- The Australian family law system aims to support families going through relationship breakdowns by providing guidelines and options for resolving disputes regarding property, parenting, financial matters, domestic violence, adoption, and more.
- The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, formed by the merger of the two courts, play a crucial role in assisting people with family law matters and making decisions based on the best interests of the child and just and equitable outcomes.
- While court involvement is sometimes necessary, family law in Australia encourages alternative dispute resolution methods such as private agreements, negotiation, and mediation to reach mutually acceptable solutions outside of court.
- Working with a family lawyer can provide numerous benefits, including gaining a deeper understanding of your family law matter, exploring available options, saving time and money, and ensuring you have the necessary support and guidance throughout the process.
- Additional tips for navigating the family law process include staying organised and maintaining records, educating yourself about the system, clear and respectful communication, self-care, and seeking help and support when needed.
These types of matters fall under the system of family law in Australia and are often referred to as family law matters. Some legal factors under the Australian family law system need to be considered when deciding the outcome of these types of matters.
For some people, working out what you’re going to do can be easy, however, for many people, this already difficult time is made even worse because they cannot come to any type of agreement with their former spouse.
In addition to already needing to consider factors that fall under the family law system, if you’re unable to come to an agreement (or you have but you want to make it legally binding) you may need to get involved in some legal processes too.
But where do you start? Being involved in a family law matter can be very overwhelming and complex, leaving you feeling confused. That’s what we’re here to help you with. In this article, we’ve put together information to make navigating the Australian family law system easier. Keep reading to learn more about family law in Australia and how to make your way through its processes.
What is the purpose of the Australian family law system?
The purpose of the family law system in Australia is to provide support for Australian families, particularly in situations where there has been a breakdown in the family relationship.
Though you may feel like your family relationship is between you and your partner and/or children, there are legal aspects of family relationships, and disputes can arise. Disputes such as how you will divide your assets and where your children will live are two very common ones.
Family law in Australia has guidelines to help make resolving these disputes easy and safe, highlighting certain factors that should be taken into consideration in the process. The system also provides a variety of different options for people to resolve their disputes and encourages people to attempt to resolve them outside of the Court.
The Family Law Act 1975 provides the legislative guidelines for family law in Australia, and also gives the Court powers to be able to make decisions regarding matters of parental responsibility, children’s living arrangements, financial support, and the division of assets.
Do all family law matters have to be resolved in the Court?
No. In fact, the system of family law in Australia has been designed to encourage people to resolve disputes outside of the court system where possible and court is usually seen as a last resort when other dispute resolution matters have been exhausted.
There are some processes where you may be required to go to court, such as getting a divorce when you have children under the age of 18, to formalise parenting or financial agreements or when a matter is particularly urgent.
When do you need a family lawyer?
A family lawyer provides support at any point of your family law matter.
For some people, from the time they decide that they want to separate is the best time to work with a family lawyer, while for others the best time may be when they have already made an agreement with their former partner and they wish to formalise it or ensure that it is fair.
You can also simply work with a lawyer to have them answer some questions and offer some advice or they can work closely with you until your matter is fully resolved.
The family law system is difficult to understand and usually when you’re involved in a family law matter, you’re going through an emotionally stressful issue. That’s why we recommend seeking legal advice as early as you can. Our aim as a family lawyer is to help you find the right solution in the most efficient way, and one that works for your whole family.
We use our years of experience and understanding of the law, along with the information you’ve provided to find the right solution for you.
We can’t tell you the exact right time to work with a family lawyer, but we encourage talking to one to see what is right for you.
What are the benefits of working with a family lawyer?
There are numerous benefits that come from working with a lawyer, here are some of them:
You can truly understand your family law matter. These matters can be complicated and no one expects you to be an expert and know exactly what to do.
You can understand your options. Matters can be resolved in all kinds of ways and we can help find a solution that works for all parties. We know the law and we have experience on our side to help us do this.
You can save time. Family law matters are rarely solved fast, especially without our help. Everyone has different preferences and knowledge; however, we can provide information to make the process faster as well as ensure you have the right information when making applications and agreements.
You can save money. While our services do cost money, they are often more cost-effective than you may realise. Not only do we help you resolve your matters more efficiently, but we also help to ensure you’re not missing out on what you’re entitled to either.
How to choose the right lawyer for you
Deciding to work with a family lawyer to resolve your matter is one thing, deciding on the right lawyer is another.
When it comes to choosing a family lawyer, you want someone who is experienced, specialises in family law and who you feel comfortable with as well.
Family law matters involve a lot of personal information and being able to talk to someone you feel like you can trust and divulge information to is very important.
We put together a guide of how to choose to a family lawyer, including the qualities to look for. You can read our guide here.
Other tips for making family law processes easier
Here are some of our tried and tested tips for making navigating the family law process easier:
- Be organised and keep records. You will likely need to provide documents, information and evidence to resolve your matter. Ensure you have as much information as possible.
- Educate yourself. While you’re not expected to brush up on family law in Australia in the same way as a family law professional, it’s a good idea to gather as much information about what may be required of you. This is when talking to a family lawyer can be helpful.
- Communicate clearly and thoroughly. Ensure that you maintain open and respectful communication with all parties involved in your matter.
- Take care of yourself. Being involved in legal matters is often stressful because it’s not an everyday occurrence for most people. It’s important to take time out to care for yourself.
- Don’t be afraid of asking for or accepting help. Help can come in many forms, whether it’s legal advice and support, talking to a trusted friend, working with a counsellor or joining a support group. Here is a list of some helpful resources that may be able to help you.
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