad idea for some families. This week was one of those weeks, when I encountered two distressing family stories: In both of these families, the father earns very significant amounts of money. Very. In both cases the conflict […]

Should I Sack my Family Lawyer?

Should I Sack my Family Lawyer?

Since you’ve read past the headline, maybe you’d like to? Have you ever thought? Why are the lawyers making this so complicated? OMG this is costing me a fortune; My lawyer never returns my calls; I’m terrified to ring my lawyer because of the cost; My lawyers letters are full of mumbo jumbo; I’ve got no idea where this is going; This is taking forever; […]

There’s a Lot of Life After Divorce

There’s a Lot of Life After Divorce

Most people don’t want to separate and divorce, even if they want their relationship to end. Separation and everything that follows is a time most people would like to wake up and find is over. Getting through it is all you can do, but there are some helpful things to think about. Maybe the most important of those is that there’s a lot […]

Gwyneth, Chris and Good Parenting

Gwyneth, Chris and Good Parenting

Are Australian couples doing better at staying together? The answer is that we don’t really know. The number of divorces in Australia is falling,  but we know that the marriage rate is  also falling, so it follows that the raw numbers of divorces would also fall. This does not tell us very much about the […]

Rebuilding or changing career after separation.

Rebuilding or changing career after separation.

Separation and Divorce has family Consequences Separation and Divorce usually have significant financial consequences for couples and their children. There needs to be discussion about the cost of running two households, supporting children at their current standard of living, housing options and retirement planning.

De Facto Relationships and Divorce Law

De Facto Relationships and Divorce Law

Are Australian couples doing better at staying together? The answer is that we don’t really know.

The number of divorces in Australia is falling, but we know that the marriage rate is also falling, so it follows that the raw numbers of divorces would also fall.