The Inaugural Edition of Our Online Journal
The Inaugural Edition of Our Online Journal is ‘The problem seems so simple… if you only hear one side’ and addresses how to integrate all the perspectives in a family law dispute.
From the Editor
Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “there are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth”. Never is this more relevant than in family law where separated parents may recall the same event quite differently. Even though there may be two sides to the story, it does not mean that both sides are equally true and valid, particularly if one party has a vested interest in portraying something in a certain way. It is therefore important not to jump to conclusions or to act prematurely on the basis of hearing one side only, particularly when advocating for a client. It is also always worth considering both perspectives in any given situation.
Perspective is the way an individual sees the world. It comes from their personal point of view and is shaped by their life experiences, current state of mind and any values or biases they might hold. Reality can be different things to different people. Some may assert that “my perspective is my reality” and there is truth to that statement; however, when we look at the shared reality of a specific event, the more perspectives you obtain, the closer to ‘the truth’ you will get.
One important skill we have as human beings is the capability to take a different perspective. Perspective-taking is about being able to understand a situation from the point of view of another person while perspective-coordinating enables us to better explore a situation that has happened in the past and can provide valuable assistance in relation to future decision making for both ourselves and our clients. Are they seeing the bigger picture? Can you give them any information to help widen their perspective? If so, what change does this create to their point of view?
Asking clients to explain their emotions, as opposed to expressing them, opens the door to finding solutions as opposed to engaging in further conflict. Finally, understanding both sides helps to build empathy, which may assist with finding resolution.
In this edition of Issues, we interview a judge, a family law solicitor and a single expert report writer on how they tackle the tricky problem of getting to the truth of a matter.