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The end of a relationship or marriage is a difficult time. Our experience has shown us that avoiding court is generally the best way forward. This will most likely save you time, money and help achieve a better outcome.
Our team of experienced family law lawyers can give you comprehensive advice about your legal rights, entitlements and obligations, and the different options available to settle any matters in which you and your partner may disagree.
Courtney is passionate about her work and is dedicated to crafting the best possible outcome for each of her clients.
A dedicated Slater and Gordon family lawyer can help you in all areas, including:
- Divorce applications
- Property and financial settlements
- Binding financial agreements
- Children custody matters
- Will and estate planning
- Mediation and Dispute Resolution
- Intervention Orders
- Family trusts
We’re here to help. Simply get in touch online or call us.
In many cases we offer a straightforward fixed fee* arrangement rather than billing by the hour. Because you know ahead of time what your costs will be, there are no nasty surprises down the track and you can make a more informed decision of whether you would like us to advance your matter.
Frequently asked questions
- Things are amicable. Do we have to go to court?
No, things can be settled out of court. You and your former partner can reach an agreement between you or with the help of a lawyer. If agreement has already been reached, the process of legalising the agreements tends to be straightforward and the parties will not normally need to attend court. We recommend that parties obtain legal advice about the best way of formalising their property settlement or parenting agreement.
Every family is different and so there is no one right answer. There is an incorrect assumption that when parties separate the law provides that the children will automatically spend equal time with their parents. While this might be a good outcome for some families, it does not work for all. The Family Law provides that the children’s best interests are the paramount consideration when the Court makes parenting orders and sets out primary and secondary issues that must be considered when the Court makes decisions about children’s living arrangements. The primary considerations are:
- the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm and/or from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence; and
- the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents
Some of the additional considerations are:
- the nature of the relationship between the child and each of the parents;
- the extent to which each of the child’s parents has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity to spend time and communicate with the child and to participate in decision making
- the attitude to the child, and to the responsibilities of parenthood, demonstrated by each of the child’s parents
- Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family
- The wishes expressed by the child
If you are concerned about the short term or long term parenting arrangements for your children please contact us for advice.
A divorce is the formal process of ending a marriage. Parties can apply for a divorce once they have been separated for 12 months.
It is not necessary to be divorced to have a property settlement. Parties can negotiate and formalise a property settlement at any stage after they separate. However, once a certificate of divorce is granted by the Court, the parties will only have 12 months from the date the certificate is granted to formalise a property settlement. In most circumstances, we recommend that parties formalise their property settlement before applying for a divorce.
A separation does not have to be formally recorded to be proven. Most people will cease to live together however it is also possible to be separated but still living under the one roof. It is usually enough to communicate your intention to your partner. You may need to take some additional steps. For example, if you are receiving government benefits (or entitled to receive benefits) you should contact Centrelink.
The payment of child support is generally governed by the child support section of the Australian Government Department of Human Services.
More information can be found by visiting their website.
The following are some things you may wish to do when you separate:
- Change all your passwords so that only you can access your accounts.
- Check bank accounts regularly and let your bank know that you have separated.
- Check your redraw facilities and joint bank accounts. If your partner has withdrawn a very large sum of money from your redraw facility or joint accounts you need to act quickly. Check your accounts regularly and if you are concerned that large sums will be withdrawn without your consent, talk to your bank and see if they will change the account to require two signatures. When in doubt, inform your bank in writing that you are separated and do not consent to any money being withdrawn from your redraw facility.
- Put your financial documents and other valuable documents (such as passports, birth certificates) somewhere safe.
- Put your sentimental or valuable things somewhere safe.
- Change your will and consider whether you want to change the beneficiaries listed in your insurance policies and superannuation fund.
- Revoke any power of attorney.
- Keep a diary.
- Keep things as civil as possible – nobody wants to spend a lifetime fighting with a former partner. The biggest victims are the children. Keep things as friendly as possible for the sake of your children.
- Consider whether you need to change your postal address
- If you are concerned that your former partner will read your mail, consider obtaining a postal box or redirecting your mail to a friend or family member.
- Get legal advice.