Family law can be confusing and complicated. Our role as lawyers is to help you understand your legal rights, provide you with options, and empower you to make informed decisions about your future. Each person’s story is unique, but whatever your situation, it is likely that we would have previously helped somebody like you.
We practice in all areas of family law, including:
- Divorce and separation
- De facto relationships
- Property and financial settlements including property transfers
- Children’s matters – parenting plans and parenting orders
- Parental and grandparent’s rights
- Family mediation – children and/or property matters
- Domestic and family violence and apprehended violence orders
- Divorce in Australia including preparing and serving divorce papers
- Spousal maintenance
- Child support agreements
- Reviewing and updating your Will and estate plan post-separation
We are experienced in negotiation and mediation and focus on settling disputes in the most amicable, efficient, and affordable way possible. We encourage our clients to explore these options before proceeding to court.
Dividing your property
A property settlement involves the formal division of assets, financial resources, and liabilities between a couple whose relationship has broken down. It legally finalises their financial affairs and enables them to move on with their respective financial lives. If you and your ex-partner agree on a property settlement, you should ensure that the agreement is legally formalised. If you do not, you may leave yourself open to future claims and may not be entitled to certain stamp duty or capital gains tax relief.
You can formalise the division of your property through consent orders or by entering into a financial agreement (also known as a binding financial agreement).
Consent orders are filed with the court and if the court believes they are just and equitable the court will make the orders, which makes them legally binding. It is important to receive legal advice before agreeing to consent orders.
A financial agreement is a written agreement between the parties that must comply with certain formalities to be valid, including the requirement for each party to receive independent legal advice before entering the agreement.
If your matter cannot be settled, you may need to go to court. In working out your entitlements in a property settlement, the court will take the following approach (which is usually also followed when reaching an out-of-court agreement):
- assess the value of the property pool – taking into consideration real estate, shares, investments, business interests, motor vehicles, furniture, cash, superannuation, etc.
- consider the financial and non-financial contributions made by the parties (taking particular note of any gifts of money, inheritances or windfalls)
- assess any adjustments for the parties’ future needs such as the care of children, health problems and/or income disparity
- determine an overall division that is just and equitable in the circumstances and how to best divide the property pool.
Parenting arrangements can address issues such as where children live, how much time they spend with each parent and other specific issues in relation to education or healthcare. Family law legislation requires that parenting arrangements must be made in the best interests of the child. There is a presumption that shared parental responsibility is best for the child, but this will not always be the case. Shared parental responsibility means that parents are required to consult each other regarding long term decisions for the child and does not necessarily mean that the child will spend equal time with each parent.
Parenting arrangements can be achieved through a parenting plan, consent orders or court proceedings. In most cases, the parties will need to attend Family Dispute Resolution before bringing an application for parenting orders to the Court.
Domestic violence advocacy
To obtain a Protection Order (Domestic Violence Order) in Queensland, the Court must be convinced of three elements: a relevant relationship exists; that domestic violence has occurred; and that an Order is necessary and/or desirable.
Family violence includes actual or threatened assault or sexual assault, stalking, derogatory and intimidating remarks, intentional damage or destruction of property, unreasonable suppression of financial resources or support, and preventing or depriving a family member of his or her cultural connections or freedom.
If you are impacted by domestic violence, we can assist by:
- Drafting and filing an Application for Protection Order
- Responding to an Application for Protection Order
- Negotiating with the other party in an application
- Representing you in Court at mentions and at Trial
- Making an urgent Application for Protection Order
Legal Aid and deferred fees
If you are worried about your legal fees, you may be eligible for Legal Aid funding or assistance for certain matters and in specified circumstances. We are Legal Aid providers and can lodge an application for assistance. In some matters Legal Aid may require a small contribution from an applicant, and you will be advised of this at the time Legal Aid is approved.
Alternatively, you may wish to enquire whether a deferred fee arrangement is available in your circumstances and the pros and cons of such arrangements. Deferred fees are fees that are charged, but payment is deferred until the conclusion of your matter. These arrangements may suit family law property matters where the parties might have some assets but no available cash, or one party to the relationship controls all assets to the exclusion of the other.
If you have recently separated, you can take steps today to understand your entitlements and options to protect yourself and help you move forward. We strive to keep you out of court wherever possible so you can achieve a cost-effective and timely outcome for your family law matter. Should court proceedings become necessary, we are strong advocates with significant experience representing clients for a range of issues. As a valued client, you will receive frequent and open communication so you always know what is happening in your family law matter.