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Shanahan Family Law Vs DIY Legal Services: Which Is the Best Legal Path to Choose?

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Many people attempt to navigate family law themselves. They may find the potential cost savings is a deciding factor. Some also don’t trust professional family lawyers to understand their circumstances fully. However, they often don’t appreciate the actual costs when navigating family law independently.

Let’s see how the DIY method stacks up against using a highly experienced legal resource like Shanahan Family Law.

Shanahan Family Law Vs DIY (Do It Yourself)



Handling legal matters without professional legal assistance.

Shanahan Family Law

Professional family law firm with over ten years of experience.



Court fees, filing fees and other processing costs

Shanahan Family Law

Additional service fee on top of routine processing fees.



Personal research into legal processes.

Shanahan Family Law

10+ years of professional practice in all aspects of family law.



Incorrect filing, representing the case poorly, and taking the case too personally.

Shanahan Family Law

Inability to meet fees, not taking the case seriously.

showing the symbol of fairness in law (1)



The DIY approach to family law involves handling legal matters like divorce or custody without hiring a professional lawyer. Individuals represent themselves, preparing and filing all legal documents. This method requires personal research and an understanding of legal procedures. It’s often chosen to save costs and maintain control over the process. However, it lacks professional legal guidance and can be risky in complex cases.

Shanahan Family Law

By using Shanahan Family Law, you receive guidance from experienced family lawyers. This ensures expert handling of divorce, separation, child custody, property settlements, and court appearances. They offer personalised legal solutions, considering the unique needs of your family situation. These solutions hinge on practical advice on complex matters, including parenting arrangements and consent orders, ensuring legal compliance and effectiveness. While professional representation involves fees, Shanahan Family Law emphasises cost-effective solutions tailored to your financial position.

If you require assistance resolving your family law matters, contact Shanahan Family Law for free initial discovery call


While you may be able to save on certain costs, the DIY method still has expenses. As of 1 July 2023, the relevant fees are as follows:

  • Divorce application: $1060
  • Applications for parenting and property consent orders: $195
  • Initiating Application (Parenting OR Financial, Final only): $410
  • Initiating Application (Parenting OR Financial, Final AND Interim): $550
  • Initiating application (Parenting AND Financial, Final only): $670
  • Initiating Application (Parenting AND Financial, Final AND Interim): $810
  • Interim order application/Application in a case (Parenting AND/OR Financial): $140

When working with an experienced family law firm like Shanahan Family Law, you will incur legal costs on top of the court fees. Assistance with divorce and consent order applications attracts a flat rate plus the filing fee. Additional fees will be payable if negotiations and court attendance are required. The amount will vary depending on the complexity of the negotiations.

In a best-case scenario, the DIY approach will be cheaper.

Overall winner: DIY

Wooden DIY sign with tools


There are several reasons why a party may find a DIY option preferable when handling a family law issue.

  1. Simple Cases. The DIY approach can be efficient and effective without legal representation for straightforward cases with clear-cut issues and mutual agreement between parties.
  2. Personal Empowerment. Taking charge of your legal matters can be empowering, giving you a deeper understanding of your rights and the legal process.
  3. Direct Control. Handling your case lets you have direct control over every aspect of the proceedings, ensuring that your personal preferences and priorities are addressed directly.
  4. Learning Experience. Researching and managing your case can be a valuable learning experience, providing insights into the legal system that might be beneficial in the future.
  5. Flexibility. You can work on your case on your schedule, which can be beneficial if you have other commitments or time constraints.

Despite this, professional legal representation by a firm like Shanahan Family Law offers many advantages over DIY.

  1. Professional Legal Knowledge. Lawyers have specialised training and experience in family law, ensuring expert navigation of complex legal issues.
  2. Objective Advice. Lawyers provide an objective perspective, crucial in emotionally charged family law cases, helping to make rational, legally sound decisions.
  3. Efficiency in Legal Procedures. Law firms are familiar with legal procedures, documentation, and court protocols, which can streamline the process and avoid delays.
  4. Negotiation Skills. Lawyers have the skills to negotiate effectively on your behalf, potentially leading to more favourable outcomes.
  5. Stress Reduction. Handling family law matters can be emotionally taxing; having a professional manage legal complexities can alleviate stress.
  6. Court Representation. If your case goes to court, having a lawyer to represent you is invaluable, as they understand court etiquette and procedures.
  7. Access to Resources. Law firms have access to resources and networks that can be beneficial in handling your case.
  8. Legal Strategy. Lawyers can develop a strategic approach to your case, considering all legal angles and implications.

