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Section 27.1: Types of Family Law Practitioners

By: Room Staff |

Understanding Different Roles: Solicitors, Barristers, Paralegals, etc

If you’re looking for a family lawyer practitioner to help you with dispute resolution, court applications, or financial agreements, you may wonder what type of family law firm you need. Some family law firms in Australia mainly handle divorce, while others largely provide property settlement services. 

All types of family lawyers can make a real difference in your case, but not all have the same responsibilities and expertise. Below, learn about different kinds of family law practitioners to help you choose the right family lawyer for your case. 

a diverse array of family law practitioners engaging with a couple in a legal consultation


Paralegals cannot practice family law, but in Australia, they can handle many of the same legal services that senior lawyers can. They offer family lawyers invaluable assistance and support. Family lawyers would have less time to focus on clients without their skills and resources. 

Paralegals provide services and support such as: 

  • Fact-checking 
  • Summarising documents 
  • Case planning 
  • Legal research 
  • Drafting correspondence 
  • Finding and interviewing witnesses 
  • Helping family lawyers prepare for trial 

Paralegal in Australia (1)


Solicitors are a type of family law practitioner who provides general legal advice. They know various topics, such as regulations regarding property division, prenups and postnups, spousal maintenance, and dispute resolution.

Solicitor in Australia (1)


Barristers in Australia have the same knowledge and expertise as solicitors. The main difference is that they use their skills to represent clients before the Family Court. 

Typically, solicitors approach and contract with barristers. The solicitor engages directly with clients, and if the case must go to court, the barrister will represent clients before a judge. 

Barrister in Australia (1)

What Do Family Law Practitioners Do? 

There are many types of family law practitioners in Australia. Learn about the legal aspects these family lawyers can handle and the service each provides below. 

Divorce Lawyers 

Most family law clients contact a law firm after their relationship ends and want a separation or divorce. In Australia, a divorce lawyer can use their expertise and resources to: 

  • Explain the documents needed to file for divorce 
  • Discuss how divorce will impact future finances 
  • Find a resolution for parenting time and child support 
  • Handle property settlement documents 

A divorce lawyer can also help if you are in a de facto relationship or unmarried. People in a de facto relationship are entitled to the same legal protections as those in a married relationship.

Marriage Lawyers 

You will need to meet specific requirements to marry in Australia. A family law firm can explain what’s involved in legal marriage to ensure your relationship meets the requirements. They can also create prenups for you. Prenups protect you and your family financially if the relationship ends in separation or divorce.

a family lawyer in Australia having a consultation with a couple (1)

Child Custody Lawyers 

Child custody family lawyers in Australia can help you create a parenting plan if your marriage or de facto relationship has ended. Many family lawyers offer dispute resolution to help you and your former partner come to an amicable agreement.

You’ll meet with a neutral third party during dispute resolution to discuss your parenting plan. If you cannot come to an agreement, your family lawyer can take your case before the Court.

Paternity Lawyers 

Paternity family lawyers in Australia can help if there is a dispute about a child’s father. These family law members are helpful if a father wants to seek custody or a man suspects that he’s paying support for a child that isn’t his.

Guardianship Lawyers 

Guardianship family lawyers in Australia provide two primary services: seeking guardianship of a child who is not yours and pursuing guardianship of your child if the Court has placed them in the foster system. Both of these processes are complex and require assistance from an experienced family law firm.

A family law practice that offers these services can also help you apply for guardianship of adults with dementia or developmental issues. In our country, a family member can take guardianship of an adult if they cannot care for themselves. For instance, if an elderly parent has dementia and can’t make medical or financial decisions, their adult child can take guardianship over them.

Adoption Lawyers 

If you hope to adopt a child, you’ll need a family lawyer well-versed in adoption law in Australia. The law practice you hire can help you find a reputable adoption agency in the country or abroad and file paperwork on your behalf.

Adoption lawyers can also assist same-sex couples with adopting a child. Same-sex adoption is legal throughout Australia, but hopeful parents may run into challenges from adoption agencies that don’t know the law.

a family lawyer in Australia having a consultation with a couple (2)

Property Settlement Lawyers 

Many family law firms in Australia offer property settlement services. These legal aid lawyers can help you divide assets and debts if you are divorcing or separating from your partner. 

A family lawyer can assist with questions such as: 

  • Who will keep the marital home? If neither partner can keep it, how will you split the proceeds from the sale? 
  • What should you do if you and your former partner share a business in Australia? Will you have to sell it, or can you remain business partners? 
  • How do you split superannuation interest, and how will doing so affect your retirement? 

Domestic Violence Lawyers 

Family violence can be frightening and sometimes deadly. If your spouse or another family member is abusing you, a family lawyer can help you apply for a restraining order to keep them away from you and your home. 

Family lawyers can also help if your partner has falsely accused you of abuse. They can collect proof of your innocence or provide evidence that you were only acting in self-defence. A good family lawyer can help previously abusive clients petition the Court for supervised child visitation as well. 

Speak With Family Lawyers

Are you seeking a family lawyer but aren’t sure how to choose the right one? Family law solicitors from our directory can talk to you about your legal situation and help you pick a firm that suits your needs. 

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