We handle all aspects of family and de facto law matters. We recognise that leaving a relationship is stressful, especially if there are children involved. There are usually financial, emotional, and legal issues that need to be addressed. You may only separate once, but we deal with relationship breakdowns everyday.
We can provide you with the support and legal assistance that you require to act for yourself, and if you reach an agreement we can prepare the necessary documents to have it formalised. Alternatively, we can handle your matter from start to finish.
Our family lawyers are experienced professionals who can guide you through the separation process with care and understanding. We provide a high level of service that is cost effective and resolution focused.
We are experienced at resolving disputes both in and out of Court, but we see Court as a last resort. We will help you to choose the dispute resolution process that is best for your family.
We are not like other lawyers, and we are proud of that. Let our family help yours.
You should have advice about your rights before you negotiate with the other party, or you may want us to negotiate for you. If agreement is reached, we can prepare documents to ensure it is legally enforceable. We can also advise you about documents prepared by the other party’s lawyer.
Our mediation team is fully qualified and experienced to assist you in a mediation role, should that be the path you pursue. Mediation is a process whereby both parties attend upon the mediator and the mediator assists the parties to negotiate a settlement.
Collaborative practice is a deeper form of dispute resolution and aims to secure durable, long-lasting agreements and to preserve relationships between parties into the future.
Some clients prefer that we engage in negotiations on their behalf. We are well experienced in this process.
Our philosophy is that you should only use Court as a last resort. Going to Court adds extra stress to your situation and can be expensive. For parties that have no option but to pursue their rights in Court, we can manage all aspects of a Court case on your behalf.
Discussions about children are often emotional and difficult and parental conflict is damaging to children. It is important that matters involving children are handled sensitively. Let us assist you in determining what is in your children’s best interests, and to make wise decisions in relation to their care.
Where your children live after separation will depend upon many factors. Every family is different. There are a number of ways to configure children’s living arrangements, and we can assist you by providing creative solutions that are suitable to your family and in your children’s best interests.
Child support is a sensitive subject. Child support can be determined by the Child Support Agency which applies a formula to create an assessment. Parents can apply to depart from a Child Support assessment or reach their own agreement, which can then be recorded in a Binding Child Support Agreement.
The importance of the role that grandparents, relatives and members of extended families play in children’s lives is considered by the Family Law Act. Grandparents can be a party to proceedings in respect of the children of separated parties.
Child support under a Child Support Assessment ends when a child turns eighteen or completes their secondary education. A child over the age of eighteen, who is studying or disabled, may be eligible for ongoing support in the form of adult-child maintenance, which the parents can either agree or the Family Court can order.
When one parent wants to relocate, shared parenting or spending time with the children can become difficult. If parents cannot reach agreement, the Family Court will consider a number of factors and make Orders permitting or preventing relocation.
It is possible to enter into an agreement in relation to the distribution of property prior to the commencement or end of a relationship. Such an agreement can have serious consequences and should never be entered into without legal advice from an experienced family lawyer.
Where one spouse is able to establish a need for spousal support, and where the other spouse has the capacity to meet that need, spousal maintenance may be payable. An application for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months from the day that a Divorce becomes final or within two years of the end of a de facto relationship.
A Divorce is not available until you have been separated for 12 months. Property and children’s issues can be resolved prior to a Divorce being granted. A Divorce does not automatically resolve other matters that flow from separation, it is merely the formal ending of a marriage itself, and issues with respect to children and property need to be dealt with separately.
If you are able to reach an agreement in relation to property settlement, the agreement should be formalised by way of a Consent Order or a Binding Financial Agreement in order to provide certainty and finality, and so that it is legally enforceable. Do not sign anything without first obtaining legal advice from an experienced family lawyer.
It is common to have concerns about your financial future after separation. Receiving prompt advice regarding the division or protection of your property is important. Some matters need to be dealt with urgently and the law relating to property division is complex.
Court should always be a last resort. In our experience, Court is great for lawyers but is usually damaging for families. It is without doubt the most invasive, most stressful and most expensive dispute resolution option. At Belperio Clark, we believe that the vast majority of disputes can be resolved using other processes such as mediation or Collaborative practice, which are generally less expensive and work toward preserving relationships between people in dispute. This is particularly important if parties need to co-parent children together and will be dealing with one another after the dispute is resolved.
Sometimes Court is unavoidable, for example if the other party has already issued Court proceedings or if Court Orders are required. If Court is necessary, our family lawyers are experienced in litigation and pride themselves in assisting clients to get through the Court process as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.
Our team can run your matter from start to finish or if you prefer, we can assist you to represent yourself, thereby providing you with an opportunity to minimise your legal costs. At Belperio Clark, we recognise that legal fees are expensive. Our lawyers work hard to be as efficient as possible and to keep your legal fees down.
Parental conflict is recognised by social scientists as having a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of children. At Belperio Clark, we understand the unique nature of family relationships and recognise that it is important for family lawyers to have regard to the welfare of children in families that have separated, and to assist parties to reach solutions that promote the best interests of their children.
Please ask us about the free resources held by our office such as this Sesame Street video that may assist you in explaining your separation to your children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBzZ4pKCDpA
How much time your children spend with each parent requires careful consideration. Each circumstance will be different and all factors need to be considered to find the right solution for your children.