What is family law?
The legal term ‘family law’ refers to the range of legal matters and disputes that may arise on the ending, or sometimes the beginning, of a domestic or family relationship.
Relationships that come under the ‘family law’ umbrella include married and de facto couples, same-sex couples, and even those couples who may not be living permanently with each other.
Prompt Legal Services provides advice in all areas of family law, including separation, divorce, parenting and children’s orders, property and financial settlements and agreements, mediation, family violence and intervention orders, and pre-nuptial (financial) agreements.
For those experiencing separation and the breakdown of a relationship, dealing with family law matters can be a highly stressful and emotionally taxing event, not to mention uncertain, often complicated, and time-consuming. Costs are frequently a worry for those wishing to finalise their family law matter.
Prompt Legal Services recognises that each family law matter is different, and each requires its own approach – there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’.
We listen to our clients and we take care – you will be fully supported all steps of the way.
Why choose Prompt Legal Services as your Family Law Lawyers?
Our dedicated team of professionals will treat you with respect and provide quality legal advice to guide you in finalising your matter, according to your instructions, and in the most cost-effective manner. We work closely and collaboratively as a team with our clients and other experts and professionals to achieve the best outcome for families.
We are truthful in our dealings with clients and third parties and take our professional ethical responsibilities very seriously. We will always act with integrity, in the advance of your interests. We will provide you with cost estimations for the legal assistance you require at the commencement of your matter and will work to keep you informed of your options as we move toward the best outcome.
We are focussed on providing our clients with accessible, understandable, and personalized legal services. We believe lawyers should be approachable and that lawyers should, above all, take the time to listen to clients. We work very hard to provide the best legal service available. Get in touch today to speak with one of our experienced lawyers.
What is a family violence intervention order?
Intervention orders, sometimes referred to as ‘IVOs’, are issued by the Magistrates Court on an application (either) by Victoria Police or a party directly to the Court.
Family violence intervention orders are issued by the court in matters where the applicant and the respondent to the application, are related parties (spouses/former spouses, de facto partners/former de facto partners, siblings, parents, children).
A court will issue an order where an applicant provides sufficient evidence to persuade the court – on the balance of probabilities – that the order is reasonably required to protect the applicant from family violence behaviours being committed by the other party (the respondent).
Courts will usually err on the side of safety – that is to say, if the court is not convinced that the application is not needed, the court will grant the application for order and make the order.
These orders are not criminal matters. They are considered ‘civil’ matters unless or until a respondent breaches a condition of an order – which is a criminal offence.
Family violence intervention order are not force fields – they do not, of themselves, protect a person from harm or from violence. What they do, is to make certain behaviour – that is otherwise ‘legal’ – and make it ‘illegal’.
For example, an intervention order may have conditions that prevent a respondent from going to or remaining within 200 metres of when the applicant for the order lives, works or goes to school. This means that should the respondent go to or remain in such places, that behaviour can be considered illegal as it is in breach of the conditions of the order. A person protected by an order can complain to Victoria Police about any breaches, and a respondent may be charged if there is sufficient evidence of a breach.
A charge will be criminal in nature and could result in a person receiving a penalty, including a criminal conviction.
If you are concerned about another party’s behaviour, or alternatively, if you are concerned that another party may apply to the court for an order against you, and you are concerned, act now and contact our office for advice.
Family law matters
Property Settlements – A property settlement is the process by which separated parties agree to divide the assets and liabilities held by them (including jointly with each other, or solely) at the end of their relationship.
Note – written documents created and signed by the parties are not legally enforceable unless and until they are reduced to a formal property order, or binding financial agreement, according to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
A property settlement should be finalised in a formal legal sense, by either property orders which are filed with the court (the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia)or a binding financial agreement.
Central to a property settlement is identifying the property pool that is available for division. Ordinarily, this will include all assets and liabilities the parties own or owe, whether jointly with each other, or solely in their name.
