Understanding the role and importance of a family lawyer in Australia
Being involved in a family law matter is often an overwhelming experience for a person. This is due to a few reasons, such as the family law system being complex with numerous options available to people, and because being involved in a family law matter usually means that you’re going through a particularly difficult time in your life.
Family law matters involve a wide range of issues, many of which arise when a relationship ends, like a marriage or de facto relationship. Matters like how your property and assets will be divided and where your children will live are two of the more common and contentious issues that can arise.
When you’re involved in a family law matter, there are numerous ways you can resolve it. This can be done privately between the parties involved, by applying to the Court, or by engaging the services of a family lawyer.
While a lot of people want to avoid getting family lawyers involved and opting for a DIY approach, when it comes to resolving family law matters, getting a family lawyer involved can be extremely beneficial.
In this article, we’re going to discuss the family law system, the types of matters family lawyers can help to resolve and the benefits of engaging the services of a family lawyers to resolve your matters.
What is the family law system in Australia?
The family law system in Australia provides legislation that guides people to resolve disputes that arise in family relationships. Many of these are caused by the breakdown of the family relationship, usually the relationship between a married or de facto couple.
The family law system’s guiding legislation is the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), with other federal and state specific laws also providing further guidance.
Matters such as divorce, separation, child custody, property division and domestic violence are only some the matters that fall under family law in Australia.
What does a family lawyer do?
A family lawyer’s role is very versatile and often quite multifaceted. It ranges from simply providing relevant legal advice to representing clients in Court legal proceedings. A family lawyer can also help to facilitate and negotiate on their client’s behalf, prepare information, documentation and applications for various family law matters, and provide general support throughout a family law matter.
Family lawyers study for many years to specialise in this area of law and posses very comprehensive knowledge of the various intricacies of the family law legal system, making their services invaluable.
When do you need a family lawyer in Australia?
While it is not mandatory for you to engage the services of a family lawyer for many of the different types of family law matters that may arise, there are many scenarios where working with one will be beneficial. Here are some of the most common scenarios:
Divorce and separation
Obtaining a divorce or navigating a separation requires careful consideration of legal procedures and potential ramifications. A family lawyer is well-versed in divorce law, providing guidance throughout the process. They assist in filing necessary documents, explaining your rights, negotiating settlements, and representing you in court if disputes arise. Their expertise ensures that your interests are protected and that the proceedings are conducted fairly.
It’s also important to be aware that many of the issues that arise as part of a divorce also affect de facto couples who have separated.
Child custody and parenting matters
Determining child custody and developing suitable parenting arrangements can be emotionally charged and often, quite contentious. A family lawyer helps you understand the legal standards applied by Australian courts, facilitates negotiations with the other party, and assists in crafting a parenting plan that prioritises the child’s best interests. If disputes persist, they can advocate for you in court, presenting your case persuasively.
When decisions are made that affect a child, making them in the best interests of the child is the highest priority.
During a divorce or separation, dividing assets and liabilities can be pretty complex. This is because often people do not realise what is actually meant by property, as it can include things like inheritances, business interests and superannuation, on top of real estate, bank accounts, money and vehicles.
Family lawyers specialise in property settlement matters and can guide you through the legal complexities. They assess your financial contributions, future needs, and the welfare of any children involved to negotiate a fair division of property. Their expertise ensures that your rights are protected, and a just outcome is achieved.
In some situations a separation or divorce can leave one spouse in a financially vulnerable position and depending on their ability to work, age, health, and parenting responsibilities, they may be entitled to financial support from their former spouse. This is known as spousal maintenance.
A family lawyer can help determine if you are eligible for spousal maintenance, negotiate fair support arrangements, and ensure that your financial well-being is adequately addressed. They advocate for your rights and interests, ensuring a just and reasonable outcome.
Domestic violence and protection matters
In cases of domestic violence or the need for protection from an abusive partner, a family lawyer is an invaluable ally. They possess comprehensive knowledge of domestic violence legislation and can assist you in obtaining intervention or protection orders. A family lawyer will guide you through the legal process, ensuring your safety and the safety of your children. They help you understand your rights and options, and represent you in court if necessary.
What are the benefits of engaging a family lawyer?
Working with a family lawyer to resolve your matter has quite a few potential benefits for you, including:
- Expertise: Family lawyers possess specialised knowledge of family law, staying updated on changes, precedents, and relevant case law. Their expertise ensures accurate advice and strategic planning for optimal outcomes.
- Impartial guidance: It’s very common for emotions to run high during family disputes. This can often impair judgement and hamper the abilities of parties to come to agreements. Family lawyers provide objective guidance, ensuring that decisions are made rationally, in the best interests of all parties involved and adhere to the law.
- Negotiation and representation: Family lawyers are skilled negotiators and can represent you in negotiations, mediations, or court proceedings. They are adept at advocating for your desired outcomes while protecting your rights and interests.
- Procedural compliance: Family law cases involve intricate legal procedures, deadlines, and paperwork. A family lawyer ensures that all necessary documents are filed correctly and on time, avoiding unnecessary delays or complications.
- Cost-effective and efficient: Many people avoid working with a family lawyer because they think they are expensive. While you do need to pay for the services of a family lawyer, often they can resolve matters for you at a faster rate than you doing it alone. They can often also help you with achieving more favourable outcomes as they understand all of your responsibilities and entitlements.
If you’re involved in a family law matter
Don’t leave finding the right solution to your situation to chance. Working with a family law ensures that you have access to support, knowledge and expert guidance. A family lawyer can help you to resolve family law matters efficiently and effectively, with adherence to the law.
Talk to a family law if you’re involved in a legal matter.
Mark Machaalani is the CEO and Co-Founder of Unified Lawyers, a law firm that aims to disrupt the traditional legal model through the incorporation of innovative technology. With a background in both law and information technology, Mark brings a unique blend of expertise to the firm. He has over a decade of experience in the legal field, specialising in areas such as commercial litigation, debt recovery, bankruptcy, insurance law, property law, and family law.
Mark is particularly passionate about intellectual property and technology law, and leads the strategic direction of Unified Lawyers, focusing on implementing innovative technology, creating a positive company culture, and investing in his team.
Unified Lawyers initially offered a comprehensive range of legal services but later decided to pivot and focus solely on family law as Mark recognised a need for a dedicated national family law firm that could provide better service to clients going through difficult family matters.
Mark’s drive to disrupt the legal industry stems from his upbringing in an entrepreneurial family. He has a personal perspective on the challenges faced by families, being married with three young boys. His goal is to make a positive impact and bring happiness to his clients and those around him.
To experience the difference, individuals can reach out to Mark and the team at Unified Lawyers for their legal needs.