Questions to ask when a relationship breaks down
A NEW Facebook Live program, The Family Matters Show, allows members of the Coffs Harbour community and beyond to ask questions about divorce and separation confidentially and have them answered free by family law experts.
This innovative initiative is the brainchild of regional family law practice, Bryant McKinnon Lawyers. The two partners, Heather McKinnon and Benjamin Bryant, have collectively been practicing for over 40 years and recognised a need for some expert advice before people are ready to commit to a divorce lawyer.
"There are many sleepless nights for people considering separation," says Heather.
"A lot of questions go through their heads well before they ever come to a lawyer. They worry about children, they worry about who stays in the house, and of course who pays the bills."
The Facebook Live platform provided a perfect way for these legal experts to reach out and provide assistance and assurance in an unthreatening way.
"After 35 years of practice, I'm still floored when I see people in reception, shaking the first time they come in to the office," adds Heather.
"This show is a much less threatening way for people to start to gather information, before they take that scary step of seeing a lawyer."
Launched in August, the Family Matters Show goes live on Facebook the first Tuesday of each month, with questions requested from the public in advance.
Each program is subsequently posted to the Bryant McKinnon website and Facebook page so people can watch at their convenience or review multiple times.
It's early days but Benjamin Bryant is excited by the response so far with the live shows averaging 100 viewers online and the video playback viewed by an average of 1200 people.
"Obviously there is a need out there," says Benjamin. "We are receiving more questions than we can answer in each show. It's great to see people sharing the information on the issues we tackle. The more understanding about the legal process, the better."
Benjamin warns the show is about education and is not a substitute for specific legal advice.
"There's no usual course of events in separation as no family or circumstances are the same. So when you are ready it's always best to seek independent legal advice specific to you and your family situation."
Questions regarding separation, divorce, child custody and property settlement will be considered.
Some questions answered by the Family Matters Show so far include:-
- Who gets to keep the dog?
- If I leave the house do I have the right to return home?
- Can I divorce my spouse if I don't know their current address?
- Am I able to obtain passports for my children without my ex's consent?
- What comes first during the separation process: property settlement, children's custody or both together?
- What am I entitled to with the recent rise in the property market values?
- What if there is a delay in the sale of property and my name is still on the mortgage?