To calculate the property pool, parties must exchange financial disclosure. This will include exchanging things like bank statements and superannuation statements (usually going back up to three years), pay slips, tax returns and notices of assessment (usually three financial years), motor vehicle information (registration details), shareholding statements, investment documentation and the like.
Usually, property such as real estate, must be formally valued before the parties can finalise their property settlement. Valuations are undertaken jointly through accredited valuers (not real estate agents) and parties usually share this cost.
Property that is part of the property pool can include compensation won or paid as a result of a personal injury claim or Workcover/TAC claim, gifts from parents or relatives including inheritances, and savings and other assets owned by the parties prior to the commencement of the relationship.
Similarly, liabilities in the property pool may include credit card debt which began prior to the parties’ relationship, mortgages and overdraft balances, motor vehicle finance, and personal loans.
In limited circumstances, assets held or liabilities owed by a party may be considered ‘outside’ the property pool for the purpose of a division between the parties and the percentage division of property between the parties will reflect this. Such circumstances could be the receipt by one party, for example, of an inheritance, late in the parties’ relationship.
In determining a property division under the Family Law Act 1975, a number of factors must be considered, including:
- What assets each party held at the commencement of the relationship
- What liabilities each party held at the commencement of the relationship
- The length of the party’s relationship (beginning from cohabitation)
- The contributions of each of the party’s to the property pool and to the party’s relationship, which includes financial contributions, non-financial contributions, and contributions to the family by way of home making and caring for children
- What the future needs of each of the parties are, based on employment, earning capacity, age, health
- What is ‘just and equitable’ or ‘fair’ in all of the circumstances, having regard to the factors above, the size of the property pool, and the rules set down in the Family Law Act 1975.
Each matter will have its own unique facts and circumstances for consideration.
Early legal advice can be invaluable in helping to protect assets, particularly joint assets, and contain liabilities.
Having a formal property settlement is the only way to protect assets and liabilities from future claims by former spouses/de facto partners and often, the only way by which parties will be in a position to qualify for bank finance.
You should always seek legal advice before acting.
We possible, we will provide an initial telephone consultation with you of up to 30-minutes, at no charge, to ensure you are aware of your rights and obligations at the beginning of your legal matter.
Please call us to book your consultation now.
Asset Protection | Prenups | Financial Agreements – Financial Agreements are private agreements between two parties, which deal with the division of property and ancillary matters such as spousal maintenance. These agreements are not filed with the court, and do not require the approval of the court.
Such agreements can be entered by parties at the end of a relationship (upon separation) or at the commencement of, or during a relationship, where they are sometimes referred to as ‘prenups’.
Not suitable in all circumstances, financial agreements are often chosen where the parties property settlement agreement requires more flexibility than is available under the Family Law Act 1975, and both parties have retained lawyers.
Prompt Legal Services family lawyers have extensive experience in preparing detailed financial agreements dealing with many varied situations.
Get in touch with us to find out what is the best way for you to finalise your property and financial matter.
Separation & Divorce – Divorce is a legal process by which your formal marriage is ended, and you become no longer married.
Divorce has no effect on your property settlement or parenting arrangements for children.
Divorce does have an effect on the validity of Wills and raises important considerations in relation to your superannuation.
Please don’t delay in obtaining legal advice in relation to estate planning and superannuation, following divorce.
To applying for divorce, parties must have been separated for one year.
‘Separated’ can mean still living under the ‘one roof’, however certain requirements must be met in this instance, which will include supplying the court with additional affidavit evidence from third parties known to you who can confirm that you are separated.
Our family lawyers are experienced in filing divorce applications, which can be complicated and daunting process to try to complete on your own. As part of our service in filing for divorce, we will complete the affidavits, serve the documents on the other party, and obtain the court date for you.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information if you’ve made the decision to file for divorce.
