SEPARATION & DIVORCE
We are here to offer you our support and experience in resolving parenting and property settlement disputes.
WE UNDERSTAND YOU
Your relationship has come to an end. Regardless of how this happened, separation can be a stressful, hurtful and difficult time for parents and children. The truth is, you are not alone. Relationship breakdown, separation and divorce affects nearly half of all marriages and de facto relationships.
With determination and the right support many people are able to successfully rebuild their lives after separation, and so can you. What is now critical is that you maintain your integrity as a person ensuring that communications between you and your ex-partner are respectful while making sure you keep your children insulated from conflict.
We know what hostile and litigious break ups do to people and children. We have also seen precious financial resources wasted in an effort to 'win'. In separation, however, there are no winners. To really 'win' in separation means to resolve differences with minimum financial and emotional impact on your family. That is why our focus is on helping you manage this process to achieve this, while also looking after your interests and, particularly, the best interest of your children.
We also work with a network of trusted psychologists and financial planners to ensure that you receive the holistic support you and your family need.
HOW WE WORK
We are strongly focused on helping you go through the family law process with as little financial and emotional stress as possible.
We offer after-hours appointments and can also connect with you via Skype if this makes things easier for you.
During the our first consultation we will:
make a preliminary assessment of your legal issues
identify if you, or your children, are 'at risk', to determine if mediation is appropriate in your circumstances
discuss your short term and long terms objectives
explain the family law process and potential settlement strategies
explain how we work and our fixed-fee service approach.
If you decide to retain us, we will:
send you a Client Agreement, which sets out the terms of our engagement, the scope of work we will perform and our estimated fees
take your instructions
gather from you all the relevant documentation you are required to provide under the Family Law Act 1975
review your case, documentation and any other relevant information you may provide to us
conduct a conference with you to provide you with tailored legal advice and any other recommendations we consider relevant
discuss and direct you to Mediation if this is appropriate in your circumstances. If Mediation is appropriate in your case, we will equip you with solid legal advice so that you can engagement in this process with confidence.
MEDIATION IN CHILDREN MATTERS
Mediation is a compulsory requirement under the Family Law Act 1975, with some exceptions, in family law proceedings. Under the Act a parent wishing to file an application with the court for an order in relation to a child (or children) is required to obtain a Mediation Certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner.
Once the Certificate is issued, then a parent is allowed to file an application for Parenting Orders with a court. There are various types of applications relating to children, but the most common is a Parenting Order, which is an application to ask a court to make binding orders about the parenting arrangements for a child or children.
The rule about compulsory mediation aims at encouraging parents to settle their parenting issues outside the court system. There is no doubt that mediation, as a collaborative process, can produce mutually agreeable outcomes in relation to the future care of children in a speedy, economical and stress free manner.
When Mediation is not compulsory
Mediation, however, may not be appropriate in all cases. There are number of circumstances which exempt parents from engaging in mediation. If there are ground to grant an exception to mediation, then a Mediation Certificate will be issued noting the applicable exemption, for instance where the matter is urgent or where there is a risk or evidence of family violence or child abuse.
FAMILY LAW SERVICES
Separation is not only debilitating on parents but also on children. Making sure children are protected from conflict is an obligation that all separating couples should commit to. We strongly adhere to this principle when helping our clients negotiate parenting arrangements and the many other issues associated with the care of children. While our focus is on reaching out of court agreements, where appropriate, we also provide vigorous court representation for our clients.
If your separation involves property matters, we can provide you with valuable assistance to determine how income, financial resources and debts are divided between you and your former spouse or partner. These decisions can be complex and stressful, and poorly informed arrangements can have significant long-term consequences. If you want to achieve the best possible long-term outcomes in regards to your property entitlements, we can help.
Divorce is the legal termination of marriage. Since in Australia we have the ‘no fault’ divorce rule, there is no need to show that the marriage breakdown was the result of a particular behaviour by one of the spouses. If you have been separated for more than 12 months and there is no possibility of reconciliation that would provide sufficient grounds for getting a divorce. The rules are different, however, if the marriage lasted for less than 2 years.
Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) de facto couples have similar rights and obligations as married couples. This means that if you are in a de facto relationship any disputes over your children or property will need to be resolved by the same legal rules applicable to married couples. The law provides that a de facto relationship can exist in same-sex relationships, and even in cases where one of the parties is legally married to another person or is in another de facto relationship.
A Binding Financial Agreement (also known as a prenuptial) is an out of court document that formalises agreements between married, de facto and same sex partners, before, during or after a relationship breakdown. For good or bad, a high percentage of relationships end up in separation, and by having a Binding Financial Agreement in place you can significantly reduce the stress that comes with negotiating who gets what after separation.
Unfortunately domestic violence happens too often. The law says that domestic violence not only includes physical abuse but also emotional and financial abuse. If you are experiencing any form of domestic violence, please seek help. You have rights with respect to your safety and that of your children. An Interim Intervention Order can be made against a partner or any person based on infliction of violence, threatened violence, stalking or intimidation.