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Family & Relationship Law

Divorce Applications

To be successful with an Application for a Divorce Order, certain procedural steps must be taken and evidence put before the Court.

Australia operates a ‘no fault’ divorce system. The reasons for the breakdown of the marriage need not be disclosed to the Court. Rather the Court must be satisfied the marriage has broken down irretrievably. To meet this criteria, you must have been separated for a period of 12 months, and confirm that there is no reasonable likelihood that you will reconcile.

If there are children of the marriage under the age of 18, the Court must be satisfied that there are proper arrangements in place before making the Divorce Order.

We can assist with Divorce Applications, including those where you are separated but are still living under the same roof.

Property Settlements

Property settlements can be resolved in a number of ways and finalised by way of Consent Order or Binding Financial Agreement. This can occur without having to Court, but sometimes this is not possible.

Each party’s entitlement to a property settlement depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the pool assets,
  • what contributions each party has made to the relationship (which can be in many forms),
  • whether there are any relevant future needs (such as age, health, income issues), and
  • what would be a just and equitable division having considered these factors.

Depending on your circumstances, this can be a complex area to navigate. It is important to obtain advice on your rights, obligations and likely entitlements so you can make informed decisions.

We recommend you seek advice promptly, as it may be the case that protective steps need to be taken at any early stage, to prevent assets being diminished or disposed of. Time limits also apply.

Pre-nuptial & Relationship Agreements

There are many labels for these types of agreements. The legal world refers to them as ‘Binding Financial Agreements’ but they are often referred to by lay people as ‘Pre-Nuptial Agreements’ or ‘Separation Agreements’. They can be entered into before or during a de facto relationship or marriage, and following separation.

They are often used where there is an inequality of financial positions, or if there are certain assets which you may seek to protect in the event of separation. They can address a whole host of issues, including how assets including superannuation will be divided and what maintenance (if any) is to be provided by one party to another.

If these agreements are set up in the correct way, they can be an effective tool to protect your assets, and create certainty should a separation occur. However, the legislation requires very strict compliance with the necessary formalities for an agreement to become binding, so careful and considered drafting is of utmost importance.

Some of these agreements can be simple, and other more complex depending on the circumstances. We recommend you seek advice regarding your options, as they may be other alternatives available to you, including Consent Orders.

Children & Parenting

Dealing with children and parenting issues following separation can be very difficult to deal with. The paramount and guiding principle when dealing with these issues is what is in the children’s best interests. Whilst emotions may be running high, it is important to remember this principle.

We guide you through all of the important issues which should be considered:

  • where will the children live,
  • how much time they will spend with the other parent,
  • what will happen on special occasions and holidays,
  • other issues such as education, health, religion and financial support.

We encourage amicable resolutions where this is possible, but deal frequently with the Court where necessary. We also deal with Recovery and Location matters, where children are being withheld.

We recommend you seek advice regarding your rights, responsibilities and obligations.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is often required and justified in circumstances where one party to a marriage (or relationship if de facto) is unable to adequately financially support themselves. However, it is not automatic, and there are certain criteria to satisfy in order to be successful in either negotiating the payment of spousal maintenance, or obtaining an order in your favour from the Court.

Spousal maintenance can be paid by way of ongoing periodic payments for a certain timeframe, or can be by way of lump sum or transfer of asset/s.

We recommend you obtain advice promptly as time limits do apply.

Child Support

Parents have a responsibility to provide financial support for their children. This continues to be the case even if parents separate.

We can assist you with a whole range of child support related issues, including private child support agreements, departure applications, stay orders, appeals from the SSAT and applications to review/object to assessments and child support decisions.

This area of law can be complex, and we recommend you obtain expert advice.

Mediation

Mediation is often successfully used to resolve family law disputes. It can occur as part of a Court-ordered process, or as an attempt to reach a resolution without having to go to Court. Mediation can occur in different forms, including round table mediations, or shuttle mediations where the parties are separated and the mediator goes back and forth.

You can expect the mediator to identify the issues in disputes, and explore options of how to achieve a mutually agreeable resolution or test how possible solutions may occur. You are able to freely negotiate and consider possible outcomes with the knowledge that the process is confidential.

We find the key to successful mediation is preparation, and having the right advice during the process. We recommend you seek advice regarding your options, and whether mediation is appropriate in your circumstances.

Domestic Violence

There are many forms of domestic violence. The Act defines this as behaviour that is physically or sexually abusive, emotionally or psychologically abusive, economically abusive, threatening, coercive or in any other way controls or dominates another person to fear for their safety or that of someone else.

To be successful in an application for a domestic violence order, there are a number of criteria that the Court must be satisfied of. This includes a relevant relationship between the perpetrator and person subject to the domestic, that domestic violence has occurred, and that it is either necessary or desirable for the order to be made.

If you are experiencing domestic violence or abusive behaviour, we recommend you seek legal advice regarding your options. You can talk to us in confidence, and we can guide you through the process.

Paternity

The question of paternity can be a common dispute, which can be related to other issues such as parental responsibilty for the child, financial arrangements and what time the parents will spend with the child.

There are certain presumptions made in the legislation which may apply or may need to be disproved, depending on the particular circumstances of the case. The process often involves paternity testing where there is evidence to put the parentage of the child in doubt.

There are specific procedures which must be complied with when testing is carried out and results being reported.

We can guide you through the process, and provide you with the right advice.

Advisors

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    Helena

Business today has a minefield of traps for the unwary.
Thank god their are still reputable and sincere legal practices like "Mumford Lawyers" on the coast whom one can rely on for legal clarity and positive results. I hold Helena Mumford and her legal team in highest regard.

Steve Evans and Ayumi Yamanaka
Solas Propellers Directors "Miszuri property Trust"

When any of my clients need legal and/or estate matters attended to, I shall send them over to you so they can also benefit from your expertise and attention to detail.

Philippa

0ver the past 15 months, I have found Helena's thoughtfulness and professionalism just wonderful. I will certainly miss the contact with Helena, (due to my case closer to finality) as I have enjoyed her friendship. I can thoroughly recommend Mumfords Lawyers with great merit.

Celia Sheedy