Parenting/Children’s Orders – Many separated and/or divorced parents are able to successfully negotiate and agree on their own arrangements for the care of their child/children without needing the assistance or intervention of lawyers.
But this is not always the case.
Where parents can’t agree, and their disagreement worsens and becomes unworkable, the negative effects of such disagreement and dispute on children can be significant and lifelong.
We can help you if you are finding it impossible to resolve your parenting issues with your former partner.
Frequently, simply getting the correct legal advice will lead to resolution, without protracted, bitter disputes, giving parties the opportunity to settle into the parenting of their child/children after separation.
Sometimes, more rigorous advocating may be required, to protect your relationship with your children and arrive at a practical outcome that is in the best interests of the child/children.
The Family Law Act 1975 provides that all parenting matters must first consider, and be based on, the best interests of the child/children.
Good parenting arrangements should, above all else, protect and support the physical, emotional and psychological safety, security and well-being of the child/children.
Children’s orders must provide for the following matters:
- Parental responsibility – will both parents share the long-term decisions regarding the child/children’s health and education, or will this be one parent only?
- What time will the children spend with each parent and when will that time occur?
- How will the children communicate with each parent?
- Will the child/children live with one parent and spend time with the other, or will the child/children live equally with each parent?
- How will children move between each parent (changeover)?
- How will the parents resolve any future disagreements on parenting-related issues?
Both parents have a duty to financially support their children after separation, regardless of the living arrangements. Parents can manage this between themselves or apply for a child support assessment through Services Australia (Centrelink).
Get in touch with us to find out what is the best way for you to finalise your matter.
Looking for family law advice in Victoria?
Prompt Legal Services offers a highly personalised experience – our family lawyers Melbourne make themselves accessible to clients, provide prompt responses and updates, and offer transparency in fee management.
We provide advice in all family law-related areas, including:
- Property Settlement
- Parenting and Children’s Orders
- Financial Agreements (‘prenups’)
- Intervention Orders
- Litigation in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia
Our team is dependable and approachable; they are here to understand your unique needs, take your personal instructions and provide quality practical legal advice for resolving your matter.
Please contact us now for a consultation of up to 30-minutes, at no charge.
Areas of Family Law
We have been providing quality legal services to our clients in Victoria since 1999. We can assist you in areas of Property Law, Conveyancing, Family Law, Commercial Leases, Litigation, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate Claims, and Company Formation Services, Sale and Purchase of Business, and general litigation.
Get in touch with us today!
Why Choose Prompt Legal Services for Family Law?
The Family Law Lawyers at Prompt Legal Services have extensive experience to ensure that rights are protected and the best outcome is achieved.
We fully consider the emotional and financial strain that a family law matter can place on a client and we strive to do all we can to guide our clients through the process as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.
We understand the importance of ensuring our clients receive not only expert advice on their rights and obligations, but also guidance.
- Acting with integrity
- Communicating to be understood
- Problem-solving approaches
What types of cases do family lawyers handle?
Separation Property and Financial Settlement Parenting/Children’s Orders Binding Financial Agreements Divorce Pre-Nup / pre-nuptial agreements Court Applications Court Proceedings Superannuation Agreements Property Transfers Mediation
Why should I hire a family law lawyer and Prompt Legal Services, and what benefits do they offer?
