What does a family lawyer do?
Family lawyers offer a wide range of assistance and advice on matters relating to divorce, separation, children’s matters and wills & estates. Advice they provide can range from simple initial fact finding to complex matters and representation in court.
After initial advice is given our clients are clearly informed about their matter.
If further action is necessary, they have a reliable indication on what is involved and how long a result may take.
The initial fact-finding stage is crucial and people often feel comforted once they have clarity and understand their options.
Depending on whether you require simple legal advice or you are initiating legal proceedings, our family lawyers will handle your matter with sensitivity and care.
Mediation is a common element of family law proceedings. Once you have commenced legal proceedings, mediation is compulsory. Sometimes, it can be useful to mediate prior to the commencement of legal proceedings. This can be useful if both parties are wanting to come together with realistic settlement expectations.
Arbitration is also an avenue that you might consider to resolve a family law dispute.
Family law proceedings usually follow an established process. The first step is to establish whether to initiate an application in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (family court). Once an application has been filed then it must be properly served on the other party within the allowed time. Any issues with service and the court will refuse to hear the application on the day the application is listed.
While the registry does offer some procedural support, they cannot offer legal advice. So essentially, they can assist you in correctly completing the paperwork but cannot advise you on your case and position.
The other party then must respond to the application with their own affidavit responding to the issues raised by the other party. If the application is seeking both parenting and financial orders then both parties will also need to complete a financial statement outlining their income, assets and liabilities and a Notice of Risk. The family court will not accept any applications for parenting orders without this notice also being filed.
Even though both parties are required to make complete and transparent disclosure of their assets, there are situations where a party is not fully honest about their assets, especially when those assets are located overseas. When drafting an affidavit, you must ensure that it properly drafted as the court may only consider evidence and matters that have provided in affidavit form, you cannot simply raise issues or relay facts as you work your way through the proceeding.
That being said, it is common for new information to come to light during the proceedings, or for a party to recall information at a later time, which is fine. But this must be addressed in accordance with the proper process to enable the family court to consider this information. This also applies to consent orders which must be specific and detailed enough to cover all aspects of the division of assets or parenting matters.
Properly drafted orders will take into consideration that unexpected factors may arise. The orders are drafted in such a way to allow for this and outlines what the parties are to do such a situation arises.
A family lawyer will draft the necessary paperwork within the allowed time frames, advise you on your matter, provide support and guidance and essentially be a buffer between you and your former partner.
Family lawyers act for you with the aim of making the whole process less stressful. Obtaining proper legal advice as soon as possible is paramount to ensuring that you do not end up significantly disadvantaged once the proceedings have concluded.