Our family law team is headed by accredited specialists Donal Minehan and Kylie Holmes. Together they have had over 60 years' experience in advising clients about family law issues.
Donal and Kylie encourage their clients to attempt to solve family law disputes by negotiation and alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation. They can assist in advising in all aspects of family law including disputes regarding children, property, de facto relationships, child support and pre-nuptial agreements. They are caring and reliable and will act in your best interests in a cost effective way.
The breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship can be a very emotional and turbulent period in a person's life. It is a time when caring professional advice can be invaluable.
We can help by providing you with confidential advice prior to or after separation so you can make important decisions which will affect your future life. We can also refer you to other appropriate professional advisers such as counsellors, mediators, financial planners and accountants who can assist you during this difficult period.
You can apply for a divorce after you have been separated for 12 months. In some circumstances, you can be separated although living in the same house as your spouse.
A Divorce Application can be made to the Federal Circuit Court. If there are children under 18 years, the person applying is required to attend Court and the Court must be satisfied proper arrangements are made for the children. The divorce becomes final one month after a Decree Nisi has been granted by the Court.
We can assist you by advising on the preparation of Court documents and can appear in Court on your behalf if necessary.
The Family Court can make orders relating to the care, welfare and development of the children. These orders usually provide that the children live with one of their parents and spend time with the other parent. However, other persons such as grandparents can make an application in relation to the living arrangements for children. The Court considers the best interests of the children as the paramount consideration.
The Family Court can make orders for children regardless of whether the parents were married.
We can provide you with advice as to likely outcomes if the matter proceeds to Court and can assist in directing you to counselling, mediation and other professional advisers to assist you to resolve the living arrangements for the children.
An application for child support can be made to the Child Support Agency. The amount of support payable is based on a formula set out in the Child Support Legislation. It is based on the number of children, the incomes of both the parents and how many nights the children live with each of you.
Parents of children may also enter into a Binding Child Support Agreement in lieu of an assessment from the Child Support Agency. The agreement can be made for any amount that both parents agree to, including amounts less than the formula assessment. The Agreement requires that both the parents to have had independent legal advice.
We can assist you by advising you how to make an application and also advise you whether you have any grounds to ask for a review of the assessment made by the Child Support Agency. We can also prepare a Binding Child Support Agreement on your behalf.
You can now come to an agreement with your partner to regulate your financial arrangements during your relationship and in the event it should break down.
If you are married or intend to marry, you can enter into a Financial Agreement under the Family Law Act. The Act requires both parties to be in a de facto relationship, or intend to enter into a de facto relationship, be independently advised before enter into the Agreement.
We can assist you by advising on the range of matters that can be included in an agreement and can prepare the agreement on your behalf.
In March 2009 significant changes were made to the Family Law Act 1975 in relation the to de-facto relationships. Property settlements for separating De facto are now governed by the Family Law Act so that persons leaving unsuccessful de facto relationship can pursue property settlements in much the same way as married couples who have separated.
As with married couples, the courts takes four things into account in determining a property settlement: the size of the asset pool, which includes assets acquired before or during the relationship and those owned separately or together, the contributions made to the asset pool by each person, the future needs of the parties and overall fairness.
A person is in a de-facto relationship if they can show that you have lived with another person for at least two years. If the relationship has lasted less than two years, a person may still be able to make a claim under the Family Law Act if, for example, there is a child of the relationship or either person made substantial contributions (financial or personal) for which they will not receive adequate compensation if the Family Court does not make orders for property settlement.
We can assist in property, children and spousal maintenance matters arising out of the breakdown of de-facto relationships.
The Family Court can make orders for property settlement. The factors to be taken into account in working out what a spouse may be entitled to in a property settlement are often involved and complex.
The Court will first determine what the assets of the marriage are and their value. Next, the Court will consider what contributions the parties have made to the acquisition, improvement and maintenance of those assets, both direct and indirect, and whether the contributions are of a financial nature or are non-financial. Lastly, the Court will consider making orders adjusting property interests taking into account a number of factors such as the parties' age, state of health, earning capacity, the length of the marriage, financial commitments and the care of any children.
We can assist you by giving you advice on likely outcomes in Court and negotiate on your behalf to assist in resolving the matter.
If Court proceedings eventuate, we will attend Court and compulsory conferences with you and assist to settle proceedings in a timely and cost effective manner.