Our experienced Family Lawyers are well equipped to handle all family law related matters, including the following:
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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:
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. .
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.
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.
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.
You should consider having one drawn up if: