We understand that when a family breaks down, there is considerable uncertainty and emotional turmoil, and the last thing you want to to worry about are legal issues. When a client comes to us with a family law matter, we aim to clarify the legal process and give practical advice about your options. We believe in a pragmatic and problem-solving-based approach to family law, focusing on obtaining the best possible outcomes for our client and their children.
Sometimes, it is just not possible to settle everything amicably, and in those instances we will advocate fiercely and tenaciously for our client in the court system with the same pragmatism, practicality and determination to achieve the best possible outcome that we strive for in all aspects of our work.
Property and financial orders
A big concern for many of our clients is how their assets will be distributed following a separation or divorce. Australian family law has a 'no fault' divorce system. This means that the reason for the separation is not taken into account when determining the distribution of the family property. The property that can be distributed includes real property (such as the family home), money, superannuation entitlements, cars, jewelery, as well as debts such as mortgages and loans. All family property may be divided, regardless of who holds the title, purchased the asset or incurred the debt.
To minimise costs, it is desirable to attempt to negotiate a settlement with your partner before applying to the Court. If a financial agreement is reached, the Court will generally agree to make consent orders reflecting the terms of your agreement.
If you cannot reach agreement, you may apply for a property order within 12 months of the divorce order taking effect. In making a property order, the Court will consider the parties' financial and domestic contributions and a range of statutory factors to determine how their assets should be split.
We can advise you about the following matters, and where necessary prepare the appropriate documents:
- Binding financial agreements (also known as pre-nuptual agreements)
- Spousal and de facto property division, including matters involving bankruptcy and third parties
- Child support
- Spousal, de facto and child maintenance
Any person concerned with the care, welfare and development of a child may apply for parenting orders, including parties to a marriage before or after separation or divorce.
The best interests of the child will be the primary consideration in making a parenting order. Factors such as the child's relationship with each parent, the lifestyle, background and parenting history of each party, and the views and maturity of the child will inform the Court's decision as to what is in their best interests. Where a parent cannot provide a healthy home life for the child, the Court will determine how best to facilitate contact between that parent and the child, while still safeguarding the child's best interests.
A significant part of our family law practice involves parenting orders. Even though most parents want what is best for their child after separation, often the parents will disagree about the specifics of the proposed arrangements. We dedicate ourselves to ensuring that parenting orders provide the best possible arrangement for everyone involved.
We can assist you with:
- Interim and final parenting orders
- Recovery, location and Commonwealth information orders
- Relocation and child abduction matters
- Family violence and child abuse
- Intervention orders (IVOs)