Family Law

Adjust to new circumstances with the guidance of an expert legal team

The breakdown of a relationship can be emotionally challenging and often involves complex legal processes that must be resolved before either party can move on with their lives. Given the emotional nature of family relationships, we understand you are undergoing significant stress during these difficult circumstances. Our experienced lawyers are here to provide you with legal support to work through the maze of family law, whether it be lodging your divorce, selling property or dealing with parenting matters for children of the relationship.

We are experienced mediators and embrace innovative methods to resolve complex family law disputes. Our lawyers provide clear and easy to understand advice, with regular communication throughout the entire process and approach each new family law case with the utmost sensitivity, professionalism, and respect.

Our experienced lawyers assisted many different kinds of families achieve just and equitable outcomes through either negotiation, mediation and/or litigation. Whether you need representation in court, or assistance in drafting formal documentation, Duffy & Simon will be able to help.

If you would like advice, representation or assistance in an area of family law, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 03 5941 1622.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I have recently separated. Do I need to go to Court?

There is no obligation for parties to go to Court to resolve property matters. The majority of matters are settled by consent without the need to go to Court. If you and your partner can reach an agreement on how to divide your assets you are encouraged to do so. It is recommended, however, that your property settlement is finalised and that you seek legal advice before signing any documents to ensure the agreement reflects your entitlements.

What are the Best Interests of the Child?

When determining parenting arrangements and matters relating to the care and welfare of a child, the court is directed to a number of factors including:

  1. Protecting a child from harm;
  2. Depending on the child’s age and level of maturity, the child’s wishes;
  3. The right of the child to maintain a relationship with both parents;
  4. The right of the child to maintain a relationship with other important people in the child’s life;
  5. The right of the child to be parented in a way that is consistent with the child’s present and future needs.

Can my partner and I make our own Agreement regarding Child Support?

The answer is yes. Even if your partner has been assessed to pay child support by the Child Support Agency, you are entitled to make your own arrangements. In such circumstances the Child Support Agency may not be able to assist you to recover amounts of unpaid pursuant to your agreement.

Is there a time limit that applies before I can apply for Divorce?

Yes, before making an application for divorce, you must have been separated from your spouse for 12 months and 1 day. It is not necessary for you and your partner to have been living separately and apart for the entirety of that time. There is an option for the 12-month period of separation to include time that you have been separated but, continued to reside under the same roof, however, careful consideration must be given to this issue before the application is made as additional documents are required.

Intervention Orders - What do they Do?

An intervention order is a court order that restrains a person from engaging in family violence, and places conditions on their interactions with the affected family member.

The intervention order will name the person who is protected by the order, and the person who is restrained by the order. It will also detail the types of conditions that apply, which may include not coming within a certain distance of the affected family member’s home, and not communicating with that person in any way.

It is important to understand exclusions that may apply to the conditions of the Intervention order, which may include the ability of a person to communicate with a protected person in relation to children’s matters or where the restraints/conditions may be contrary to a family court order.

Always seek advice in relation to the restraints and exclusions contained in an intervention order before acting, as a breach of an intervention order is a criminal offence and taken very seriously by the court.

What is a Financial Agreement?

A financial agreement is an agreement that meets the criteria set out in the Family Law Act 1975 and is an option available to separated parties to finalise the terms of their property settlement.

Both parties to the financial agreement are required to obtain independent legal advice prior to signing the agreement.