Who are the Best Family Lawyers Sydney?
If you type this question into google, you will likely find thousands of competing firms all arguing the same thing – We are the best family lawyers Sydney.
All will make the same promises of unparalleled legal representation and expert advice at affordable rates which cannot be matched by the competition.
Guardian Family Law is no different.
With confidence, we provide the same guarantee that we are the best family law firm in Sydney.
However, unlike others, we support our claims with reference to our consistent results and the satisfication of our clients.
We do not measure our success on the volume of clients that we have at any given time, or the amount of billable hours generated each month.
Rather, our success is measured in the positive outcomes that we are able to achieve on behalf of our clients.
We further invite you to put us to the test. Call today for a no-strings-attached free consultation. Unlike larger firms, you will never face any hidden costs or misleading promises with Guardian Family Law.
This is what makes Guardian Family Law the Best Family Lawyers Sydney.
But don’t just take our word for it.
We are so confident of our ability to provide you with expert family law advice and representation, we are happy to share the secrets that other law firms do not want you to know.
Here, we explain how your choice between different family law firms can result in very different outcomes throughout the family law court process.
In deciding who gets what in a divorce in Australia, the Court adopts a commonly followed 4-step litigation process which may be simplified as follows:
- Calculating the net asset pool (add the value of each parties’ property, assets, savings, and superannuation and reduce this amount by each parties’ joint and sole liabilities).
- Determination of each parties’ contributions (financial, non-financial, and homemaker contributions);
- Assess whether either party has greater future needs than the other (due to health, age, reduced earning capacity, parenting responsibilities, etc); and
- Finally determine whether the proposed division of assets is just and equitable in all of the circumstances.
Where do Disputes Arise – Calculation of Assets
With reference to the 4-step process, the question of what makes the Best Family Lawyers Sydney may appear to be deceptively simple.
While this may often be correct, you should assume that disputes between yourself and your former partner will arise throughout the litigation process.
The first area where disputes may emerge will be in relation to the valuation of assets.
Generally, each party will enter into negotiations or settlement discussions with the intention to maximise their individual financial outcome to the detriment of their former partner.
Accordingly, each party may be motivated to seek that their personal assets be attributed with a value that is less than its genuine market value. Conversely, the parties will further seek that their individual liabilities (or the liabilities that they will assume post-settlement) are attributed with a higher value.
As a hypothetical, assume the following factual circumstances:
- You and your former partner are seeking to divide your matrimonial pool of assets.
- The matrimonial pool of assets only consists of two specific items of property, being a residential home valued at $800,000 with a mortgage of $300,000 and a motor vehicle valued at $20,000 which is not encumbered by any loan or finance.
- The net position of the parties is $520,000, calculated as $800,000 – $300,000 + $20,000).
- The parties agree to an equal division of the assets, meaning that both parties will receive $260,000 worth of assets.
- The parties may agree to sell the property and retain net proceeds of sale of approximately $500,000.
- One party will retain the motor vehicle, meaning that the party who retains the vehicle will reduce their entitlement to the net proceeds of property sale by $10,000 (half of the value of the car).
- That party will receive the motor vehicle ($20,000) and $240,000 of the net proceeds of sale for a total of $260,000.
- The first party will receive $260,000 of the net proceeds of sale of the property, being the sum equivalent to 50% of the sale + $10,000 (half the value of the motor vehicle retained by the other party).
However, using the same factual circumstances, assume that you will be reatining the motor vehicle ($20,000) and your former partner decides that they do not want to sell the property and instead seeks to retain it after settlement. They will therefore be responsible for purchasing your 50% share ($250,000). Since you are retaining the vehicle, the amount that your partner will pay to you is reduced by $10,000 and becomes $240,000.
This amount is increased by the further sum that your former partner will be required to borrow to attend to the balance of the mortgage of $300,000.
Your former partner will therefore be required to seek finance of $540,000 so that they may retain the matrimonial property which has a value of $800,000 (equating to them retaining $260,000 in equity and equivalent to 50% of the net matrimonial pool of assets.
You will retain $240,000 in cash and a motor vehicle valued at $20,000, providing a total of $260,000.
Your former partner will retain property worth $800,000 less the payment of $240,000 to you and the $300,000 mortgage, providing a total of $260,000.
Further assume that your partner seeks to improve their post-settlement financial position by relying upon alternative calculations for the value of assets and liabilities.
Assume that they ask for the assistance of a personal friend who works as a property valuer and provides a valuation of the property at $600,000 rather than $800,000. Although the value has been reduced, the mortgage remains the same at $300,000. The property no longer has equity of $500,000 and now has equity of $300,000 ($600,000 – $300,000). Your 50% interest in this property has just dropped from $250,000 to $150,000 as a result of an unfavourable valuation.
