“… why is it taking so long
to sort this out?”
Every family lawyer has heard this at one stage from a frustrated and annoyed client. Often the family lawyer is just as frustrated and annoyed. When a client asks me how long it will take to resolve their issue, I sometime hear myself saying “how long is a piece of string?”. I understand that this is not particularly helpful, however, I go on to explain that each case is unique and I walk the client through the number of factors that may cause delay in the resolution of a family matter.
Here are some of the reasons for delay:
Complexity of your family matter can be a major reason for the delay. Let me break that down for you. A and B have no assets, no children, both are financially self-support…. a simple Divorce. I call this easy-peasy. A and B, have children, property to divide, A doesn’t want B to spend time with the children, A stayed home and look after the children and A wants to give hard time to B, you certainly know where this is going. Another example, A and B have a business, A has partnership in two another business, B has property in Vegas, A has property in Hawaii, A has time share, B has pre-martial property and they were together for 35 years with 4 children, its like solving a Rubik Cube Puzzle…right?
Delays in the Family Court is one reason why I recommend mediation and collaborative practice to my clients. Court houses are busy and over-crowded, Alberta has the fewest Queen’s Bench judges per capita of any province or territory in Canada.
The other side, this is another thing which a family lawyer can’t control. If the other party/lawyer is slow to respond, then this is going to cause delay.
Is it me or my lawyer? I have clients who would not communicate for months, and then call / email and say “I want you to do this asap”!! You know that it is not going to happen right away. I usually give home-work to my clients and if you have not done your home-work, then you should not expect your family lawyer to proceed. For example, the completion of Parenting After Separation, is must have before filing the Family Application. If you have not done so, then do not expect your Family Lawyer to file the Application, because he/she can’t do that. I should honestly admit that we all experience unexpected events in the life which get us behind too. If you are communicating with your Family Lawyer, then always ensure to say/write that “is there anything else you need from me?”
It is always prudent to have an open conversation with your Family Lawyer to find out the exact reason behind the delays in your matter.