Family Law

Separating from your partner can be one of the most difficult and stressful times of your life.

There are often many things that need to be dealt with straight away, such as your immediate financial needs, and arrangements for the care of your children. Your immediate focus might be on your safety, or the safety of your children.

There may then be matters such as the division of assets and liabilities that need to be dealt with as swiftly and as cost effectively as possible.

If you have already reached an agreement with your former partner as to parenting and/or property matters, then that agreement will need to be documented in a binding and enforceable way. Often, that will be by way of a Consent Order, or for financial matters a Binding Financial Agreement may be more appropriate for you.

There are very specific matters that should be taken into account in preparing the documents setting out an agreement, and we strongly suggest obtaining legal advice before entering into any agreement or signing any documents.

Your agreement might involve child support payments, and if so, a Child Support Agreement will need to be entered into. A Child Support Agreement is a very particular kind of document, and it is compulsory to obtain independent legal advice before signing such a document.

If you are unable to reach agreement with your former partner, there are a number of avenues to attempt to resolve a family law dispute, which do not always involve Court proceedings. Family Dispute Resolution procedures are an important part of this process. Indeed, in children’s matters you will be required to attend mediation or Family Dispute Resolution before commencing Court proceedings (with some exceptions).

Sometimes, it is appropriate to go to Court. If that is necessary our solicitors are well-equipped to provide you with the advice and advocacy you will need.

In Australia, you are entitled to a property settlement if you have been married or in a de facto (including same sex) relationship. You are also entitled to the Court’s assistance in determining parenting matters that cannot be resolved in by alternative dispute resolution processes.

The Family Law team at Butler McDermott Lawyers are dedicated to assisting you in all your family law matters.  We are available to guide you through this difficult time, and assist you in finalising your matter in an appropriate way, as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

Obtaining legal advice early on is always the best approach. Complications can arise the longer a matter remains unresolved. For financial matters, time limits may apply.

If you have a family law enquiry, please do not hesitate to contact our office today for an appointment.

Binding Financial Agreements

A Binding Financial Agreement is a written contract between two (or more) people, pursuant to Part VIII or Part VIIIAB of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

A Financial Agreement is an umbrella term used to refer to agreements that parties can enter into before, during or after a relationship, and can be entered into by married couples, de facto couples, couples of the same sex or opposite sex.

A Financial Agreement can often be an appropriate way of finalising the division of your assets and liabilities.

The parties to a Binding Financial Agreement must have received independent legal advice on specific matters before signing the Agreement.

We are able to assist you in preparing and advising on a Binding Financial Agreement, or providing you with the necessary legal advice if you have been presented with a Binding Financial Agreement.

Please note that we do not prepare the following types of Financial Agreements:-

  • In contemplation of a marriage (Section 60B).

  • In contemplation of a de facto relationship (Section 90UB).

  • During a marriage (Section 90C).

  • During a de facto relationship (Section 90UC).

However the types of Financial Agreements that we can assist you with are those that apply after the breakdown of a relationship or marriage, or after a divorce.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you require more information on Financial Agreements.

Divorce and Separation

Separation is when you stop living together as a couple, even if you are still residing under the same roof.

Separating from your partner can be one of the most difficult and traumatic periods of time in one’s life.

It is important to get legal help when you end a marriage, de-facto or registered relationship. You may require urgent assistance with children’s matters or financial relief. Time limits may apply to property and spousal maintenance matters.

At Butler McDermott Lawyers, our Family Law team can help you through the difficult process of separating with your partner and ensure that the necessary steps are taken.

We are also happy to assist you with an Application for Divorce.

For further advice on divorce and separation, please contact our office today for an appointment.

Property Settlements

In Australia, you are entitled to a property settlement if you have been married or in a de facto (including same sex) relationship.

Whilst the Family Law Act 1975 sets out a process by which a property settlement should be determined, the Family Law Courts have a broad discretion as to how to deal with each matter.

Everybody’s circumstances are different, and the Court recognises that when determining a property settlement.

If you have separated from your partner, or you are intending to separate, it is important to seek legal advice as to your entitlements both in the long term and in the short term.

If you and your partner have reached an agreement as to the division of your assets, liabilities and financial resources, we are happy to assist you in formalising that agreement and providing you with the appropriate advice.

If you are unable to reach agreement with your former partner, there are a number of avenues to attempt to resolve a family law dispute which do not always involve Court proceedings. Family Dispute Resolution procedures are an important part of this process. Indeed, in children’s matters you will be required to attend mediation or Family Dispute Resolution before commencing Court proceedings (with some exceptions).

Sometimes, it is appropriate to go to Court. If that is necessary our solicitors are well-equipped to provide you with the advice and advocacy you will need.

The Family Law team at Butler McDermott Lawyers are dedicated to assisting you in all your family law matters. We are available to guide you through this difficult time, and assist you in finalising your matter in an appropriate way, as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

Obtaining legal advice early on is always the best approach. Complications can arise the longer a matter remains unresolved. For financial matters, time limits may apply.

