As a highly educated Iranian migrant woman, Maryam Khazaeli’s life is all about balancing her…
Even if you don’t follow Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle empire GOOP, you have likely heard of conscious uncoupling.
It is the concept of finding ‘wholeness in separation’—a way of seeing divorce as a process to be learned from and leaned into, rather than a battle to be won.
For some, the idea of conscious uncoupling belongs to the realm of celebrities, with the reality of modern divorce conjuring up visions of protracted legal battles, mounting legal costs and bitter arguments. However, for those seeking a more cooperative, timely and efficient process, one Canberra law firm might just have the answer: “Settle by Sunday”.
The concept is simple—a separated couple base themselves at the same hotel for a full weekend along with the people they need to negotiate their divorce settlement. The help they need may be as simple as a single mediator, lawyers to represent each party, or special interest experts—depending on the issues that need to be discussed.
The goal of the weekend is to ‘settle by Sunday’, thus avoiding the negative effects of a drawn-out, adversarial and potentially acrimonious process.
“Settle by Sunday is an innovative new settlement option for clients who are looking for a faster way of resolving their family law dispute so that they can move on with their lives,” explains Kasey Fox, Director at Farrar Gesini Dunn, the family, estates law and accounting firm behind Settle by Sunday.
“On average, only 5% of the matters filed in court actually end up going to a final hearing before a judge, and those that do can spend years in the Court system,” explains Kasey.
By the time these couples eventually settle out of court, they’ve already incurred the significant wait times and legal costs that come with filing matters at court.
“Many people who think they won’t be able to reach an agreement with their ex, but with the right expert help, many people can successfully avoid the court system and resolve their matter quickly,” says Kasey. This is where Settle by Sunday comes in.
A unique offering across Canberra (and Australia), Settle by Sunday aims to give clients all the tools they need to negotiate a settlement within a timeframe that won’t have a huge impact on their lives.
The program for each client’s Settle by Sunday weekend is tailored to their individual needs. They choose the location (whether that is a luxury hotel escape, or another neutral location), and can also opt to involve Farrar Gesini Dunn’s estates, business and family law specialists.
Kasey explains that the immediacy of a solution is very attractive to a lot of their clients; and for those needing to discuss complex settlements relating to custody arrangements and shared business interests, having access to relevant experts across an entire weekend is invaluable.
For some, the opportunity cost to their business or the direct cost of child care to attend meetings with lawyers and court appearances during the work-week is significant. For others, a long and drawn out divorce just isn’t an option and many clients are concerned about the impact the process will have on their children and family.
Amy McGinn is a Child and Family Specialist at Farrar Gesini Dunn and works with divorcing couples to negotiate parenting agreements. She is one of the experts that clients can request at their Settle by Sunday weekend, or consult with beforehand as part of their package.
“Even if communication is bad…parties have the support of mediators and experts,” Amy explains. “Our clients can have access to all those people, all weekend.”
While Kasey concedes that Settle by Sunday might not suit everyone, she says the concept has already generated a huge amount of interest from both their client base and the broader Canberra community.
“For some people, unfortunately Court is unavoidable for a range of reasons. However, given the delay and cost of going to Court, or even of drawn-out negotiations between lawyers, something fast that allows people to move on with their lives is a great option for many people who want to move on with their lives”
In light of this, Settle by Sunday’s ‘negotiation on steroids’ process is what Kasey feels clients need as an alternative.
Kasey says that if the couple are open to compromise and working as a team, then they can fast-track the process by choosing Settle by Sunday. As Farrar Gesini Dunn puts it, ‘your happily ever after starts next week’.
If you are interested in participating, Farrar Gesini Dunn offers a free consultation and quote. Call them on (02) 6115 9000 and ask to speak to Kasey or a member of her team about Settle by Sunday.
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