Considering the complexities of family law matters, the expertise of a family law firm is more beneficial.

Overall winner: Shanahan Family Law

family law agreement


There are many risks when taking the DIY route in family law. Some critical risks you face are the following:

  1. Legal Missteps. Without legal expertise, you might misunderstand the law or miss critical legal nuances, leading to mistakes.
  2. Paperwork Errors. Incorrectly filled or filed documents can delay proceedings or negatively impact your case.
  3. Inadequate Representation. Representing yourself in negotiations or court can be challenging without legal training, potentially leading to less favourable outcomes.
  4. Overlooked Rights and Entitlements. You might be unaware of your full legal rights and entitlements, resulting in a settlement that doesn’t reflect your best interests. This is vital when negotiating child support or spousal maintenance.
  5. Increased Emotional Stress. Handling your legal matters in emotionally charged situations like divorce or custody battles can be overwhelming.
  6. Time Consumption. Navigating the legal system and managing a case can be extremely time-consuming, especially for those unfamiliar with legal procedures.
  7. Conflict Escalation. Direct negotiations can increase tensions and conflict without a neutral intermediary, potentially leading to more contentious proceedings. This is especially crucial if there is family violence involved.
  8. Long-Term Consequences. Mistakes in family law matters can have long-term repercussions, mainly regarding financial settlements and child custody arrangements.
  9. Lack of Objective Perspective. Emotional involvement in your case can cloud judgment, leading to decisions based more on emotion than legal or practical considerations.
  10. Difficulty in Enforcing Agreements. DIY agreements, especially those not formalised legally, can be difficult to enforce if disputes arise later.
  11. Limited Access to Resources. You may lack access to legal resources, information, and networks that can be crucial in effectively handling a case.

Considering the risks of engaging a professional family law firm is essential. Some risks may include:

  1. Cost. Hiring a law firm can be expensive. Prices can increase in complex or prolonged cases.
  2. Dependency. Relying on lawyers might lead to a sense of dependence. You may feel less informed or involved in your case.
  3. Mismatched Expectations. There’s a risk that the lawyer’s approach or strategy might not align with your expectations or desired outcomes.
  4. Loss of Personal Control. You may feel less control over your case, as the lawyer primarily handles decisions and negotiations.
  5. Communication Gaps. Effective communication is crucial. Any gaps or misunderstandings between you and your lawyer can impact your case.
  6. Variability in Service Quality. Not all law firms offer the same level of expertise or service quality. Choosing the right firm is critical.

While these risks are natural, it’s crucial to consider law firms individually. A company like Shanahan Family Law has practised for over a decade. This indicates a dedication to quality and approaching customers in a dignified manner. While losing control can be scary to many, entrusting your family law issue to an experienced legal practitioner can offer the best results.

Overall winner: Shanahan Family Law

mediator hold private sessions

If you require assistance resolving your family law matters, contact Shanahan Family Law for free initial discovery call

Shanahan Family Law Vs DIY (Do It Yourself)

Shanahan Family Law vs DIY Legal Services

Cost (out of 10)

DIY: 9

Shanahan Family Law: 8

Expertise (out of 15)

DIY: 11

Shanahan Family Law: 15

Risks (out of 15)

DIY: 9

Shanahan Family Law: 14

There are many factors to consider when assessing the benefits of a DIY approach versus using a professional firm. While DIY has potential cost savings, this method is a minefield that could lead to long-term consequences. Paying for legal expertise may come with upfront costs. However, the peace of mind knowing that your case is in trustworthy hands is invaluable.

Overall winner: Shanahan Family Law


If you require assistance resolving your family law matters, contact Shanahan Family Law for free initial discovery call

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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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