Family law issues are difficult.
You’re dealing with emotional upheaval. You’re trying to make sure your kids are okay and trying to find time to plan for your future.
You need the reliable support of an excellent family lawyer to navigate all the issues, all the stress and all the worry. You need a lawyer who understands you and who will act in your best interests.
We’re family lawyers in Melbourne and regional Victoria, ready to help you.
We offer practical advice, long term solutions, and quick action. We don’t just represent you; we work with you. We’ll take the time to understand your needs and concerns. And we’ll communicate with you clearly and regularly.
Why? Because we know that family law issues are stressful enough. The more we can do to relieve the stress, the better off you’ll be.
Premium family law services
We’re proud to offer a full range of family law services to all our regional and metropolitan clients, including:
- Advice and representation regarding the breakdown of marriage and domestic relationships, including same-sex relationships
- Pre-nuptial agreements
- Cohabitation agreements
- De facto and same-sex agreements
- Intervention orders
- Alternative dispute resolution
Our services for family law financial matters include:
- Property settlements
- Spousal maintenance
- Injunctions and restraining orders
- Protection of assets
- Tax implications of property settlements
Our services for parenting and children’s issues include:
- Parenting arrangements
- Children’s welfare
- Child support
- Paternity disputes
- International child abduction
We’ll help you get your life back on track
Family Law FAQs
You’re in a de facto relationship if you’re living with your partner on a genuine domestic basis, but you’re not legally married to each other.
There are other things which may indicate a de facto relationship. They include:
- The length of your relationship
- The nature and extent of the couple’s common residence
- Whether there’s a sexual relationship
- Whether you share finances, or whether one of you is financially dependent on the other
- Whether you jointly own real estate or other assets, how you use them and how you came to acquire them
- Whether you’re both committed to sharing your lives
- Whether you’ve had children together
- Whether you’re responsible for the care and support of any children
- How others may view your relationship. For example, whether they think of you as a de facto couple
You can be in a de facto relationship even if one of you is married to someone else.
Although you may be in a de facto relationship, pursuant to the Family Law Act the Court only has the power to make orders for the division of property or spousal maintenance if it is satisfied that:
- you have been in a de facto relationship for at least two years; or
- there is a child of your relationship; or
- that one of you has made substantial contributions (financial, non-financial or as a homemaker or parent) and a failure to make an order would result in a serious injustice; or
- your relationship has been registered under State or Territory legislation.
A pre-nuptial agreement is also known as a pre-nup.
A couple can make a pre-nup before marrying or moving in together. It’s a type of binding financial agreement that sets out how property will be divided if the relationship breaks down. Pre-nups must be made with care. If there’s a possibility that one party is unfairly disadvantaged, the pre-nup may not be enforceable.
It’s essential to get independent legal advice before signing a pre-nup.
In Australia, you usually start the divorce process by applying to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (FCC). To get a divorce you need to be able to show your marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is usually proven by demonstrating that you’ve been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months.
You will also need to show proof that your marriage was valid, for example, your marriage certificate.
If you and your former spouse have children, you will also have to show that proper arrangements have been made for their care.
When a relationship breaks down, Australian family law says that the best interests of the children of your relationship is the most important consideration when deciding on parenting matters.
The children may live with both parties on an equal basis, or they might live with one parent and spend time with the other parent. The principle of equal parental responsibility applies, meaning that regardless of living arrangements, both parents jointly make long-term decisions for their children (unless there are good reasons not to, for example, concerns about the safety of the children or family violence).
It’s a payment made by one spouse to the other to help with their living costs. It can be regular payments or a lump sum. Both married couples and de facto partners can apply for spousal maintenance.
To be eligible for spousal maintenance:
- You must have a need for financial support (for example, you are unable to support yourself from your income); and
- Your former partner must have enough income to be able to contribute to your reasonable living costs.
To work out how much spousal maintenance you’re entitled to, a court will consider many things, including:
- Your old and new living situation
- Your expenses
- Your former partner’s financial circumstances
- Your ability to earn an income
- Your caring responsibility for any children
- Any other issues, for example, medical needs