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We Approach Family Law Differently

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Our family lawyers understand these disputes can be highly emotive and stressful as they come at a difficult period of your life. We therefore do what we can to prevent you from having to go to Court. We encourage the resolution of disputes, through negotiation, conciliation and counselling.

Where this is not possible, we will prepare and conduct proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia with the utmost professionalism.

Salisbury based CARES Family Lawyers will be able to assist you in all areas of Family Law including:

  • Divorce
  • Children’s Issues and Parenting Orders including:
    • living with arrangements (formerly residence/custody)
    • spending time with arrangements (formerly contact)
    • relocation applications (i.e. change of child’s address)
  • Matrimonial & De facto Property Settlement including:
    • superannuation splitting orders
    • same sex partnerships
  • Urgent Orders including:
    • Location orders
    • Recovery orders
  • International Children’s Issues including:
    • Hague Convention applications
  • Enforcement of Orders (e.g. ensuring compliance with Orders) including:
    • Contravention applications
  • Spousal Maintenance
  • Domestic Violence
  • The rights of Grandparents, Step-Grandparents & significant persons
  • Paternity
  • Wills and Enduring Powers of Attorney and Guardianship
  • Annulment of Marriages
Family disputes can be stressful. Let our Family Lawyers at CARES Lawyers guide you through the process, to find a brighter day.

Common questions about Family Law

You need to be separated for 12 months prior to the date of filing your divorce application. If you have been married for less than two years you will need to either attend counselling with a family counsellor (or nominated counsellor) or seek permission of the Court to apply for a divorce.
No. Divorce does not deal with property settlement (the division of assets). What it does do is set the time limit of 12 months from the date your divorce is finalised in which to file Court proceedings for property settlement. What does this mean? If your divorce becomes finalised and you are unable to agree on a property settlement within 12 months, you will be out of time to make an application to the Court for property settlement. You may of course still apply out of time, but there are no guarantees that the Court will accept your application and you will need good reasons why the application has been made out of time.
You may remarry once your divorce has become finalised. This is usually one month and one day after your divorce hearing. Before paying the caterers we recommend obtaining the divorce order first just in case the Court requires further information at the divorce hearing and the divorce is delayed.
There is no fault in Australia. The only requirement is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. What does this mean? There is no reasonable likelihood that you will get back together. You must be separated for at least 12 months prior to the date of filing your divorce application in order to satisfy the Court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
Perhaps. The answer to this question will depend on your situation. If you and your spouse are making a joint application, generally you will not be required to attend. If you are making a sole application and you have children under 18 you will be required to attend. If there is anything out of the ordinary with your application or if you are making a request of the Court you should attend.
There is no requirement to go to Court when parties have split (even when children are involved). Certainly at CARES Lawyers we do our best to keep your dispute from the Court room. When you split from your partner, or even if you are thinking about splitting, you need legal advice. You need to have an understanding about how the Family Law Act 1975 will apply to your situation.
A lawyer will help you ascertain if the settlement is a fair and equitable one. They will also be able to draw up an agreement which is legally binding to protect you in the future. Both parties are unable to see the same lawyer because each party must receive independent legal advice.
No. A statutory declaration is not legally binding. Property settlement agreements can only be made binding by either Consent Minutes of Order (CMO) or Binding Financial Agreement (BFA).
This document contains the agreement of your property settlement and/or children’s issues and is lodged with the Family Court. So long as it is considered by the Court as fair and equitable (for property settlement) and in the best interests of the child/children (for children’s issues) it will be given the seal of the Court and your agreement will be made legally binding.
This document contains the agreement for your property settlement. It does not need to go before the Court but each party must receive independent legal advice. The agreement must adhere to all the requirements of the Family Law Act 1975 to be legally binding.
Your legal fees will depend on the level of cooperation between you and your ex-partner. If an agreement has already been reached a legally binding document can be drawn up for a fixed fee and your matter has been resolved at the low end of a cost estimate. If parties fail to reach an agreement legal fees can be extensive. We promise to keep you informed of our costs throughout the process and to provide other alternatives if possible.
It is a really good idea to seek some legal advice. A solicitor will be able to discuss the pros and cons of the options available to you and tailor a solution that will best suit your needs whilst always remaining child focused.

Very generally your options are as follows:

  1. Verbal agreement. There is no requirement that parties have to go to Court or record their arrangements for their children. Verbal arrangements work best when parents are able to communicate well with each other and have minimal disagreements.
  2. Complete a Parenting Plan. This is a record of the arrangements made, which is signed and dated by both parents. Whilst it is not legally binding it is legally significant (i.e. a Judge will take this Parenting Plan into consideration when working out what is in the best interests of the child). A Parenting Plan is accepted by Centrelink and the Child Support Agency.
  3. Seek legal assistance with the drafting of Consent Minutes of Order. This makes your agreement with your ex-partner regarding arrangements for your child/children legally binding. Keep in mind that the only way to change a Court Order is via agreement with the other party or by Order of the Court (i.e. going to Court and asking them to change it).

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