Lawyers for family law issues
“Family Law” in Australia covers a very wide area of relationship issues including:
- Married couples and divorce
- De facto couples
- Children under 18 years – parenting and care and their living arrangements
- Maintenance and property settlements for married couples, de facto couples
Speak to us about your family law issues – 02 8014 5839.
Separating – immediate issues
Are you separating? The stress and emotions of a separation are bad enough by themselves but can be made a lot worse by uncertainty about how to deal with other important issues. For example, do you want advice about:
- Who will stay living in the family home?
- How will you pay living expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, food, power, telephone and car payments until a final property settlement?
- What will happen with any children of the relationship and their need for support?
- In the longer term what are your rights to maintenance, property settlement or even a divorce?
We help people with all of these types of problems. Call us on 02 8014 5839 to solve your problem as we can help you to find a solution. Or you can send us an email to make contact.
Some basics of family law
Australia is a no-fault divorce country:
- The only ground for divorce is that the married couple have lived separately and apart for over 12 months.
- It is also possible for the spouses to live separately and apart under the one roof but evidence is required to satisfy the court that they did in fact live separately.
- You can try and get back together. If you resume cohabitation of a single period of less than 3 months then that period of time does not count in the calculation of 12 months.
- The welfare of children under 18 years is very important. The court cannot grant a divorce unless the court is satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for children of the marriage (or of the household) or that special circumstances justify granting the divorce.
Spousal Maintenance and Property Settlement for married and de factor couples
The Family Law Act provides for the obligation of parties to a marriage or to a de facto relationship for the maintenance of each other and for property settlement.
A de facto relationship is one where the parties have lived together in a genuine domestic basis, generally for a period of at least 2 years or where they have a child of the relationship. The parties can be of the same sex.
Speak to us about your financial rights. We will advise you as to your entitlements and how to secure your rights.
Time limits – there are time limits for claims for maintenance or property orders:
- Parties to the marriage can apply to a court for orders for maintenance or property settlement until 12 months after their divorce has taken effect.
- Parties to a de facto relationship have a period of 2 years after the date of separation to apply for court orders for maintenance or property settlement.
- The courts can grant an extension of time if there are special circumstances however there is no guarantee that the extension will be granted – it is always better to file your application within time.
The Family Law Act strongly supports negotiation of an agreement for financial matters before either party can ordinarily apply for court orders.
Care of children
The Family Law Act also makes provision for parenting orders in favour of the parties to the marriage or de facto relationship or by others involved in the care of the children such as grandparents. The Family Law Act also requires the parties to attempt to come to an agreement for the care of the children before approaching the court to determine their dispute and to make final parenting orders – see the information on the court website. The courts can hear urgent applications in appropriate circumstances.
Children’s financial support – each parent has an obligation to provide financial support for children of the relationship. The amount that each party has to pay for child support is now carried out by the Australian Department of Human Services using a statutory formula. The Department website contains useful information about the system and a calculator where you can check the likely liability for child support. It also has an online application facility where you can make the application for support – please follow the link.
In most cases each party pays their own legal fees. In other court systems in Australia the courts will normally order the losing party to pay some or all of the successful party’s legal fees. The family law system is basically a “no-costs” jurisdiction where costs orders are not normally made. The family law courts can order a party to pay the other parties legal fees in unusual circumstances.
We will advise you on how to increase your chance of obtaining a costs order from the other party.
Speak to us about your family law issues – call us on 02 8014 5839. Or send us an email.