Family Law

Experienced in Family Law Matters


We provide an understanding approach, with realistic advice on Family Law matters.

Family Law Experts. Got a Question? Call Now For Initial Consultation. Our family lawyers provide friendly and understanding service for all family law matters. We provide fully and comprehensive advice and act promptly to progress your family matter.
Before any formal divorce or separation proceedings take place, our experienced and professional divorce resolution team can help find ways to work through the dispute and navigate the process in the least costly way as possible.

 

Our experienced Family Lawyers are well equipped to handle all family law related matters, including the following:

Separation and Divorce


Separation

Separation occurs when you and your spouse/partner stop living together in a domestic or ‘marriage-like’ relationship, and it can happen even if you are still living together, or if one party leaves home. If you never married, but have been living in a de facto relationship, the same legal principles apply. However, applications for property orders must be filed in respect of de facto relationship within two (2) years following the end of the relationship.

When you are considering separation it can be extremely beneficial to consult a lawyer to clarify whether your current arrangements are characterized as separation, or conversely, what you need to do to satisfy the Court’s requirements for separation.

Divorce

Divorce is the legal dissolution of marriage, and you can either apply to the Court for a joint divorce, where both parties agree, or you can make your own Application.

Eligibility for divorce is dependent upon citizenship, residency, length of time separated, property, finance and whether there are children of the marriage.

Child Support and Maintenance


Child Support refers to payments made by separated parents to provide the necessary support to their children under the age of 18. Issues relating to child support are normally addressed by the Child Support Agency, which is a body which administrates child support arrangements. Child support payments are determined according to the income of the parents, the living arrangements of the children and the children’s ages and needs. 

Children’s Matters Involving DHS


The Family Division of the Children’s Court is responsible for hearing child protection matters and these proceedings are often less formal than other Courts.

If the Department of Human Services (DHS) or a protective worker has served you a Protection Application, Supervision Order or Interim Accommodation Order (or similar) in relation to your child, we can liaise with DHS and advocate on your behalf so you can address DHS’ concerns, with the ultimate goal of having your child back in your care, (without DHS supervision or intervention) as soon as practicable.

De facto Relationships


A de facto relationship, according to the Family Law Act 1975, refers to couples who live together in a genuine domestic basis but are not legally married or related to each other. The law between married and de facto relationships are very similar, although the existence of a de facto relationship requires satisfaction of several elements to confirm its existence. These include duration, living arrangements and financial considerations.

The same laws applies to same-sex couples.

Family Violence and Intervention Orders (IVO)


If you are experiencing family violence from a partner or are concerned about your safety and the safety of your children, you should do the following:

  • In the case of an emergency, you should dial 000 immediately;
  • Attend your local police station, or a Magistrates’ Court to apply for an Intervention Order.

An Intervention Order (Family Violence Order) is an Order made under State or Territory legislation to protect a person from family violence. Breaching an IVO is a criminal offence which can result in imprisonment for persistent breaches.

In cases of confirmed family violence, or child abuse, the Court may order to suspend the time spent between the child and the offender, or may order that all contact be supervised. Our lawyers deal with these matters extensively and can advise what options are available, based on your specific circumstances.  .

Injunctions and Urgent Applications


An injunction is an order of the Court that requires a person to do, or refrain from doing, a particular act. These orders are often made under urgent circumstances, including:
  • Restraining an adult from committing family violence;
  • Restraining an adult from removing a child from the Commonwealth of Australia;
  • Freezing bank accounts; and
  • Prohibiting the sale of an asset (e.g. your family home).

Parenting Disputes


When negotiating parenting arrangements with your partner, it is important to note that the paramount consideration of the Court is the ‘best interests of the child’. The court will consider it in the best interests of the child to spend time with both parents, unless there are mitigating factors such as family violence or domestic abuse.

You should not unreasonably withhold your child from the other parent unless there are circumstances where your child is at risk of being exposed to family violence of child abuse.

Our team of experienced family lawyers can assist you in relation to the following parenting disputes:
  • Providing you with pragmatic advice on how to negotiate with your partner in relation to parenting arrangements;
  • Designing a shared care arrangement between you and your partner, tailored to your needs and lifestyle, as well as to overcome any concerns you may have;
  • Drafting and document a parenting plan to reflect your agreements;
  • Drafting Consent parenting orders further to your parenting plan, or your agreements between you and your partner;
  • Negotiating with your partner or their legal representative on your behalf;
  • Representing you in Court proceedings involving parenting matters; and
  • Making urgent applications in a case of emergency, for example with:
  • Applications for Recovery Orders if your partner has unreasonably withheld the child from you; or
  • Applications for an Airport Watch List Order if you suspect your partner may leave the country with the child.

Property Settlement and Binding Financial Agreements


Property settlements

After a couple separates, it is necessary to divide all relevant assets. Although the most effective option is to divide assets by agreement between the parties, sometimes Court proceedings are necessary. Property settlements also apply to de facto relationships after the couple have been living together for two years or longer.

As your lawyer, we will always focus on achieving the best outcome for your. In some situations we will provide you with practical legal advice on how to negotiate with your partner, and settle the disputes amicably and in a cost effective manner. If an agreement cannot be reached, we will advise what your legal entitlements are and the likely result you will receive if the matter progresses to Court. We will also:
  • Advise you in relation to your rights in all matters, including family trusts;
  • Draft any documents or agreements you and your partner have reached, and advise if they can be made legally binding; and
  • Represent you in court to obtain a property settlement.
We will provide you with a cost agreement and an estimate cost for all future work prior to commencing your matter.

Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreements


There are four different prenuptial or postnuptial agreements:

Prenuptial agreements – Prior to marriage (s 90B Family Law Act)

It is distinguishable by the assets that you have brought into the marriage so that these assets don’t form a part of your joint assets with your partner. This may also help decide how you want to divide your assets in the event that your marriage breaks down.

Postnuptial agreements – After marriage (s 90C(2A) Family Law Act)

To be entered into after your wedding date/marriage. This deals that have been brought into the marriage by each party and outlines how these assets will be divided, in the event of a relationship breakdown. This is commonly used when parties wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement, but do not have sufficient time to arrange same prior to marriage. It is always best to enter into a postnuptial agreement as soon as possible after your wedding date.

Post-separation agreements – After separating (s 90UF Family Law Act)

These are entered into by parties who have already separated and who have agreed on how to divide their assets. It may also include clauses in regards to spousal maintenance. However, a binding financial agreement can be risky if it is not entered into properly, as it can be set aside by the Court. In these circumstances, our lawyers may recommend consent orders over binding financial agreements.

Cohabitation agreements – de facto relationships (s 90UB; 90UC Family Law Act)

These sections are similar to prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, but are in respect of de facto relationships.

Why should I enter into a binding financial agreement?


You should consider having one drawn up if:

  • You are entering into a relationship whereby you are bringing in significantly more business or personal assets than your partner;
  • You and your partner want to stipulate what is to occur should your relationship end;
  • You are, or may later become, entitled to an inheritance or gift;
  • You want to avoid court should separation occur;
  • You want to protect your children from a former relationship financially; and
  • You want to protect inheritance you have, or will receive, from your family.
A legally binding financial agreement helps you maintain control over your individual assets and financial futures when entering into a marriage or de facto relationship.
Expert Legal Advice and Services offered by Pentana Lawyers in Melbourne including Dandenong, Narre Warren, Endeavour Hills, Hallam, Keysborough, Dandenong South, Hampton Park, Springvale, Berwick and Rowville

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