LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

WA Mental Health Issues - What is the Lawyer's Responsibility?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by teflongirl, 10 March 2016.

  1. teflongirl

    teflongirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 January 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    My partner has a diagnosed mental health condition. What's the legal responsibility of the lawyer that represents her, especially as I feel that they are downplaying her mental health issues?
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    So, noting that the mental health conditions are Bipolar Personality Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder, the legal responsibility of the lawyer representing her is to essentially to represent your former spouse to the best of the lawyer's capacity. If they were to go to the Court and say, "My client is suffering two mental disorders and is a danger to the kids", he wouldn't be upholding his obligation to his client as her lawyer, would he?

    You should expect they will "downplay" her mental illness if it benefits her case to do so. It's your job, as the opposing party, to try and discredit their claims in court and show the judge that these issues pose a risk to the children, if that's what the basis of your case is.

    Now, plainly speaking, nearly every parenting dispute that requires court intervention is plagued by at least one party who has some scope of a mental health issue. If that wasn't the case, it's fair to say you probably wouldn't be in court to decide parenting matters. The most common, I would suggest, are Bipolar and Narcissism, so finding a lawyer who 'specialises' in these issues is essentially the same as finding a family law lawyer.

    As for the case management conference, this is usually a conference to try and help you and other party reach an agreement of your own accord, rather than having the Court decide for you. You might find this useful: http://www.familycourt.wa.gov.au/_files/Case Assesment Conferences 011210.pdf
     
  3. teflongirl

    teflongirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 January 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the link. Why is what is said in the case conference admitted as evidence in court?

    I'm intrigued as the respondent is a serial liar, very evident in her affidavit as she's begun to paint a picture of years of control and abuse. I'm actually personally taken aback by this and so are her family. We see this as part of her mental condition BorderLine Personality Disorder. In case of a conference, is this where we decide on % of care of our child?
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    A case conference is not like mediation - it's governed by a family consultant, who is a professional apt to give evidence about your situation in court.

    I would suggest it's more conducive to focus on actually using the conference for its intended purpose of reaching an agreement between you and the other party, rather than worrying about how the conference can be used as evidence at trial.

    Whether your ex is lying or not is only relevant if the matter actually proceeds to hearing, which is the time at which you should cross-examine your ex and have her discredited as a witness based on the lies in her affidavit. Until then, forget what lies she's told and just focus on what you believe is best for the children.

    If you can decide on care arrangements for the child during the conference, that's the best outcome you could hope for, and the court will be glad to hear it, as well.
     
  5. teflongirl

    teflongirl Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    29 January 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you I appreciate your time and focus. Yes, it's all about the child, that's why I have initiated the application.
     

Share This Page

Loading...