featuring THE KAPOK TREE and SUN TZU

You know regularly I’m told by mums and dads ready to pursue each other in the Federal Circuit and Family Courts that they will do whatever is needed and fight for however long it takes to win their matter. Certainly sounds like quite a battle they’re envisaging, one that will need all their strength and most probably all their money.

And really it is a fair mindset to have when your “worser half” won’t negotiate or come to fair and reasonable agreements on matters like parenting and finances before court proceedings are contemplated. Separation and divorce often leave a trail of acrimony at the end of matrimony.
That’s hardly a good environment for reasonable negotiations or successful mediations.

Unfortunately, it’s all part of the mixed up process that the family law rule making gods have decided on – you must try mediation before you can apply to the court for orders. That pre-court mediation normally never works, people are just too hot under the collar.

So most parties front up at court rather angry with each other with demands and agendas that are self centred and partisan. Demanding applications are met with equally demanding responses from the other side. Everyone, including the lawyers, present with a tough thorny exterior that resembles the Aussie Kapok tree.

And here is my local Kapok tree and it’s about to teach all of you hard as nails new litigants a lesson on court strategy.

You see for eleven months of the year the Kapok is a rather unfriendly looking tree covered in thorns and not very compelling to the local birds. Basically, the birds ignore it and the humans just look at it with aghast. How could a tree look so unattractive…I won’t be taking a selfie or showing any interest in this thing.

However, once a year at the beginning of Spring, the Kapok does something very breathtaking for one month, it produces the most beautifully enticing vermillion coloured flowers.

It sends a signal to all and sundry that it has transformed, is approachable, and importantly ready for business. The birds love it, the crowds love it and the selfies flourish. Yes everyone is paying attention to that rather clever chameleon, the Kapok.

So how do YOU want to present at the start of your court “battle”?

One of the greatest tacticians the world has ever known, Sun Tzu,  provides interesting lessons on how to win on the battlefield. None of them involve blaming someone or being overly defensive or refusing to negotiate. Let’s take a look at a few of Mr Sun’s pearls of wisdom:

“The wise warrior avoids the battle”.

The court gives both parties opportunities to undergo court appointed mediation if you haven’t worked out an agreement out prior to court – fail here and not only is there no guarantee of a win but a real certainty of a big legal bill. Barristers and lawyers in contested hearings ain’t cheap!

“He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.”

Having a fair and reasonable approach to something like parenting will be positively noted by the court. Demanding sole parental responsibility without grounds or seeking disproportionate property splits will not.

“Who wishes to fight must first count the cost”

Emotionally, physically and financially. Enough said.

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Always have in your mind an idea of where to give ground, it helps the other party feel they are getting a win and they will usually reciprocate. Remember, you will never get everything you want.

Sun Tzu was very successful when it came to the battlefield because he rarely wasted energy on engaging in war.  In a way he was a tough thorny fella (like that Kapok tree) but he knew that the only way he would tempt anyone to deal with him would be to show a different side and offer an unexpected olive branch…or flower.


If you’re self representing and need help with your approach …or are struggling with the applications and affidavits needed for court, please let us know and we will be happy to help. 
Lawyers are expensive and often unaffordable. The Legal Eagle offers a low cost professional alternative so your can have great documents and be ready and confident for your day on the court “battlefield”.

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Written by The Legal Eagle