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VG van Reysen

Shannon & Lee Eckard

May 2024

I sought Chantal’s services, as a last resort, and in hindsight, wished that I had found her first. I spent the last year, trying to revise my maintenance order, which in theory should be a simple matter, involving filling in a form and handing it in, at the maintenance court. I decided to engage the services of an Attorney, thinking that the cost would be nominal, being that this was a “quick” process, but possibly quicker and easier with “expert” guidance. I could not have been more wrong. It took the “attorney” several months to figure out how to fill in the variation of maintenance form, with it being rejected 3 times by the court, with incurred costs, for my account, every time. When they eventually figured this out, and summons was served on me ex-wife, the entire process became much more costly. She retained her own Attorney, and unbeknownst to us, they seamlessly started to engage in what can only be described as an unspoken, but subtly curated back and forth dance of sorts, clearly designed to extract the maximum fee’s out of both parties. To the uninitiated, Attorneys will charge you for every single action they take, no matter how small or insignificant. You suddenly realize that you are now fighting two fights, one with the “other party” and another with your Attorney. Instead of any feeling of relief that you are making progress, you are suddenly filled with dread, as to what the next month’s bill will look like. This would all still be palatable if you felt like you were actually reaching a defined end point, but it never seems to arrive, the dance just continues. After a year of this, and almost R100k in legal fees (my fees alone), and still not having had a single court appearance, I realized that I needed a new approach, and I fired my Attorney. I found Chantal via google, immediately noting that she has a proven track record and great reviews. I initially contacted her for a consult, to prepare me for court, as I now planned to “go it alone”, and represent myself. During the session, I realized that if I could convince my ex to mediate, we had a better chance of settling, than trying to “destroy” each other in court. She reluctantly agreed, after a 20 minute phone chat with Chantal. Chantal advised us to chat, and try reach an agreement in principal, which she would then draw up and we could present to the court. After engaging with Chantal, without the Attorney’s, suddenly things seemed easier. It wasn’t all plain sailing, but we managed to agree on most things. Chantal was available to us all the way, never more than a WhatsApp or email away. Despite the fact that I had engaged with her first, she was completely impartial, and neither parties ever felt that she was taking the other’s side. She provided constant reassurance and managed to get our agreement typed up and signed in record time. We presented this to the court, and it was accepted, no Attorney’s present, and the matter is now finalized. The entire process took 3 weeks, from inception to court order. We agreed on the cost upfront, so there were no nasty surprises. My only regret is not finding Chantal a year ago. The objective of this review is to thank Chantal, but also to serve as a cautionary tale to my fellow Human’s. I would urge anyone in my position, or even pre divorce, avoid Attorneys and rather mediate, you will get a fair outcome, and avoid financial disaster.

VG van Reysen

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