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What Are the Risks of DIY Vs Hiring Professional Family Lawyers?

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Many people struggle with the decision to approach family law issues by themselves or with professional family lawyers. Clients deal with many pressing concerns. These can include family violence, family dispute resolution or Family Court proceedings.

There are risks associated with both approaches. By understanding the risks, you can make an informed decision about what’s in your best interests.


What are the risks to accurate paperwork?

Understanding Legal Documents. Understanding the complexity and nuances of legal documents can be challenging. You might struggle to comprehend family law paperwork’s legal jargon and technicalities.

Accuracy and Completeness. Ensuring that all documents are filled out accurately and entirely is vital. Any errors or omissions can lead to delays, additional costs, or even the dismissal of your case. In a DIY approach, the responsibility for this accuracy falls entirely on you.

Meeting Deadlines. Legal processes have strict deadlines for submitting paperwork. Managing these deadlines yourself requires organisation and attention to detail. Missing a deadline can have severe repercussions for your case.

Drafting Legal Agreements. Drafting agreements such as custody arrangements or a property settlement is complex. A DIY approach requires you to prepare these documents yourself, which can be challenging without legal expertise.

Gathering and Organising Evidence. If your case involves presenting evidence, you must know how to gather, organise, and present it effectively. This includes understanding what is admissible and relevant in a legal context.


DIY-vs.-Professional Family Lawyers

How do emotions play into DIY family law matters?

Impaired Judgment. High emotional states, standard in family law situations like divorce or custody battles, can cloud judgment. This can lead to decisions based on feelings rather than legal merits or long-term consequences.

Difficulty in Communication. Emotions can hinder effective communication with the other party. This is crucial in family law matters, where negotiation and clear communication are often vital to reaching agreements.

Increased Stress and Anxiety. The stress of managing legal procedures and the emotional toll of the family situation can be overwhelming. This heightened stress can impair decision-making and focus, which are essential in legal matters.

Bias in Decision Making. Emotional involvement can lead to biased decisions. For instance, one might reject a fair settlement out of anger or agree to unfavourable terms out of guilt or a desire to quickly resolve the matter.

Challenges in Objectivity. Maintaining objectivity is crucial in legal matters. Emotions can make it difficult to view the situation from an unbiased perspective. This leads to decisions that might not be in one’s best interest in the long term.

Impact on Negotiation and Mediation. Emotions can negatively affect negotiation and mediation processes. Parties might become entrenched in their positions. This makes it challenging to reach mutually beneficial agreements.

Escalation of Conflict. Emotions can escalate conflicts. They can turn amicable negotiations into contentious disputes. This can prolong the legal process and make it more difficult.

Long-Term Emotional Impact. Handling complex legal issues in a highly emotional state can have long-term emotional impacts. This affects your well-being and the well-being of children and other family members.

SFL - Stress Woman

What are the implications of DIY in approaching legal procedures?

Understanding Legal Procedures. Courts operate under strict legal procedures and rules. Without a legal background, understanding and following these procedures can be challenging. This includes knowing how to file motions, present evidence, and adhere to courtroom protocol.

Preparation for Court Appearances. Representing yourself in court requires thorough preparation. You need to understand the specifics of your case, the relevant laws, and how to present your arguments effectively. This can be daunting without legal training.

Managing Documentation and Evidence. You will be responsible for organising and presenting all necessary documentation and evidence. This requires understanding what is legally admissible and how to use evidence to support your case effectively.

Navigating Legal Complexity. Family law can involve complex legal issues, especially in property division, child custody, and spousal support cases. Navigating these complexities without legal expertise can put you at a disadvantage.

Long-Term Consequences. Mistakes in handling your case can have long-term legal and financial consequences. This is particularly true in family law. Decisions can affect child custody, property rights, and financial stability.

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Professional family lawyers services

How can legal costs affect a client?

Financial Burden. Legal representation in family law matters can be expensive. The costs include lawyer fees, court fees, costs for expert witnesses, and other related expenses. This financial burden can be substantial, especially in prolonged or complex cases.

Emotional Stress. Worrying about mounting legal fees can add to the emotional stress of the family law matter itself. This stress can impact decision-making, well-being, and even the ability to participate in the legal process.

