Kirsty Salvestro champions calm negotiations and out-of-court solutions for couples and families
The experience of being a child of separation instilled in Kirsty Salvestro’s heart a desire to make a difference in family law. As the founder of boutique family law firm Flourish Family Law, she has made it her focus to advocate for resolving couple and family problems out of court.
Salvestro’s passion for this field of the law has also led her to pen a book centred on the amicable separation of couples – a work she considers her proudest achievement over the past year and one that she says clarifies how lawyers have a social and moral obligation to guide couples towards a cooperative way of handling issues.
In this interview, Salvestro talks about the case that showed her money isn’t everything, launching an online course for separated couples and how lawyers should take the lead in showcasing kind, calm behaviour.
What made you choose a career in law, and what's your favourite part of the job?
I primarily chose a career in law as, being a child of separation myself, I wanted to work with families and make a real change. My favourite part of the job is being able to help couples or families identify, work through and solve their problems amicably. The satisfaction in being able to help a couple navigate a separation and feel content and satisfied with their outcomes is so rewarding.
What is the most memorable case you've taken on/been involved in?
That would have to be my trickiest case ever. It involved a new couple – both of them were separating from their ex-spouses, and they had together won the lotto! Now one would think this was a fabulous outcome, but it actually led to so much destruction of their new and old relationships. It is memorable to me as it really made the saying “money isn’t everything” a true reality – in fact, it was destructive and had a huge negative impact on their lives.
What do you have going on? Are there any new programs and initiatives at the firm that you’re particularly interested in?
I have so much going on at the moment! I have just published my first book What are we fighting for? A peaceful pathway for separating couples, and I am about to launch my online course to coincide with the book. Additionally, my boutique firm practices solely on out-of-court family law solutions – I help separated couples who want to resolve their family law issues by providing solutions, such as mediation and collaborative family law, that focus on kind and peaceful behaviours so that they can reach an amicable agreement.
All the work I do here, and the products I am creating are aimed at achieving my mission to empower couple to find the kinder peaceful path through separation.
What tech-related initiatives are you most excited about implementing?
Defiantly my online course. It will be known as Finding the Peaceful Pathway, and it is intended to help separated couples stay amicable, plan, make practical smart decisions and ultimately reach an agreement without the stress of fighting and high legal fees so that they can lessen the emotional rollercoaster, find peace and move on.
The online course platform is being created with the hope that it will assist a much broader range of couples, who otherwise might not have the finances or time to engage professionals to help them along the entire process.
What has been your proudest accomplishment in the last year or so? Or what’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year and what advice can you give fellow lawyers about it?
The writing and publishing of my book is definitely my proudest achievement. I had always wanted to write a book, but never thought I could actually do it! Through writing the book, I learnt so much about myself and my own journey. It also made it very clear to me that as lawyers, we have a social and moral obligation to help couples solve their issue together and amicably, rather than blindly using the old traditional ways we have always been taught. We need to fight the problem together, not fight each other.
What should the profession and law firms focus more on?
Most definitely out-of-court options such as mediation and collaborative family law, or even just kinder, calmer negotiations between practitioners! The courts themselves are highly focused on the use of dispute resolution and the behaviour of couples navigating the system; we as a profession need to set an example and lead the way showcasing that behaviour.
We can teach couples the benefits of using out-of-court solutions such as mediation and collaborative family law rather than litigation. It is a human problem, not just a legal problem after all.
What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward? What challenges are particularly pressing in the country’s legal industry?
It has been well reported for many years now that our family court system is overwhelmed, our judges and registrars are overworked, and so are the lawyers. As a result, couples are seeing escalating time frames and legal costs. The challenge now to all family lawyers is to not just use, but embrace kinder methods; to be firm about and set an example of good and kind behaviours; and guide couples to use these kinder methods and avoid litigation.
What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?
The launch of my online course. It will be so rewarding seeing this project come to life! I am also part of a group known as The Kind Lawyers – we are working together to educate others on the benefits of kind and peaceful negotiations and are trying to change the way people see and experience divorce. I cannot wait to see what we can achieve this year!