Legal Referral Services
Smart Separation is ultimately a two-part event. Firstly, you will receive the right advice to get through your separation and secondly, you will gain access to our vast network of supporting services. All of the professionals working in these areas, and to whom you might be referred by Smart Separation, are known personally to us, and are respected for their skills, integrity and understanding about separation and divorce.
In my book, this is the gold standard for couples and their children who are faced with separation. It’s where you get separate and independent legal advice, a legal settlement, emotional support, conflict management, integrated financial planning advice, and where a wise child expert will help bring your child’s voice to your parenting plan. It’s where your whole family system is taken into account, and where your whole family is the client of your collaborative team.
While mediation is a term that is used widely as code for “staying out of court”, it pays to understand that there are different types of mediation, and they vary in quality and cost. Your experience is likely to be very different, depending on the background of your mediator. Sometimes people have their lawyer with them, and sometimes not. Some mediations include parenting issues and some include the children themselves; others do not. It is important to understand that type of mediation you are potentially going into, and the style of the mediator.
Despite my professional advice being to stay away from the court system if at all possible, there are times when you simply need to go to court, for urgency, safety, where your partner is unco-operative, or where you need the powers of the court to obtain financial information. In those cases, “shopping around” for lawyers who will not charge out of proportion to your needs, and will provide you with personal and expert service, is daunting and difficult. A referral to a trusted advisor makes so much sense.
Companies, businesses and individuals can need commercial legal advice at times. Sometimes that need arises in connection with separation and divorce, especially when spouses have business partners, co-directors or shareholders to consider when valuing or dividing up matrimonial assets. Creating the right relationship between your commercial lawyer and family lawyer is invaluable. Early, expert legal advice on the commercial law aspects of separation, devolving or protecting entities, shareholdings, structures and tax positions is wise.
It is rare for a separating couple who are in business together to continue that way, and there will commonly be a need to transfer shares or companies. It is also common for one or other of the spouses to be involved in a company or business without the other, and that person usually remains in control of that asset. For a property settlement to be fair, and to comply with the Family Law Act requirements, businesses need to be valued. Business valuations are highly technical, and can only be done by qualified professionals. Your best protection is to obtain a valuation from a valuer who is expert in family law.