Our Services

01

Divorce and separation

Divorce is the unfortunate reality for almost one half of all marrying couples. The only basis for divorce in Australia is irretrievable breakdown of marriage, evidenced by 12 months separation. We can assist in the preparation of all required documentation for a divorce application to be presented to the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court. We are also experienced in advising and dealing with various overseas jurisdictions and matrimonial proceedings with overseas aspects to them.

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Family law Including de-facto property matters

The financial consequences of a separation are an important consideration for any couple and how assets and property will be divided is of significant consequence. Often the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage or relationship cannot be sustained when two households need to be created. We offer robust, pragmatic and supportive advice to clients to assist them to come to arrangements economically and for the benefit of their children.

The discretion of the Family Law Courts to divide property and assets involves an assessment of what the court considers is just and equitable. The Family Law Act and extensive case law sets out what the court must take into account and how assets and property must be divided. Such matters include both financial and non-financial contributions to the assets of the marriage or relationship, factors such as the length of the marriage or relationship, the age and state of health of each of the parties, and their respective earning capacities. There is no ‘one size fits all’ outcome: every matter requires consideration and analysis on a case-by-case basis.

We are experienced in advising on the likely outcome of a case and negotiating an agreement that is just and equitable in all the circumstances. If necessary and appropriate we will also advise about the need to go to court, prepare and assist in the preparation of court documents and affidavits and throughout all court proceedings continue to assist clients to reach an outcome that is just and equitable.

Agreements, reached before or during court proceedings can be documented in a variety of ways, through a consent order filed in the court, or a financial agreement made between the parties without reference to the court. We will advise you of the most appropriate way of resolving your financial proceedings.

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Parenting matters, including Child Support

Every separating parent knows the anxiety and uncertainty that the change in the family arrangements brings for themselves and for their children. We can advise and assist parents to come to arrangements for their children that reflect the children’s best interests, which is the paramount consideration for the court.

The court must ensure that the children’s best interests are met by ensuring that both parents have a meaningful involvement in the children’s lives, protecting the children from harm, ensuring the children receive proper parenting to achieve their full potential and ensuring the parents fulfil their duties and meet their responsibilities for their children’s care welfare and development.

We are experienced in advising on, what orders the court can make about where the children should live, what time they spend or communicate with each parent and specific issues such as decisions about religion, education or changing children’s names.

In those very few, but difficult matters where court orders have failed to ensure that parents fulfil their responsibilities as parents, we can advise and assist on remedies available under the Family Law Act for contravention of parenting orders.

Every parent has a duty to financially support their children, at least until they have finished their secondary education (and in some circumstances beyond). Almost all parents will come under the jurisdiction of the Child Support Agency and the regime for assessment of child support.

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Spousal maintenance

Where either party to a marriage does not have the financial capacity to support themselves and the other party is able to support their spouse financially, the court may make an order for spousal maintenance. This order may be for a short period to allow a person to retrain or renter the workforce. It may be for a long period if the circumstances demand and permit it. As with other financial matters, our advice will reflect the matters the court must take into account on the circumstances of your individual case based on the terms of the Family Law Act and the relevant case law.

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Pre-nuptial agreements

With almost one in two marriages ending in divorce, financial planning and discussions are a prudent pre-requisite for all marrying couples, but in particular for couples entering into a second marriage where either party may have significant assets, or where there are children from a previous marriage to consider.

Since 2000, the Family Law Act has allowed couples to enter into a legally binding ‘pre-nuptial agreement’, providing that certain preconditions have been followed. Careful consideration needs to be given to the terms of any pre-nuptial agreement, to ensure that it is fair document for each party. A pre-nuptial agreement can be complex and is not an agreement that should be left to the last minute.

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Financial agreements for de-facto couples and same sex couples

We regularly advise parties in relationships where they have never married, or couples in same-sex relationships, both of whom are now covered by the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975.

In NSW, since 1 March 2009, de facto and same sex relationships that end after that date, are dealt with in the Family Law Courts rather than the State Courts.  

De-facto and same-sex couples can also enter into financial agreements before or during their relationship and agreements to document the division of assets if the relationship breaks down.

For some couples the provisions of the NSW Property (Relationships) Act 1984, or other NSW or state's legislation may apply, instead of the Family Law Act. We have extensive experience in the state based de facto relationship and same sex law and can provide the necessary and relevant advice in those cases.

While the principles of the Property (Relationships) Act are similar to those of the Family Law Act, they are not identical and each case requires consideration and analysis on a case-by-case basis.

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Wills

Divorce and marriage can affect your will.

We can assist in the preparation of your new will, but in circumstances where there is a complex estate and you need specialist advice to make a more tax effective or detailed will, we will refer you to an appropriate wills/estates specialist.

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