For most people, the breakdown of any relationship is a challenging time, whether it be a marriage or de-facto relationship. Dealing with the various requirements of the family law system can add to the challenges.
At E&A Lawyers, we guide you through these challenges by providing you with expert family law advice designed to achieve the most practical and cost-effective resolution possible, tailored to your specific circumstances. We also pride ourselves on being supportive, yet decisive and practical advocates.
Where your family law matter spans into our areas of legal expertise like estate planning or business and succession law, we have the expertise to deliver a holistic and strategic approach to ensure all your legal needs are met.
A divorce is the legal termination of your marriage. To obtain a divorce in Australia, you must satisfy the court that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of your marriage. This is automatically proved if you and your spouse have lived separately for a period of at least 12 months.
In ideal circumstances, the best arrangements for children and parenting, where relationships break down, are often arrangements agreed to by the parties themselves. Importantly, when considering and formalising parenting arrangements, the ‘best interests of the child’ is paramount.
We work with our clients, and often other experts where needed, to help our clients negotiate arrangements for children that meet the needs of children.
Under the Child Support (Assessment) Act and also at general law, regardless of the time parents spend with their children, they have a legal duty to financially support their children at least until they turn 18 years. The amount of child support payable is based on a statutory formula set out in the child support legislation. This formula takes into account factors including:
In certain circumstances, this formula assessment may be varied to take into account individual circumstances of parents and children.
After separation, in the majority of cases, parties need to divide their assets and liabilities, so that each can be financially independent of the other. The Division of property after a relationship breakdown (either marriage or de facto) is commonly called a ‘property settlement’.
Spousal maintenance is the common term used to describe financial support paid by one party to another following the breakdown of a relationship. People often talk of 'alimony' but that is a term coined primarily for US television dramas. It is payable to the party that is not adequately able to support themselves, by the party who has demonstrated a capacity to pay that support. It is separate to any child support.
If you are in need of financial support after the breakdown of a relationship, then you should obtain advice from a family lawyer about whether you would be eligible for spousal maintenance.
A Binding Financial Agreement (‘BFA’) is an agreement which is made under certain provisions of the Family Law Act (‘the Act’). BFA’s differ from Court Orders or Consent Orders because, if strict requirements are met, they allow parties to agree to arrangements for the division of their property and superannuation, and/or for payment of spousal maintenance, that differs from the Act.
Binding Financial Agreements can be made at the beginning of a marriage or de facto relationship, during the relationship, or after separation. When made at the beginning of a relationship, they are sometimes called "Pre-nuptial" agreements.
Collaborative Law is an out-of-court settlement process where parties to a family law dispute and their lawyers try to reach an agreement together about the issues in dispute. Collaborative dispute resolution differs from other dispute resolution models because the parties and their lawyers all agree and sign a binding contract to resolve the matter using a form of inclusive negotiation.
Mediation is a private process available to parties in a family law matter, where a neutral third person, a mediator, helps the parties discuss issues, set a common agenda to resolve those issues and facilitate discussions to resolve the dispute.
Mediation is a voluntary process, and the mediator has no decision-making power.
Family violence, also referred to as domestic violence, is a broad term used to describe a variety of coercive, controlling and abusive behaviour that occurs between intimate partners and/or other family members. The Family Law Courts have special procedures to identify and manage matters where family violence is present to ensure that vulnerable parties are protected during any court proceedings.
At E&A Lawyers, we screen all new clients to identify any issues around domestic violence, including any threats of family violence. This ensures our advice about substantive legal issues and the options we recommend for resolving any dispute is appropriate.
When you meet with our expert lawyers they'll be ready to provide advice.
Our online system allows you to get started anywhere, any time - and provides information that is instant, personalised, and helpful. We can also assemble your complete relationship history online, which will help us reduce costs you book in for an appointment.