Impact on Settlement Decisions. Concerns about legal costs can influence a client’s decisions regarding settlement. A client might accept a less favourable settlement to avoid further legal expenses. Conversely, they might prolong a dispute, hoping for a better outcome that justifies the costs.

Access to Legal Services. High legal costs can limit access to quality legal representation. This might lead some individuals to opt for a DIY approach, which can be disadvantageous in complex legal matters.

Quality of Representation. The ability to afford quality legal representation can significantly impact the outcome of a case. Clients with limited resources might have to opt for less experienced lawyers or limited legal services.

Debt and Credit Implications. Sometimes, clients may need to borrow money or use credit to pay for legal services, potentially leading to debt.

Settlement vs. Litigation Decisions. The potential for high legal costs can influence the decision between settling a matter out of court or pursuing litigation. Litigation is generally more expensive and time-consuming.

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What are the consequences of mismatched expectations?

Client Dissatisfaction. A client’s expectations may not align with the realities of their legal situation. This can lead to dissatisfaction with the legal services provided. This is regardless of the lawyer’s competence or the legal outcomes achieved.

Prolonged Legal Proceedings. Clients may feel frustrated and disillusioned if they expect a quick resolution, but the case protrudes. This can also increase costs and emotional toll.

Breakdown in Lawyer-Client Relationship. Mismatched expectations can strain the lawyer-client relationship. Trust and communication may deteriorate. This can negatively impact the effectiveness of the legal representation.

Non-Compliance with Legal Advice. Clients who have mismatched expectations might be more inclined to disregard legal advice. They may believe their understanding of the situation is more accurate. This can lead to poor decisions and negative consequences in their case.

Impact on Settlement Negotiations. Clients with unrealistic expectations might reject reasonable settlement offers. They may expect more favourable outcomes if they proceed to court. This can lead to missed opportunities for amicable resolutions.

Decision-Making Challenges. Mismatched expectations can make it difficult for clients to make informed decisions. They might pursue unviable options or fail to consider the full implications of their choices.

Post-Case Dissatisfaction. After a case concludes, clients may feel a sense of dissatisfaction or regret if the outcomes do not match their initial expectations. This impacts their post-case adjustment and well-being.

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Do you need legal assistance with your family law matter?

How Shanahan Family Law can help

Let’s consider some Google reviews for our firm.

Very professional, supportive and respectful in all communications and responsibilities. I found their team very patient when challenges occurred and kept me informed at all times. Highly recommend them for personal legal requirements.

– Diana Homer

SFL Review - diana homer

I found this firm excellent to deal with. I had received some exorbitant quotes for executing what was really quite a straightforward matter in my case. Shanahans were prompt, professional and fairly priced. I’ve was very happy with their service.

– Nathan Batley

SFL Review - nathan batley

These testimonials exemplify our dedication to understanding your circumstances and individual needs. Our transparent fee structure also ensures our clients receive effective representation at a fair price. There are risks associated with family lawyers. But, firms like Shanahan Family Law provide effective solutions.

You can read this blog about why you should consider Shanahan Family Law over DIY.


There are risks to both a DIY approach and professional representation. Understanding these risks can help you assess which is best for your situation. People going it alone risk inaccurate paperwork, emotional interference and procedural mistakes. However, the costs and potential mismatched expectations can cause issues with professional representation.

A law firm with a client focused approach and transparent fee structures can ease these concerns. If this meets your needs, contact Shanahan Family Law today.

If you need help with family law matters, contact us for a free discovery call.

Are you looking for family lawyers?

Shanahan Family Law, founded in 2009, focuses on delivering positive outcomes for clients by listening, caring, and tailoring services to individual needs. Let us help you find a positive outcome.

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Luke Shanahan Family Law

Luke Shanahan


Luke Shanahan is the Principal Solicitor of Shanahan Family Law. Luke has been practising family law since 2008 and started his firm in 2014. He has three beautiful daughters and a supportive, gorgeous wife. In his spare time, Luke enjoys playing tennis and trips to the beach with family and friends. 

Luke is dedicated to providing the best possible legal representation for his clients. His experience and passion for family law set him apart from other solicitors. You only have to read their 5-star reviews to understand that.

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