Frequently Asked Questions
At Smart Separation, we understand that many questions will arise as you go through your separation. Take a look at some common questions our past clients have asked. You can view the answers to these in both text and video format.
1. What will I get from seeing you?
You will walk away feeling clear and confident about your next steps. Your burning questions will be answered. You will have a road map which sets out what you need to do, who you need to see, what conversations you need to have with your spouse, and how to have a more peaceful, respectful and less costly divorce.
2. Can I bring my partner to the meeting?
A thousand times ‘Yes’! We strongly encourage couples to consult with us together, to hear the same information and to start to build co-operation for the tasks ahead, especially if that includes being parents in two households. There is everything to gain and nothing to lose from starting out the way you need to finish; that is, finding the common ground to divorce well.
3. Will you tell me what I need to do?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might just want someone else to take charge for a bit. We can do that at Smart Separation by helping you make a plan, but you’ll always be the decision-maker. Our aim is to help you reach the point where you are well enough informed and supported to make decisions without the feelings of chaos, anger or fear that you might be going through right now.
4. Can you give me legal advice?
Definitely. That’s our job. Our legal advice always comes with sides of pragmatism, an eye on what’s worth the fight and why you’d fight, plus every tip in the book for how to avoid a fight. The law often doesn’t have the answers, and we think there are smarter ways to separate than to put legal advice front and centre. Our colleagues in the counselling and financial planning world would agree, and we can help you to team with them.
5. Can you confirm if I am on the right track?
Sometimes we make assumptions or listen to well-meaning friends and family, and later find we need to go back to square 1. It’s helpful to have fresh thinking, an objective, experienced overview of your situation, and that’s part of what we can deliver at Smart Separation. If you are on the right track, we’re very happy to tell you so. Adding complications or over-servicing are not our game.
6. What is child support?
Child support has a reputation as a payment that’s made ‘to her’ or ‘to him’. It can cause bitterness on both sides. At Smart Separation, we are clear about helping families look at child support as being for children. We take the heat out of this conversation, help you avoid formulas and focus on a financial planning approach to making sure your kids’ expenses are me. We take the ‘him’ and ‘her’ out of child support and substitute ‘children’.
7. Can we work together after our meeting?
Smart Separation prides itself on objective advice, and on high-quality referrals to the best professionals for the job that’s needed. To maintain our objectivity and integrity, we do not conduct ongoing negotiation work for our clients. We invite our clients to return for a ‘divorce health check’ or a sounding-board meeting as time goes on though.
8. What's your background?
I’m a 30 years plus (former) litigation lawyer who saw the light. I’m an Accredited Specialist Family Lawyer, a consensus builder, Mediator, Collaborative Practitioner, a national and international teacher and presenter on collaborative practice and mediation, and an author of numerous articles and a book, Breaking Up With Down Preserving – My mission is to show that lawyers can indeed be strong lawyers and also peacemakers.