Family Law


In Australia there is a “no fault” rule in relation to obtaining a divorce. This means the Court will not take into consideration the cause of the marriage breakdown. We are able to assist you in applying for a divorce, either through a sole or joint application. If you or your partner met either of the following criteria’s we are able to assist you in applying for a divorce:

  1. Be either an Australian citizen or a permanent resident, or
  2. Live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately prior to filing for divorce, or
  3. Regard Australia as your home with the intention of living here indefinitely.

Have you been separated from your spouse for a minimum of 12 months? You must satisfy the Court that you and your spouse have lived separately for a minimum 12 months and that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

It may be the case where you and your spouse have separated but there are circumstances preventing one party from moving out of the family home. You are still eligible for a divorce if you can prove that you were “separated under one roof”.

What if we have only been married less than 2 years? If you have been married less than 2 years and want a divorce, you must either:

  1. Attend counselling with a family counsellor or nominated counsellor to discuss the possibility of reconciliation with your spouse, or
  2. If you have not attended counselling, seek permission of the Court to apply for a divorce.

The two years are calculated from the date of the marriage to the date of applying to the Court for a divorce. You and your spouse must also have been separated for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce.

If you satisfy the above criteria, we are able to assist you in your application and have it finalised in Court.

Will a Divorce Order finalise my parenting and property matters?

It is important to note that once a divorce has been granted you will still need to make arrangements with your spouse in relation to property and/or parenting matters.

Please note that there is a statutory time limit being 12 months from the day the divorce takes effect, for you to commence proceedings in Court in relation to maintenance and property matters. You should contact us immediately if you require assistance.

In practice, we would recommend you to have your property settlement and parenting finalised prior to finalising your divorce.

Property and Financial Settlement

When separation occurs and marriage breakdown becomes imminent, one has to consider the implications on the division of property and finances.

Our goal at MGL Lawyers is to help you resolve your issues in the most cost effective manner and to avoid protracted and costly litigation by negotiating a favourable settlement on your behalf. We understand this may be a difficult time in your life and court proceedings may bear a tremendous burden on your relationship with your children, your health as well as your finances.

We are here to guide you through the necessary “pre-action procedures” required by the Family Court aimed at assisting both parties in reaching an agreement at an early stage without having to go to Court. If both parties are able to reach an agreement we can assist you with the preparation of Consent Orders or Binding Financial Agreements. We will guide you every step of the way and appropriately advise you of your rights and responsibilities under such agreements.

While we are focused on bringing resolution without going to Court, there may be certain cases where court proceedings are unavoidable in circumstances involving domestic violence, safety concerns, complex business or asset arrangements or the unwillingness of the other party to cooperate.

The Court generally adopts a 4 step process to determine how property can be equitably divided between both parties:

  • Identify and value the pool of assets, if possible;
  • Understand the parties’ contributions to the asset pool;
  • Consider future needs of each party;
  • Consider what outcome is likely to be just, fair and reasonable.

If you have finalised your divorce, you must commence proceedings by filing and serving your application within 12 months from the time a divorce order becomes absolute. However, there are certain exceptions to the time limitations. Please contact us if you are in doubt.

Children’s Matters

When a couple separates, arrangements will have to be made in relation to the future care and responsibility of any children of the relationship. Children are generally the ones who are most affected by the separation as their future becomes uncertain. With this mind, the Courts regard 'the best interest of the child' as the paramount consideration when making a parenting order.

The Family Law Amendment (Shared Responsibility Act) 2006 (Cth) introduced significant changes into the Family Law Act to encourage shared parental responsibility between parents but still keeping in mind the child’s best interest.

The Court recognises that:

  1. All children have a right to know both parents and to have both parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives.
  2. All children have a right to be protected from harm, abuse and violence.
  3. Parenting is a responsibility that should be shared equally without children put at risk.
  4. Parents should be able to work out together what is best for children rather than fighting in a courtroom.
  5. Parents must have the best interests of the child when making a parenting order.

The Courts encourage parents to resolve parenting issues at an early stage and have put into place “pre-action procedures” designed to help parties attempt to resolve their issues before commencing proceedings. Parents will need to attend Family Dispute Resolution with a certified Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner before an application can be made to the Court however exceptions to this may apply. With this in mind, we will aim to help you achieve the most suitable arrangement in the most cost effective manner.

We encourage and aim to reach early agreement however we do understand there are certain circumstances where shared parental responsibility may not be in the best interests of the children. The presumption of ‘Equal Shared Parental Responsibility’ can be rebutted in cases where domestic violence, child abuse or other factors which can establish that it would not be in the best interest of the child to be cared for by both parents. This will be determined by the evidence provided on a case by case basis.

We are also able to advise you on issues such as relocation, child support, change of names and passport applications, among other things.