For many experiencing the breakdown of a relationship separation, finalising family law matters can be highly stressful and emotionally taxing, not to mention uncertain, complicated, and time-consuming. The rules governing the division of property between parties to a relationship, and the parenting of children of separating parties, are complicated, lengthy, and, for many clients, unclear and uncertain. Each family law matter is different, and each requires its own approach – there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ in family law matters. There are also important considerations to advise clients, surrounding the risks of not completing a formal property settlement, or not obtaining parenting orders. Many people are unaware of the problems that can occur years down the track if they do not properly formalise their property division upon the breakdown of their relationship. Such problems in respect of financial matters include tax liability, spousal maintenance claims, claims for superannuation payments, and court proceedings for claims for property settlement. In some circumstances, there are also significant risks for parents who do not have parenting orders, where they are also not the primary carers of their children, and these include relocation by the primary carer, changes to contact arrangements, and refusal to provide the children for regular time. It is crucial that clients receive advice according to their own particular circumstances, and are given opportunities to be heard on their concerns and hopes in respect of a family law outcome. We strive to fully support our clients in this process and spend time understanding client concerns, in order to provide each client with advice that will promote their needs. Clients are the centre of our focus at Prompt Legal Services, and we aim to provide client-centred advice tailored to the individual circumstances of the client. Not all law firms take time to get to know their clients. We take a long-term view, and are rewarded with loyal clients who will be served by our firm for generations.
What are my legal rights as a parent, and how can a family lawyer help me protect them?
The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides for the “best interests of the child (children)” to be the paramount consideration in any dispute between parties that relates to children and parenting matters. Of course, separated parents often have different views of what might be in the best interests of the child (children) – and depending on the issue, this difference of opinion can lead to significant dispute between parents in the future, and a range of problems (large and small). Parenting disputes negatively affect the children and the parties’ ability to effectively parent after separation. Prompt Legal Services have the experience to provide realistic and practical advice to parties in parenting matters following separation. Upon the breakdown of a relationship, our lawyers act to support clients in protecting and nurturing relationships with their children - the most important people in their life – to the greatest extent possible and using all the tools available within the family law space.
How do I find a good family lawyer in Melbourne?
Prompt Legal Services considers the best family lawyer is the family lawyer who truly listens. Cookie-cutter approaches are never suitable for negotiating family law matters. We believe that you will identify a good family lawyer by the way the lawyer listens to your concerns, answers your questions, and responds to your instructions. A good family lawyer will always present you with the pros and the cons of each scenario, and offer alternatives where a client may see none.
What is the process for filing for divorce in Melbourne, and how can a family lawyer help with the process?
Filing for divorce can be a confronting experience and for many, the prospect of finalising the marriage for all time is a daunting one that people tend to delay starting as a result. Like many things, divorce applications are completed online, directly through the family law court system. Despite this online offering, divorce applications are lengthy and cumbersome and prone to error for those who have no experience. Prompt Legal Services ensure this process is made as smooth and as simple as possible for the client. To begin a divorce application, we will require your original marriage certificate and 100 points of identification. Our lawyers will explain the various types of applications that can be made, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and advise as to whether court appearances will be required as a result of the type of application chosen.
What should I look for in a family law firm?
Prompt Legal Services consider firms working in the family law space should be, above all else, a firm of lawyers who are honest, respectful, dedicated, ethical, empathetic, tough, resilient, conscientious, hard-working, and thorough. Our family law team value client relationships and rise to the challenges of family law to promote their client’s needs and optimise their client’s options.
How can a family lawyer help with financial agreements and property settlements during a divorce or separation in Melbourne?
Those who try to navigate their own private agreements in property and financial matters following separation, leave themselves open to exploitation and error. Often, parties waste months on negotiating impossible outcomes, without coming to a final, acceptable, position. And in many instances, parties are much worse off for having tried. There is no substitute for early and thorough legal advice. We recommend parties try to ignore the advice of friends and family outside the family law field, and obtain advice as soon as possible on (or prior to) separation. Our family lawyers will answer questions and provide you with a path to follow which will assist to avoid mistakes and bad decisions that may be difficult to come back from.
What are my legal rights as a parent, and how can a family lawyer help me protect them in Melbourne?
In family law matters, the focus is on the rights and interests of the child/children, rather than those of the parents. Having said that, it is an assumption of the courts that children have the right to a close and meaningful relationship with both parents. If you are having difficulty spending time with and communicating with your child/children following separation, we welcome your queries and invite you to book a telephone consultation of up to 30 minutes at no charge, with our family law lawyers, for some initial advice.