I am Kathryn Hodges and I am the Principal of Integrated Family Law, based at the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. We specialise in helping people go through separation, and we are committed to staying out of court.

I’m known for being a real person, not just another lawyer in a suit. I aspire every day to stand up and make the call for change, so that Australians can learn how to separate with dignity and give more children the gift of a conflict-free childhood.

I was admitted as a Solicitor in 1998, and have worked in family law since then. I have also worked in-house at Legal Aid Queensland as a family lawyer for four years.

I trained to become, and was appointed as a Separate Representative in Child Protection Proceedings and as an Independ Children’s Lawyer in Family Law Proceedings for in excess of 10 years. I am also trained in Collaborative Law.

In the past I have struggled with witnessing some of the courtroom solutions offered to many families, which in reality can create even more scars and damage that can last years, decades, or even a lifetime.

I resolved to find a better way. I made a decision to spend less time in courtrooms and more time speaking with people and helping them work through their changes, with love and respect for themselves and those around them.

At Integrated Family Law we have created a clear 5-step method that takes people who are contemplating separation from the brink of potential disaster, through a respectful separation process, achieved out of court and by being what I call “unlawyered”.

We implement that method using three consistent strategies:

  1. We keep things simple. We translate law-speak into manageable, easy to understand pieces. When we link our clients in with other advisors as needed, we stay in touch with those advisors, so our clients aren’t doing the heavy lifting.
  2. We work with our clients to see their former partner as part of the process, which allows our families to pull through without too much struggle.
  3. We offer fixed fee options. That way, our clients can get the best from their advisors, without fear of running up a huge bill. It also means that we’re all working hard to get things settled smoothly and quickly.

When my clients leave me, they don’t feel like they’ve been “lawyered”: instead they feel supported, empowered and are ready to begin the next chapter of their life.

‘Let’s face it; there’s still stigma around a relationship breaking down. Especially when there’s kids involved and not to mention the aforementioned hound. People are going to come out of the woodwork to give you their horror stories, their results based on their experience, and many of those people are going to be highly wounded as part of their experience. What Kathryn does with this book is help you to put those much needed headphones on and sit in the process in your peace. As soon as you start reading, you will be able to breathe out knowing that there is a way out of the distress. ‘One of my favourite quotes of all time is by Sara Henderson, the amazing pastoralist and author who ran Bullo River Station in the Northern Territory: “Don’t wait for the light at the end of the tunnel, go down there and light the bloody thing yourself.” This book is you taking back your right to calm by lighting the bloody thing yourself. I wish you well on your journey to your new normal.’

Amanda Foy, The Emotional Strength Trainer

‘Who Gets the Dog? is more than just a practical book filled with useful tips about separation, divorce and family law in Australia. It’s got all that in spades, of course, but what Kathryn Hodges achieves within these pages is to inspire those on the brink of, or deep within, the breakdown of a relationship to open their eyes to the possibilities. The possibilities of empathy, understanding, peaceful division, and of course saving bucket loads of money on legal fees! ‘Kathryn’s book has an undercurrent of compassion, something sadly absent in the cut and thrust of family law, and certainly rare amongst the lawyers who ply that trade. Having worked with many clients in this space over the years, I wish this book had been available then to give to them. At least some of them could have saved some of their hard-earned dollars … and hard-to-heal scars after reading it.’

Warrick Bidwell, warrickbidwell.com