In the event of separation from your partner, arrangements need to be made about property. This can be quite a stressful process. A division of assets and liabilities will need to be dealt with as swiftly and as cost effectively as possible.

Please contact our office today for an appointment.

Children’s matters

When parents separate, the most difficult and challenging problem is often agreeing on how much time a child should spend with each parent.

We are able to assist you in all aspects of parenting matter, including:-

  • Mediation/Family Dispute Resolution.

  • General Family Law advice.

  • Family Reports.

  • Preparing a Court Application on your behalf.

  • Acting on your behalf throughout the Court process, if that step becomes necessary.

For further advice on children and parenting matters, please contact our office today for an appointment.

Domestic and Family Violence

The perception of domestic violence is often that of physical violence, however domestic violence can also include many other forms of abusive behaviour.

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 defines domestic violence as being behaviour by a person (the first person) towards another person (the second person) with whom the first person is in a relevant relationship that—

  • is physically or sexually abusive; or

  • is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or

  • is economically abusive; or

  • is threatening; or

  • is coercive; or

  • in any other way controls or dominates the second person and causes the second person to fear for the second person's safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 further define acts of domestic violence as including:

  • causing personal injury to a person or threatening to do so;

  • coercing a person to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so;

  • damaging a person's property or threatening to do so;

  • depriving a person of the person's liberty or threatening to do so;

  • threatening a person with the death or injury of the person, a child of the person, or someone else;

  • threatening to commit suicide or self-harm so as to torment, intimidate or frighten the person to whom the behaviour is directed;

  • causing or threatening to cause the death of, or injury to, an animal, whether or not the animal belongs to the person to whom the behaviour is directed, so as to control, dominate or coerce the person;

  • unauthorised surveillance of a person;

  • unlawfully stalking a person.

If you are a victim of domestic or family violence, we are able to talk with you about the options that may be available to you for your protection.  You may require a Protection Order, in which case we can represent you in making that Application, or guide you through that process as required.

If you have been served with a Protection Order Application, we can discuss with you your options, and represent you in Court if necessary.

For further advice on divorce and separation, please contact our office today for an appointment.

Enforcing Your Parenting / Property / Maintenance Orders

Sometimes people avoid adhering to parenting or property orders or simply fail to comply with them.

Breaching a Court Order can be very serious. The Family Law Courts have broad powers of enforcement, which include making Orders to assist a party by way of enforcement, and Orders punishing the person in default of an Order. The Court can also make an Order for contempt of Court.

Where appropriate, the Court can also Order that documents and instruments be signed by the Court on behalf of a defaulting party.

The Court also has broad powers to make Orders if a party breaches a Parenting Order without reasonable excuse.

Seeking an Order from the Court may not always be the most appropriate or cost-effective way of ensuring the enforcement of your Orders. Our Family Law team are happy to discuss with you the various options that may be available to you.

If you require assistance in the enforcement of Court Orders, please contact our office today for an appointment.

Same Sex and De Facto Relationships

In Australia, the family law legislation applicable to de facto couples (including same sex couples) is nearly the same as for married couples.

The Court may make a property and/or maintenance order in relation to a de facto relationship only if they are satisfied that:

  • A de facto relationship has existed for at least 2 years; or

  • There is a child of the de facto relationship; or

  • A party to the relationship made substantial financial and non-financial contributions, and that failure to make the order would result in serious injustice to that party.

Whilst the Family Law Act 1975 sets out a process by which a property settlement should be determined, the Family Law Courts have a broad discretion as to how to deal with each matter.

Everybody’s circumstances are different, and the Court recognises that when determining a property settlement.

If you have separated from your partner, or you are intending to separate, it is important to seek legal advice as to your entitlements both in the long term and in the short term.

If you and your partner have reached an agreement as to the division of your assets, liabilities and financial resources, we are happy to assist you in formalising that agreement and providing you with the appropriate advice.

If you are unable to reach agreement with your former partner, there are a number of avenues to attempt to resolve a family law dispute which do not always involve Court proceedings. Family Dispute Resolution procedures are an important part of this process. Indeed, in children’s matters you will be required to attend mediation or Family Dispute Resolution before commencing Court proceedings (with some exceptions).

Sometimes, it is appropriate to go to Court. If that is necessary our solicitors are well-equipped to provide you with the advice and advocacy you will need.

The Family Law team at Butler McDermott Lawyers are dedicated to assisting you in all your family law matters. We are available to guide you through this difficult time, and assist you in finalising your matter in an appropriate way, as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

If your de facto relationship broke down prior to 1 March 2009, different rules apply and we suggest that you contact us for legal advice as soon as possible.

Obtaining legal advice early on is always the best approach. Complications can arise the longer a matter remains unresolved. For property and/or maintenance matters relating to de facto relationships, a time limit applies. You have two (2) years from the date of separation to make an Application to the Court. If you do not do so within that timeframe, you have to seek the leave of the Court to apply, and such leave will only be granted under certain circumstances. It is therefore preferable to seek legal advice as early as practicable.

For advice on family law matters, please contact our office today for an appointment.

 

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