Family Law

Are you facing a situation of family breakdown or family disputes?

The two most common issues which people face result from Separation or Divorce.

The first major issue that arises in a separation or divorce is how the assets of the marriage or relationship are to be distributed after the marriage or relationship is dissolved.  This is called a PROPERTY SETTLEMENT.  A property settlement is normally done by consent between each of the parties to a marriage or relationship, however, if consent cannot be achieved, a Court can make an order for this under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).  When a court makes and order like this it considers four main things: the assets of the relationship, the contributions by each of the parties, the future needs of each party and any just and equitable considerations which the Court thinks necessary.    Once a settlement has been made an Order of a Court, it is potentially a criminal offence not to comply with it which is why Court Orders are considered more effective than other types of dispute resolution mechanisms.

The second major issue which people face in Family Law is the custody of children.  In the language of the law, this is called a PARENTING ORDER.  Again, Parenting Orders can be agreed between the parties to a divorce or separation and if they cannot agree then the Court will make a decision based on the best interests and the welfare of the children.  It is presumed under the law that equal shared parental responsibility is the best model of care for children and there must be some evidence given in particular cases as to why this model should not be followed.  The presumption can be rebutted if there is evidence that one parent is not suitable to care for a child because of an aspect of their lifestyle which is undesirable such as an an addiction to drugs or alcohol or some other characteristic which is not associated with responsible parenting.

We can advise you on all aspects of separation and divorce including spousal maintenance , child support, property divisions and superannuation splitting.