Family Law

Our Solicitors recognise that disputes of this nature, whether they involve property, divorce or children are often emotionally charged and highly complex, demand a high standard of skill and care.

Our team is committed to the early resolution of dispute, encouraging clients to explore alternative and more cost effective methods of settling matters thereby greatly reducing stress and uncertainty associated with litigation.

Our expertise extends across all aspects of Family Law and includes:

Our family Lawyers are sensitive to the financial and emotional costs that accompany a family separation. We work with you from the start to identify your objectives and needs and how best to achieve them.

Information for you on Divorce

A divorce is when you legally end your marriage. The divorce literally dissolves your marriage.
To apply for a divorce, obviously you need to have been married. There are a few circumstances where it is more appropriate to apply for decree of nullity, namely that the marriage is void but in those circumstances you would need to first obtain legal advice.

If you are applying to the court for a divorce, you are called the applicant. Your spouse is called the respondent. You may apply for divorce if at the time you file (or lodge) at the court your application, either you or your spouse are:

The application to the court for a decree (that is an order) dissolving your marriage is based on the ground that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Australia has a “no fault” jurisdiction and the only ground for divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

To establish that ground, the court must be satisfied that you and your spouse have separated and lived separately for a continuous period of at least 12 months preceding the date on which you filed your application for divorce. The court will not make an order for divorce if the court is satisfied that there is a reasonable likelihood that cohabitation will be resumed.

There needs also to be certain information given to the court about children of the marriage under the age of 18 years. A child of the marriage means:

Where there are children under the age of 18 years, before the court can grant your application for divorce, the court must be satisfied that:

Parenting Orders

When parents separate or do not live together, one of the most important issues that they need to resolve relates to the importance of continuing a relationship between the children or child and the parent who they do not live with on a permanent basis.

The importance of this is highlighted in the Family Law Act 1975 which relates to the rights and interests of all children in Australia. The Act sets out that its object is to ensure that children have the benefit of a meaningful relationship with both of their parents to the maximum extent that is in their best interests and to enable them to “achieve their full potential.” The act also emphasises that there is a need to protect children from any physical or psychological harm from being subjected or exposed to abuse, neglect of family violence.

The Family Law Act also sets out that the principles underlying this object are, unless it would be contrary to a child’s best interests, that:

If parents can agree about the parenting of their children, who their children should live with and the time that their children should spend with the other, then they may formalise that agreement in several ways through the Family Court.

If unfortunately, parents can not agree about the parenting of their children, then an Application can be made to the Local Court, the Federal Magistrates Court or the Family Court for its assistance in resolving disputes. Through the Court process, parents will be encouraged to reach their own agreement about the children however ultimately, if parents are unable to agree, the Court can make Parenting Orders about a child or children. What is now referred to as a “live with” Order is a Parenting Order.

Whenever the Court makes any Orders about children, the most important consideration is what would be in the best interest of the child.

In order to determine what the best interest of the child are, the Court must, under Section 60CC(2) of the Family Law Act, consider the following:

Children of a certain age and/or maturity may also be considered by the Court to have the capacity to express a view that should be considered when the court comes to make an Order with regard to their care.