What is family law, and what areas does it cover?
Marriage and Divorce
Getting married, separating, and divorce are all times that you may need to engage family law services. These include financial agreements, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, managing child support or child custody arrangements, and splitting or protecting assets, and family violence. We also work with couples and families when they are buying or selling property, drawing up wills or have received an inheritance.
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
A formal long-term financial plan in a relationship can create clarity and can avoid potentially costly or upsetting legal matters later on. If you're considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement (a Financial Agreement), our team will ensure you have proper guidance and advice. We'll see that all important factors are covered, including inheritances, future needs of your children, family businesses, spousal maintenance, property and existing debt arrangements.
De Facto Relationships & Domestic Relationships
Many significant and long-term partnerships are de facto or domestic relationships, and both have specific laws and unique considerations that apply to them.
Our team can help you to navigate any legal matters arising during a de facto or domestic relationship, as well as those that occur after a partnership ends, including financial agreements, custody matters, and family or personal violence issues.
Child custody and parenting arrangements
Organising child custody arrangements can be an emotionally charged experience. Our team takes a compassionate and fair approach to negotiate outcomes that reflect your family's best interests, aiming to avoid court whenever possible.
Most parenting disputes can be resolved successfully with good guidance, clear communication and mediation, but we will provide excellent legal representation if there isn't another option.
Child support and spousal maintenance
If you are negotiating child support matters or spousal maintenance, our team of family lawyers can assist you in determining a fair arrangement, which can then be drawn up into a Binding Child Support Agreement.
We can also help you to determine child support payable and your child support assessment if you are using the government child support scheme. If there are disputes over amounts owed or amounts received, we can assist you in legally addressing this.
Property division and settlement
Negotiating property and financial settlements can be complex. We can help you to achieve a fair and equitable outcome whilst minimising legal costs and avoiding court where reasonably possible, expertly guiding you through settlement. Our team can help you to fairly divide superannuation, and self-managed superannuation funds too, drawing up financial agreements after negotiations. We can also support you through the court process if a property settlement can't be reached in mediation.
Domestic violence and abuse
Family violence still happens all too often and has a devastating effect on everyone involved. It can take on multiple forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial abuse, coercion, harassment or stalking. We have extensive experience in this area and will handle your matter with sensitivity with confidentiality assured. We can support you through the process of Family Violence Intervention Orders, Personal Safety Orders, and children's matters related to abuse or violence.
Mediation and alternative dispute resolution
Going to court can be a highly stressful and drawn-out process. We seek to resolve matters out of court wherever possible, using several methods, including mediation and collaborative law.
We believe most family law disputes can be resolved without attending court. When you engage our team to work with you, we'll inform you of a range of options to address your matters without attending court.
International family law matters
International family law cases can be challenging due to the complexities and variances between laws in different jurisdictions. We have extensive experience assisting clients to resolve international matters, including divorce, child support and child custody.
If you are facing an urgent issue, such as a child custody matter that involves a partner or ex-partner who is planning to leave Australia or is no longer in the country, it's imperative to seek legal assistance as soon as possible.
Wills and estates
Wills and estates are a critical consideration when it comes to the long-term planning of your family. Having a will in place allows you to make your wishes clear about what you want to happen in the event of you dying or being ill or incapacitated. If you have children, you can provide instructions for guardianship, care and other matters, such as inheritances. Our team can also help you execute a will, contest a will, or with any other matters related to estate planning.
Same-sex relationships and marriage
If you are in a same-sex relationship or marriage, laws relevant to heterosexual relationships and marriages will apply to your relationship in Victoria. This applies to de facto relationships and marriages, and similar laws apply to domestic relationships. Parenting and custody matters are treated accordingly, as are child support and other financial agreements.
Our family lawyers can help you to navigate legal matters during your relationship or during a relationship breakdown.
How much does getting a divorce cost?
Getting a divorce in Victoria, without enlisting Family Lawyers will generally incur a Court filing fee of $1,060, which is the cost of filing for a divorce. You may be eligible for a reduced fee of $350 if you receive a government benefit, hold a valid concession card, have been granted legal aid or can demonstrate financial hardship. These fees are increased by the Federal Government on 1 July each year.
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Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?
In most cases, divorce is a straightforward process, which can be done without the assistance of a lawyer.
It's best to seek legal assistance though, if:
- You are experiencing family violence or have an a Family Violence Intervention Order or Personal Safety Intervention Order in place
- You or your children are at risk of harm
- You are unable to locate your original marriage records
- Your partner is unable to be located, or served with paperwork
- Your marriage requires nullification rather than a divorce order
- Your marriage certificate is not in English (usually a translation and affidavit are required)
Can you get divorced in Australia if I was married overseas?
You can get a divorce in Australia in most cases, though some conditions apply, which are:
- One of you or your ex-partner are Australian citizens, or have lived in Australia for one year before applying.
- You or your ex-partner have been living in Australia for the last year.
- You call Australia home and plan to stay here for at least the next year.
If you are having any issues filing for a divorce in an international marriage, contact our team for advice.
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