Further assume that your former partner has another friend who prepares motor vehicle valuations, and this person provides a valuation of the motor vehicle as $50,000 rather than $20,000. You will still retain the motor vehicle, requiring you to reduce your cash payment by $25,000 rather than $10,000.
The net position is now $350,000, as calculated as the $300,000 in equity in the property + the $50,000 value of the motor vehicle.
Each party will therefore retain $175,000 of assets. You will be keeping the motor vehicle which is now valued at $50,000 and therefore will only receive an additional cash payment of $125,000.
You walk away with $125,000 in cash and a motor vehicle worth $50,000 = $175,000 total.
Your partner walks away with a property worth $600,000 but a mortgage of $300,000 and a liability to you of $125,000 ($600,000 – $300,000 – $125,000 = $175,000 total.
In the eyes of the Court, an equal division of assets has been effected and everyone walks away happy.
In reality, this is not the cash. Your partner has manipulated the value of matrimonial assets and liabilities for their personal gain.
Your partner is no longer required to obtain finance of $540,000 as was required in the first scenario. Instead, they are required to obtain finance of $425,000, being the sum required to discharge the $300,000 mortage and the sum required to pay you $125,000. They are $115,000 better off than in the first scenario.
Further, you will no longer be receiving a cash payment of $240,000 and instead will only be receiving $125,000. You are $115,000 worse off than in the first scenario.
In seeking to answer the question of what is the best Family Law Firm in Sydney, we rely upon the above scenario in support of the importance of retaining competent and diligent family lawyer to assist you with your matter.
In applying identical factual circumstances, we have two very different outcomes.
And this is just one step of the 4-step process. Each of the steps identified above have the potential to be misrepresented to the Court, and ultimately compromise your matter.
So you are probably asking how do you ensure that the final outcome is fair and you are not being ripped off by your former partner’s creative accounting work or dodgy misrepresentations to the Court.
The answer is relatively simple: Contact Guardian Family Law, the Best Family Lawyers Sydney and follow our step-by-step guide:
Step 1 – Get a Lawyer (a real one)
This step sounds simple, but in reality it is not.
You will need a lawyer to assist you in ensuring that you are receiving all of your entitlements.
Family law/Divorce law is very complicated.
You will need a family lawyer.
You should not seek advice from your father’s cousin’s son who is has gone through their own family law process.
Similarly, you should not seek advice from a solicitor or firm who do not specialise in family law. If your firm is able to handle your divorce, draft your Will, sell your business, and fight your dry-cleaning bill, it is probably a good sign that its time to run away.
Gone are the days where lawyers are able to dabble in Family Law.
Family Law is a specialised area of law with far-reaching and longterm consequences for parties.
You will need to instruct a solicitor who has significant knowledge and experience in Family Law.
Step 2 – Get a Lawyer (Yes, a real one!)
This step sounds familiar. Again, it may seem simple, and again, it is not.
Litigants subject to family law proceedings will rarely have the opportunity to glance behind the scenes of how legal advice and representation is provided.
We often assume that the more money we throw at an issue, the more likely we are to achieve a favourable outcome.
We further often assume that the size of an organisation is reflective of the services and value that it is able to provide.
While these assumptions are often true. They are just as often not.
You have the option of seeking representation from the Managing Partner of Australia’s largest mulitnational law firm who boast of of having in excess of 100,000 distinct client’s each year.
In reality, you will likely become another number within the firm. Legal correspondence and court documents will be drafted by a collection of paralegals and junior solicitors (likely at the hourly rate of a Managing Partner). These paralegals and solicitors are not personally responsible for the outcome of your matter and are just looking to keep the matter moving forward so that they can jump onto the next matter.
If you are lucky, the Managing Partner will review your documents before they are filed with the Court.
If you are unlucky, the Managing Partner will ask for a debrief of the material moments before they enter the Court room to advocate on your behalf.
Although it seems pessimistic, in reality the more expensive practitioners at larger firms just do not have the capacity to deal with hundreds of separate matters, particularly matters where the asset pool is not in the seven-figure range.
If any further proof were needed, you could always pick up the phone and call your solicitor. If you are required to schedule an appointment weeks in advance, or otherwise passed around from paralegal to paralegal or junior solicitor to junior solicitor, the value of your matter has likely been reduced to a manila folder stored amongst a sea of other dusty manila folders.
This is where mistakes are made.
