Complex cases require special handling.  Complex cases should be addressed in a proper and timely fashion. Special considerations apply in relation to cases involving large or complex asset structures and it is important that you consult a family lawyer experienced in handling these cases. It is easy for an inexperienced lawyer to find themselves out of their comfort zone or depth when handling a complex case. You can easily spend a small fortune on your family lawyer without any return on your investment if that lawyer does not have the experience to handle the work that attends upon complex cases.

What is a complex case?

A complex case is a term loosely used to describe family law cases that are not routine or have a factor that sets them apart.  Complexity is in the eye of the beholder.

A routine case may otherwise be made complex by the conduct of one of the parties to the dispute.  One of the parties may have mental health issues or may be acting in a very intimidating aggressive or non-conciliatory manner.

Therefore one of the factors that makes a case complex is the nature of the conduct of the parties to the case.  The other factors that can make a case complex go to the inherent nature of the case.

In relation to children’s issues, cases that may be deemed complex are relocation cases.

Relocation cases are generally regarded as the more complex cases to resolve about children.  In deciding a relocation case the Family Courts have to look at many factors to evaluate the competing proposals of the parties and to determine what is in the best interests of the children.  Relocation cases are complex by virtue of the fact that both parties have polarised positions and there may be no ‘middle ground’.

In financial proceedings, complex cases will generally involve large asset pools, multiple entities such as trusts and companies, businesses, numerous individual assets or third parties.  The range of factors that may make a case complex are far too numerous to set out in their entirety here.

It is highly likely that a complex cases will require the involvement of other experts and advisers such as health professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, accountants, tax professionals, financial planners, valuers, forensic accountants and other advisors to resolve the matter in a timely fashion.

A psychologists may be required to report on the mental health of a party, their capacity to engage in gainful employment or care for the children.

Family court settlements often involve the transfer or settling of numerous interests in relation to assets and liabilities. This in turn can have important consequences from an income or capital gains tax point of view especially where companies and trusts involved.

The value of a business may be in dispute or a party may be taking steps to reduce the value of the business.  A party may be taking steps to remove assets from the jurisdiction to remove funds from a bank account or take other potentially harmful actions.

A forensic accountant may need to be engaged to trace missing assets or income.

If you answer positively to the following questions then your case may by complex and you are recommended to obtain an advice from an experienced family lawyer without delay:

  1. Does your case involve a relocation?
  2. Does your case involve trusts?
  3. Does your case involved a business?
  4. Does your case involved a company
  5. Does your case involved a self-managed superannuation fund?
  6. Does your case involve more than one or two parcels of real estate?
  7. Does your case involve a party with mental health issues?
  8. Does your case involve a party who is being aggressive or difficult?
  9. Does your case involve a high-profile personality?
  10. Does your case involve a business that has been newly acquired or establish?
  11. Does your case involve very young children?
  12. Does your case involve domestic violence?
  13. Does your case involve a matter that you find worrying or troubling?

If you case is complex, then it is paramount that you immediately obtain advice from an experienced family lawyer.  You should ask that family lawyer what level of experience that they have had in dealing with the issues that make your case complex.  You should ask the family lawyer to advise you about what strategies should be used in your particular case address those particular concerns of complexity.

The director of Beacon Family Law has consulted, advised and acted for parties in relation to complex matters, including but not limited to matters in the tens and hundreds of millions.

Beacon Family Law has a niche for representing parties in relation to complex cases.