Professional lawyer consulting spouses about legal documents

Is Family Law knocking on your door?

Madison Kelly ||

Family law, separation, divorce – they are all terms that many avoid and shy away from, but which 1 in 3 will face at some stage in their lives. Did you know that 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce? It is not a statistic that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, but it is one that you should stop and think about.

A phrase that we, as family lawyers, hear all too regularly, is from clients who say, “I wish I met with you sooner!”

It is common for parties to wait until they are entangled in a family law dispute before they seek legal advice. However, if advice is obtained early, you are often able to avoid many issues that would have otherwise ensued. This can be applied at all stages in the family law process, whether you are starting a new relationship, or ending one, or whether you are in an amicable or high conflict separation.

If you are starting a new relationship

Of course, this is a time where things are going well with your partner and the thought of involving lawyers seems illogical. However, if you are seeking to protect your assets (which is a common scenario particularly if you have already been through a separation prior), it may be time to think about obtaining a Binding Financial Agreement (more commonly referred to as a “prenup” or “BFA”). A BFA can be executed at any point prior, during or following the breakdown of a relationship.

You can read more about BFA’s here.

If a separation is imminent

This is perhaps the most important time to see a family lawyer. The initial stages of a separation are the most critical and can have a drastic effect on the way a family law matter will unfold (in relation to both property and parenting matters).

Although it is important to obtain holistic advice as to all aspects of a matter, there are an array of issues that require early and specific advice. For example, which party is to remain living in the former matrimonial home? You can read about that here.

It is not uncommon, in the lead up to or during a separation, for there to be some Police involvement in disputes. This can often result in a party becoming either a Defendant or Person in Need of Protection, to an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (“ADVO”). If an ADVO is relevant to you, it is important to be aware of your obligations, and receive advice early – including advice that is tailored to your family law situation. You can read about the interplay between family law and ADVO’s here.

In matters involving high conflict, it is imperative to book an appointment with a family lawyer to obtain legal advice. Family law disputes can escalate quickly and can have dire consequences for both parties and the children. Obtaining advice early allows parties to navigate through the process armed with the tools that they need.

If you have an amicable relationship with your partner and have reached an agreement as to the division of assets (and care of the children), then it may be time to enter into Consent Orders. You can read about how to make an agreement ‘legal’ here.

Our property settlement checklist may also be useful.

If you have been separated for some time

It is not unusual, particularly in situations where a relationship has broken down amicably, for parties to postpone formally dividing their assets. If you have a cordial relationship with your ex-spouse, and are not encountering issues, it can be tempting to evade the formal separation process. That temptation can also present if you have been separated for some time but are worried about conflict that might occur. For that reason, you may be delaying the confrontation of how to divide your assets and/or the care of your children, in a bid to avoid acrimony with your ex-spouse. It can, however, become more complicated if a significant period passes between separation, and the division of assets. It is a common misconception that assets are taken to exist as at the time of separation – which is false. If party A and party B separate in 2010, and do not divide their assets until 2020, it is the assets and liabilities which exist in 2020 that are considered.

Whether you are in a new relationship, or are navigating a separation, please do not hesitate to contact a member of Coleman Greig’s Family Law Team, who would be more than happy to assist you today.


Send an enquiry

Any personal information you provide is collected pursuant to our Privacy Policy.


More posts

SafeWork NSW
SafeWork NSW releases new strategy to address psychosocial hazards

On 22 May 2024 SafeWork NSW introduced a new strategy to address psychological and psychosocial hazards. The SafeWork NSW Psychological Health and Safety Strategy 2024-2026 establishes new supports for employers regarding their duties in preventing psychosocial harm in the workplace.

roles in the strata scheme
Understanding roles in the strata scheme

A strata scheme is a building or group of buildings that have been divided into lots which can be apartments, villas, offices, units or townhouses. This will be articulated in the strata plan.

Airbnb home
Can I put my home on Airbnb?

Airbnb is a form of short-term rental accommodation. To add your property to Airbnb in NSW, you are required to meet several laws and regulations governing short-term rentals.

liquidators required to seek approval
When are liquidators required to seek approval to retain legal counsel?

When does a liquidator (or the company he or she is appointed to) need court, creditor, or committee approval to validly retain a solicitor to act in a liquidation matter which is likely to extend for longer than three months?  The answer to this question has only recently been settled.

Proposed changes to building
Proposed changes to building and construction law in NSW

The Building Bill 2022 (the Bill) is the key avenue through which the NSW Government has proposed to reshape the culture of the building and construction industry by eliminating poor performance and improving the quality of building statewide.

Dismiss an employee
Can you dismiss an employee who fails to return to the office?

Slowly but surely, most employers are requiring employees to return to the office for at least a portion of their working week. Some employers continue to struggle with employees resistant to returning to the office or those who have an expectation that they can continue to work from home whenever it suits them.

Phoenixing in Construction
New powers to combat phoenixing in construction

The rise of phoenixing in the building and construction industry in Australia in recent years has proved a significant challenge to regulators. Mismanagement of time or cashflow can quickly propel businesses into insolvency.

© 2024 Coleman Greig Lawyers  |  Sitemap  |  Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. ABN 73 125 176 230