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Section 27.1: Types of Family Law Practitioners

Family Lawyers in Australia

By: Room Staff |

Introduction: Overview of the Role of Family Lawyers in Australia 

Are you thinking of marrying your partner but worry about how doing so might affect maintenance from your former spouse? Or perhaps your relationship has run its course, and you need to sort out parenting arrangements for your children and property settlements with your soon-to-be ex. Whatever the case, you could benefit from speaking with a family lawyer in Australia. 

Below, learn about the family lawyer’s role and how they can help you navigate and resolve family law issues such as divorce, custody, superannuation splitting, and property settlement. 

What Is Australian Family Law? 

Australian family law services govern all legal aspects of family relationships, including marriage, divorce/separation, and child support. One of the main issues family laws cover is the well-being and protection of children. The Court looks out for children and ensures their welfare. 

Family law in Australia is regulated by the Family Law Act 1975. This law addresses spousal maintenance, marriage requirements, divorce procedures, consent orders, and family violence. 

The Federal Circuit and Family Court oversees legal issues about family law in the country. Different states may have their own legal procedures and law terminology as well. 

Australian Family Law within a professional and formal Australian courtroom or legal setting (1)

Family Law Matters a Lawyer Can Help With 

The family lawyer’s role is to resolve divorce and other relationship issues for clients. Learn more about the family solicitors’ role, services, and responsibilities below. 


If you wish to marry and start a family in Australia, simply holding a ceremony is not enough. If you want the same legal rights as married couples, you and your relationship must meet these requirements: 

  • Both partners must be at least 18. If it is either 16 or 17, the law says you’ll need a court order. 
  • Neither partner can be already married to another person. 
  • Both partners must understand the nature of the marriage contract. 
  • Partners cannot be closely related. 

a tender and joyful moment between a couple (1)

De Facto Couple Relationships 

People in a de facto relationship have the same rights as married couples. This means you have the right to seek maintenance and property settlement if your relationship dissolves. 

To determine whether you are in a de facto relationship, your family lawyer and the Court will consider: 

  • Whether partners have intertwined finances 
  • Whether there was a sexual relationship or the partners were just friends 
  • Whether partners have children together 
  • Whether partners own joint property 

de facto couple in a natural and everyday setting (1)

Divorce and Separation Services 

One significant aspect of the family lawyer’s role is handling divorce. Before filing for divorce in Australia, couples must demonstrate that they have been separated for at least one year. The law allows “separation under one roof,” which means you can continue living with your former partner even if you’re not in a relationship. Divorce orders become effective one month and one day after the Court grants the divorce. 

a couple going through a divorce (1)

Child Custody and Parenting Arrangements 

Families who have children will need to sort out parenting arrangements in the event of divorce or separation. This family law matter is often contentious, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Former couples can negotiate terms in a Family Dispute Resolution conference, also known as mediation. During this process, neutral third parties (such as family lawyers) will speak to both parents and offer assistance to help them seek fair custody arrangements. This service allows parents to work as a team rather than adversaries. 

A family lawyer or other third party can turn an informal parenting plan into a legally binding order with the Court. If clients cannot agree, lawyers can take the matter to the Family Court. 

child custody and parenting arrangements on their child

Child Support Services 

In Australia, child support laws exist to ensure a fair outcome for children after a separation. Family law ensures that parents pay their fair share toward supporting their children. 

If your child primarily lives with you, their other parent may have to pay you support. To determine how much support a parent must pay, family law considers: 

  • How many children you have 
  • How much you and your former partner earn 
  • How old your children are 
  • How much time children spend with each parent 

a parent and child meeting with a lawyer about child support (1)

Property Settlements 

Property settlement law involves distributing assets and debts after divorce. To split assets and debts fairly, family lawyers and the Court will consider each partner’s future needs and financial contributions during the marriage. 

The process of property division involves: 

  • Filing an application for property settlement with the Family Court 
  • Dividing assets according to the Court’s four-step process with the help of a family lawyer 
  • Agreeing to a settlement with legal aid 

Family lawyers can help you split the value of the marital home, vehicles, and bank accounts. Family lawyers can also resolve superannuation splitting to ensure fair outcomes for clients. 

Property settlements typically finalise 12 months after a divorce and two years after separation for a de facto relationship. If you disagree about asset division, contact a family law firm. 

property settlement meeting between the lawyer and the couple (1)

Spousal Maintenance 

A family law firm can ensure you don’t struggle financially after separation or divorce. In Australia, family law says that you can apply for maintenance if you’re unable to support yourself after the dissolution of marriage. Through a family law service, lawyers can explain the legal aspects of spousal maintenance. 

Property Settlements Legal Framework and Procedures

Domestic Violence 

Family law in Australia takes family violence very seriously. In Queensland, family law clients can apply for two types of protection orders: 

  • Temporary protection order: This type of emergency legal aid is designed to protect you until the Court can grant a full protection order. A family lawyer can help you seek a temporary protection order if you’re in immediate danger. 
  • Protection order: Per the law, the person bothering you cannot come near you or your property if you qualify for a full protection order. 

image depicting domestic violence

Talk With Accredited Family Law Professionals 

Now that you’ve learned about the family lawyer’s role, we welcome you to contact our team for assistance. We can discuss family law services and help you find legal representation from a family law firm. 

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