Separation and Divorce

“Relationship breakdown is an enormously stressful life event. We work to reduce the emotional and financial cost and make the transition easier for everyone concerned.” – Nicole Le Pou, Family Lawyer.

Married couples, de facto and same sex relationships.

When a relationship has reached an end and it’s time to for two people to separate, it can cause a major upset for everyone concerned. The practical and emotional issues are the same for the separating couple, regardless of the nature of their relationship.

We seek to reduce the stress of this transition by working towards a sensitively negotiated settlement rather than engaging in a long drawn out “battle” of wills. We recommend counselling for couples where appropriate and promote mediation as a process for raising settlement options and negotiating a resolution of all issues.

We do this by providing a flexible and customised approach to family law that will help you feel more at ease during this challenging time.

By placing you back in control of the legal process you gain more control of your life and of your situation. We provide a customised family law solution that replaces the chaos of relationship breakdown with practical options and a feeling of being “in charge” of the situation.

If you’re about to separate, or you’ve reached a crossroad in your relationship, we can advise you about your rights and entitlements with regards to family law and provide practical solutions regarding:

Family Dispute Resolution

“Family Dispute Resolution is a great way to avoid the emotional and financial burden of court proceedings.”  – Nicole Le Pou, Principal Family Lawyer.

An alternative to going to Family Court.

Our aim is always to avoid going to Family Court unless absolutely necessary. This is because going to court is a costly, stressful and an unpredictable undertaking for everyone involved. It’s to be seen as an absolute last resort when all other avenues of mediation have been exhausted.

The Family Law Act 1975 requires a person to make an attempt to resolve disputes about parenting matters using family dispute resolution services before applying to a court for a parenting order.

The objectives of mandatory dispute resolution is to:

  • Encourage early and full disclosure through the exchange of information and documents about the prospective case;
  • Help people resolve differences quickly and fairly, and to avoid legal action where possible - this limits costs and hopefully avoids the need to start a court case;
  • Help parties (where an agreement cannot be reached out of court) to identify the real issues in dispute – this also should help reduce time involved and cost of the case; and
  • Encourage parties to seek only those orders that are realistic and reasonable on the evidence.

The Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) Process

Changes have been made to the family law system to encourage parents to develop cooperative parenting solutions without going to court. Family dispute resolution is a practical way for separating families to try to resolve any disagreements and make arrangements for the future.

The Family Law Act 1975 (the Act) requires you to obtain a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner before you file an application for an order in relation to a child.

What are the exemptions to providing a certificate?

Under section 60I(9) of the Act, you can seek an exemption from providing a certificate in the following circumstances:

  • If your matter is urgent;
  • If the Court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
  • There has been child abuse and/or family violence
  • There is a risk of family violence by a party, and/or,
  • There is a risk of child abuse if there were to be a delay in applying to the Court;
  • Where a party is unable to participate effectively in family dispute resolution (for example, due to an incapacity to do so, or physical remoteness);
  • If your application relates to an alleged contravention of an existing order that was made within the last 12 months.

Read more about Family Dispute Resolution on the Family Law Courts website.

As part of our accessible approach to Family Dispute Resolution, we can help you with all - or part of - the process.  Got a question? Please call us on (03) 7002 6222 or send us an email enquiry for more information. 

Ready to start the conversation?

Call us today on (03) 7002 6222 or send us an email enquiry

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