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What my clients have taught me

Tanya Lavan discusses her experiences working in family law and some valuable lessons learnt from her clients

People often ask me why I chose to work in family law. The most common comments would be “oh that would be so emotional”, “how do you sleep at night”, “you just see the absolute worst of people” and “I bet you never want to get married and have a family”. While it can be true that it’s hard work, emotional, and you can be exposed to some terrible things. I’m never exposed to the level of suffering that my clients are and I’m so inspired by how some of them, not all of them, but how my clients navigate the process of separation with so much dignity. I’ve learnt so much from them and they inspire me. Here are a few things I’ve learnt from them, and I’ve been authorised to share:

  1. That a parents love can have no bounds. This is not ever gender specific. Parents that fight for their children and what is best for them despite adversity, no funds, being cut off financially, violence and feeling completely depleted. They inspire me.
  2. That you can behave in a dignified manner no matter what is thrown your way. I’ve had clients who’s former partners have broken into their homes, stolen underwear and other personal items, gone through their diaries and more but they do not lower themselves to that level. They don’t engage in petty arguments and they focus on the end goals. They are inspiring.
  3. That you can lose the battle to win the war. Clients that find out what their rights are, pursue those and then settle by agreement, in essence doing a deal to reach a commercially sensible decision and avoid prolonged emotional and financially draining litigation.
  4. That you don’t have to litigate. Choosing a collaborative process where you are both supported and can both focus on your goals, your children and resolve fears provides the opportunity for better outcomes.
  5. That your children’s best interests are more important than your emotions. Clients that have suffered family violence and still promote a relationship between the perpetrator (other parent) and their children show such strength of character and commitment to their children.
  6. They get up and keep going. Clients that have been treated terribly and left in terrible situations. They continue to provide instructions, they review their material, they insure that what they are instructing is the truth and that everything they do is in accordance with the law. They continue to advocate for their rights until it’s finished and they blossom.

If any of my clients read this I hope they resonate with this blog and feel a sense of pride in how they conduct themselves.

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