A word to the wise

With a new born in our arms, we purchased our first house in 1994. It was a run-down federation style 3 bedroom brick house with a garage and a large back yard not too far from Manly in Sydney. We paid a little over $320,000. Many, including my father, said we were crazy. We worked hard to pay the mortgage and renovate and we brought another child into the world.

In 1996 we went to an auction in the city and made the highest bid on another federation style house, this time in Cremorne. We paid just over $600,000 and had to run from the auction to the bank and plead with them not to bounce the deposit cheque we had just written. 

The first house sold at a tidy profit and we found ourselves in Cremorne just as a boundary change occurred that instantly delivered us to Mosman. We were very quick to have the address on our driver’s licences updated and we ceased speaking with the neighbours across the road because they still lived in Cremorne. Again, this was a house that needed serious remediation, this we undertook in various stages and we produced child number three. 

The children attended various schools over the years including North Sydney Girls and Sydney Grammar. They swam, played soccer, rugby, netball and basketball. They debated, rowed, skied and they “Europed”.

And then, after eighteen years, the marriage exploded. Assets were sold and large sums of money were spent on legal advisers and experts. We went all the way to hearing. It’s been eight years since we separated and three since the judgement. I occasionally mourn for the life that was, but carry no animosity - we produced three beautiful children and I truly wish love and mercy upon all.

Many in the legal profession are disparaging of those who work in family law and would prefer to defend tobacco companies, bent politicians and international tax avoiders. Family law is no less complex than any other area of law and usually comes into people’s lives when they are at their most fragile. They were not long retained, however, the first legal letter sent on behalf of my former wife, was so replete with angst and combative language, that it established a tone that resonated throughout the proceedings. The cause is better served by following Theodore Roosevelt's approach to foreign policy; “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Winston Churchill wrote that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others. Just as some may observe that modern democracy is not all that it could be, Australia's family law system could doubtless be improved, however, no feasible alternative has emerged. The reality is, that from the commencement of negotiations, much of your existence will be compressed onto a balance sheet.

It is said that an upswing in separation and divorce is a likely consequence of the present quarantine. My advice is that now is not the time to bring things to a head. However, in contemplation of divorce or separation, there are certainly some measures to be quietly undertaken that are usually of benefit at a later date.

I am now in my mid-fifties and cannot do much about it. I operate very efficiently from a home office at Cremorne Point and represent, usually through referral, clients in the Eastern Suburbs and Lower North Shore.

Circumstances allow me to be discerning about client selection and to offer flexible rates and payment terms. Initial consultations are gratis. If there is an inevitability about your relationship’s demise, or you would simply like to understand more about the family law, your rights and the rights of children, you are very welcome to make contact.

Sean James Kelly

0412 184 198

Unit 3/ 25 Kareela Road Cremorne Point NSW 2090

P.0. Box 31 Cremorne Junction NSW 2090