An unfavourable valuation of your property is less likely to be challenged where there is insufficient attention being provided to your matter.
So too where your former partner seeks to rely upon a dodgy motor vehicle valuation. Or where they produce a previously undisclosed loan agreement between themselves and an immediate family member. Alternatively, they may seek to expend savings and increase liabilities prior to the resolution of your matter. All of these issues require the assistance of a diligent and vigilant family lawyer, who will not simply aim to dispose of your matter as quickly as possible and with a complete disregard to your total entitlements.
This is what makes Guardian Family Law the Best Family Lawyers Sydney.
We have the knowledge, experience, and expertise to ensure that your best interests are always being represented.
We further have the time and motivation to push for your best possible settlement outcome.
If your former partner has an intention to litigate aggressively, you cannot tolerate legal representation which lacks the capacity or willingness to represent you in an equally aggressive manner.
Best Family Lawyers Sydney – 5 secrets that other Firms don’t want you to know:
Chosing between a number of different firms all claiming to be the best family lawyers Sydney can be very complicated.
In support of our claim that Guardian Family Law is the best family law firm in Sydney, we provide our top 5 hidden secrets that the other firms don’t want you to know:
1. Your choice of law firm and legal representative matters.
This will be the individual responsible for the day-to-day management of your matter. They will further be responsible for negotiating a financial settlement that is intended to support you and your family for the foreseeable future, or otherwise assist you in reaching an appropriate care arrangement between you and your children.
It is not appropriate to simply instruct the first solicitor that you have found on google. Nor should you seek to instruct a firm just because they are the most expensive family law firm in Sydney. You should seek to contact your prospective lawyer and communicate with them directly to see if you feel as though you can trust this person to act in your best interests.
2. All lawyers will make the same promises
Don’t be fooled by outlandish promises or guarantees that aim to hook you in, with no possibility of achieving the outcome promised. Rather, you should place your trust in a legal representative who provides you with frank and honest advice.
3. Don’t assume that smaller firms are incapable of achieving the same results as larger firms
This is likely the most important piece of advice to be followed. While size and pricing may be reflective of the skill and expertise being offered. In reality, there is a good chance that you will be paying excessive amounts in legal fees simply due to the greater overheads and day-to-day costs required to manage a larger firm.
All of the top family law firms in Sydney are incredibly expensive to operate. Salaries, insurance, equipment, advertising and marketing costs, and all other related expenses come at a significant cost. It is not possible for the top law firms in Sydney to attend to these costs unless they are generating large amounts of profit each year.
While an investment in advertisement and marketing is assumed to generate a larger volume of work, resulting in higher levels of revenue for the firm – in reality, this is rarely the case. Advertising and marketing costs are met by increasing the revenue received from individual files. Meaning that the fees that you would otherwise be expected to pay for your legal representation is supplemented with the costs associated to run the firm, as well as the costs required to invest in processes to obtain new clients.
Simply, you may have been captivated by an expensive and deceptive marketing campaign and will contribute your money to further spreading that very same marketing campaign.
4. Individual matters rarely require a team of lawyers
This secret sounds misleading, however from our experience it is generally true. That is, the progress of an individual matter should be progressed by an individual solicitor. While it may be necessary to have the assistance of supporting staff from time-to-time, generally a larger team will merely result in higher costs and a poorer quality of service. Where numerous solicitors are completing work in a single file, there is no particular solicitor who is responsible for the matter.
Further, you rely upon a group of solicitors who each retain part of the information and knowledge relevant to your matter, rather than one single solicitor who has comprehensive knowledge of the entirety of your matter.
In relation to family law legal representation, less is often better than more.
5. The Importance of Loyalty
Like you, your matter is more than just a number. The importance and progress of your matter should not depend upon the amount of billable hours that your file can generate for the firm.
Competent and confident legal representation depends wholly upon a mutual sense of loyalty between a litigant and their solicitor. A breakdown of loyalty will inevitably occur where inferior services are provided, or where there is distrust towards the moitivations and agenda of the firm. Successful outcomes require great levels of trust and loyalty between you, the client, and your legal representative.
Conclusion – Who are the Best Family Lawyers Sydney
We return to the question asked at the beginning of this article – what is the best family law firm in Sydney?
And we again return to the same conclusion. The best family law firm in Sydney is the firm that treats you more than just as a number and more than just as a source of revenue for the firm.
A mutual sense of trust and desire to advance your individual interests should be shared between the client and solicitor alike.
Guardian Family Law prides itself on providing a level of care and support with unparalleled expertise and knowledge.
Call us today and find out why Guardian Family Law is the best family law firm in Sydney.