What Does a Family Lawyer Do?

divorce lawyers newcastle

When a family relationship breaks down, it’s common for family disputes to arise.

Family disputes can be resolved in various ways. For some people, they can resolve the disputes between themselves, while in other cases, working with a family lawyer makes the process a lot simpler.

But what is the role of a family lawyer in resolving these matters and what kinds of matters can a family lawyer help to resolve?

In this article, we’re going to talk about what our role of being a family lawyer entails and give you an idea of the types of disputes and matters we can help to resolve.

Keep reading to learn about what family lawyers do in Australia.

What is the role of a family lawyer?

A family lawyer’s role is multifaceted and flexible.

An important part of our position as a family lawyer is to be well-versed and up-to-date with the Australian family law system and how it applies to people’s lives. We work with our clients to ensure we can resolve the various types of disputes they are involved in by applying the family law to their situation and finding the right outcome for them.

Family law is complex and the way one type of family law matter is resolved for one family could be entirely different to the way it’s resolved for another. It’s our job to learn about your situation to reach an outcome.

Some of the ways in which we help our clients is by:

  • Providing legal advice;
  • Ensuring you understand all legal options available to you and the ramifications of these;
  • Communicating with your former partners and their legal representatives;
  • Negotiating on your behalf;
  • Advise, support and attending through mediation;
  • Represent and support you in court proceedings.

These are only some of the actions we perform as family lawyers.

What kinds of matters can a family lawyer help to resolve?

While a large part of what we is to help resolve disputes, we also advise people on the options available to them as well as help them to make their private agreements legally binding too.

Below are some of the most common types of matters that family lawyers help with.

Divorce and Separation

The root cause of many family disputes is the divorce or separation of a couple. Whether it’s the end of a marriage or the separation of a de facto couple, for the parties involved, it can be a terribly difficult time.

A number of different things need to be resolved when a marriage or de facto relationship ends and often, our services will be of valuable for each of the things you need to sort out, like parenting matters and property matters.

We can provide legal advice, help to prepare divorce applications, as well as ensure that you understand everything that needs to be considered throughout the process.

Parenting Arrangements

Parenting matters, like parenting arrangements and care of the children (also known colloquially as child custody), can be some of the most contentious and difficult matters to resolve when a relationship ends.

Parents are encouraged to work out their own arrangements in Australia, but sometimes this is challenging as not many people necessarily understand all of the options available to them and their responsibilities.

We can help by assisting in the creation of parenting plans and arrangements, we can also help you throughout the process of making any arrangements legally binding. We are also able to assist in mediating disputes between parents and if required we can help to seek court orders that are appropriate in your situation.

Property Settlements

Another contentious type of matter that needs to be resolved when a relationship ends is how assets, property and liabilities will be divided between the former couple.

In some cases, resolving this may be very straightforward and pre-existing conversations are enough to sort it out. However, all too often, these matters can be messy, with people believing they have certain entitlements and rights.

Understanding the ways in which assets can be divided and the financial responsibilities of each party is vital to be able to resolve these types of matters which is something we can help with. We can also to create agreements and ensure they become legally binding too.

Financial Agreements

One way to avoid a contentious property settlement battle is by creating a binding financial agreement either prior to marriage, known as a prenuptial agreement, during the relationship, or even after the relationship.

These agreements are used by couples to predetermine how they will divide their assets and property if the relationship ends, which can help to avoid difficult negotiations or disputes from arising.

Financial agreements can also be made about matters like spousal maintenance and financial support.

We can help by drafting these agreements to ensure they can be legally binding and meet all requirements. We can also review proposed agreements before they are made binding and we can review existing ones and provide legal representation if the binding financial agreement may not be fair and could potentially be set aside.

Spousal Maintenance

We touched on spousal maintenance above but spousal maintenance is a type of financial support where one party provides their former spouse with financial support if their former spouse is unable to adequately support themselves.

Spousal maintenance isn’t automatically guaranteed, however, we can help you understand when you are entitled to receive or pay spousal maintenance. We can help to negotiate agreements between parties as well as provide representation in court proceedings pertaining to spousal maintenance matters.

Consent Orders

A consent order is essentially a way to make a private agreement between parties legally binding. Consent orders can be created for parenting arrangements as well as property matters too.

A consent order is a great legal tool as it ensures that the agreements the parties have made will be legally binding and provides a level of certainty for both parties.

We can help by reviewing the agreements made between the parties to ensure they are fair and will be able to be made legally binding. We can then also help with the consent order application process too.

Domestic Violence Support

A family lawyer can provide invaluable support to a domestic violence victim in Australia by offering legal guidance and assistance tailored to their specific needs. They can help navigate the complex legal system, obtain restraining orders, and secure temporary accommodation and financial support through applications like Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIOs).

In addition to this, a compassionate family lawyer can empower the victim by offering emotional support and helping them make informed decisions about their future, ultimately working towards a safer and more secure environment for the victim and their family.

Adoption and Surrogacy

A family lawyer plays a crucial role in helping individuals and couples navigate the intricate processes of adoption and surrogacy in Australia.

In the case of adoption, they can guide prospective adoptive parents through the legal requirements, such as home studies and background checks, ensuring they meet all necessary criteria.

For surrogacy, a family lawyer can facilitate the drafting of surrogacy agreements, outlining the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved, and help with the legal parentage process post-birth.

Surrogacy and adoption can be emotionally charged journeys that involve a lot of different factors and criteria that must be met, so working with a family lawyer can make the process a lot easier.

Family Dispute Resolution

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) in Australia is a mediation process designed to help families and individuals resolve disputes related to family law matters without the need for court intervention.

It is particularly relevant in cases involving separation, divorce, child custody, and property division. FDR is facilitated by accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners (FDRPs), who are trained professionals specializing in mediation and conflict resolution.

A family lawyer’s role in the Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process in Australia can be multifaceted and supportive. While FDR is typically a non-adversarial and collaborative process, a family lawyer can provide legal advice, help to prepare for dispute resolution and even participate in the sessions

Court Proceedings

A family lawyer can be an advocate and guide throughout court proceedings, offering invaluable support during what can be a challenging and emotionally charged time.

A family lawyer will help to prepare your case, ensuring all legal aspects are thoroughly covered, and skillfully represent your interests before the judge.

Beyond their legal expertise, they provide a reassuring presence, offering clear explanations, and addressing concerns you may have, making the complex legal process more understandable.

With a family lawyer by your side, you can navigate the courtroom with confidence, knowing you have a dedicated ally working diligently to secure the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Do you need a family lawyer?

If you find yourself involved in any of the situations we’ve mentioned in this article, you might need a family lawyer. At Clarity Lawyers, we can help you. We’re committed to excellence and dedication when it comes to our clients and we strive to find the best possible outcome for your situation.

Our family law services are wide-reaching and available across Australia from our offices in Newcastle and Maitland.

Whether it’s a complex divorce, child custody matter, or any other family-related legal issue, Clarity Lawyers is your trusted partner in navigating the Australian legal landscape with clarity and confidence.

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Rli Samantha@2x
Samantha Miller

Samantha has been a lawyer since 2001 having followed in the steps of her father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. No one can say she didn’t know what she was getting into!

Initially admitted in 2001 as a solicitor in NSW and Australia, Samantha moved to the UK where she was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2002. After working in several different areas of the law in large London firms, she determined that family law was her calling and hasn’t looked back.


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