Help! I've just separated

Often, separation is something that is mutual or something that both parties see coming. For others it is a big shock.

If you find yourself suddenly separated an initial appointment with an OFRM Family Lawyer can assist reduce the stress and confusion.

Even if you are still stunned by the separation, meeting with one of our family lawyers will give you an understanding of what are the things relevant to your situation, what is a likely settlement and what are the things you should attend to urgently.

Sometimes there are things that need to be done to protect the assets. Otherwise you can reflect on this early information, be assured you have a lawyer to call upon when needed and come back to us when you are ready to sort out a settlement.

So, if you have just separated, you should make a time for an initial appointment with OFRM.

Help! I'm thinking of separating

If you think your relationship might be ending or you are weighing up what to do in the future, the best time to see a family lawyer is before you make the final decision to separate.

It might seem a bit odd to be talking about what happens if you separate, but knowing beforehand what the options are, the likely outcomes, and the best way to go about sorting out things can be invaluable. Knowing the likely outcome in your particular situation will enable you to plan for the future.

We will also advise you on what are the things you can do to try and maximise the chance of reaching a settlement amicably as well as what are some steps you can take now to reduce time and cost later.

In most situations you can leave that first appointment knowing what the best way to proceed is, as well as being reassured you have engaged lawyers to assist you in the process.

If this is you current situation you should make an initial appointment with OFRM.

Now I want a property settlement

When you separate it might take some time to get to a point of figuring out a property settlement.

Once you get to the point that you think it is time to finalise your division of assets, you should make an appointment to see one of our family lawyers for an initial appointment.

At that initial appointment we will:

  • Obtain from you the relevant background, including your understanding of the assets and liabilities to be divided
  • Give you an idea of what would be a fair settlement
  • Discuss with you the best way to try and achieve a fair settlement including options like you and your ex discussing the matter to try and reach agreement, negotiations by us as your lawyers, mediation or commencing court proceedings.
  • We will provide advice to you about how you can minimse the time, stress and cost of the options
  • We will take you through the likely costs, the options as to how the costs can be paid
  • We will then confirm all of that in writing after the appointment

We've agreed on our settlement. We just need it documented.

The vast majority of people who separate are able to reach an agreement regarding arrangements for the children and a property settlement between themselves.

With arrangements for children, often it is sufficient to just have a parenting plan you have prepared yourself (or through mediation). However, it is sensible to seek advice from one of our family lawyers to see whether that is enough to protect you and your children in your particular circumstances.

With property settlements you should always have your agreement made legally binding. Unfortunately, our professional rules mean we cannot see both parties to prepare an agreement; rather we would meet with one of you, provide advice to you regarding the proposed settlement and prepare the documentation for the settlement.

In the initial conference we will discuss with you the assets and liabilities you have, the agreement you have reached and how that agreement is to be implemented.

We will give you advice as to whether that is an appropriate settlement and discuss with you what is the best option for making that agreement legally binding.

From there you can have us prepare the document, arrange for it to be signed by both of you and then make all the arrangements necessary for the settlement to be implemented.

I've been served with family law papers

If you have been served with court papers for a family law application you need to see us quickly. It may be a case that we are able to resolve the matter before that first court date. If not we will be able to work with you to prepare your responding documents and to represent you at court.

Importantly, we will be able to advise you on what is the likely outcome at court, what the likely costs are and how to best try and get to a resolution easily, quickly and with minimal cost.

If you have been served with papers phone our office on 03 5445 1000 to speak with one of our family lawyers about the next steps.

I need a divorce

Sometimes people say divorce and they mean a property settlement….if this is what you mean have a look at which of our other categories on this page might help you:

Under Australian Family Law, a divorce is not a property settlement but is the official ending of your marriage. You don’t have to get a divorce within a certain time of separating, but it is a good idea to take that final step and make it official – and you do have to get a divorce if you are going to remarry.

If the time has come to apply for your divorce, click to fill out a form with some basic background information and one of our lawyers will phone you to discuss the process of applying for a divorce.

I'm having trouble with my parenting plan or children's orders

Sometimes problems crop up when you have family law orders or a parenting plan in place regarding arrangements for your children. It may be that some advice from our family lawyers will help solve the situation. Alternatively you may need advice on the options available including enforcement or a court application to change the orders

If you make an initial appointment to see us we will be able to go through these options with you

I'm a grandparent wanting to see my grandchildren

In many situations the end of a relationship can impact upon the relationship between grandparents and their beloved grandchildren.

Sometimes, the parents are still in a relationship but there is a dispute between the grandparents and parents about the relationship with the grandchildren.

The Family Law Act provides that grandparents can commence court proceedings if such difficulties are occurring. To understand what is the relevant laws and procedures in such cases and how to best try and achieve a resolution, make an appointment for us for an initial appointment.

I think I need a "pre-nup"

In Australia a “pre-nup” is called a Binding Financial Agreement and is well worth considering if you are moving in with your partner or getting married.

If you are starting out with not much more than love, there is probably not a great need for a Binding Financial Agreement. However, for couples where one has significantly more assets than another or if you are a couple who already have children and assets from previous relationships, a BFA could be wise.

A BFA is like contracting out of the family law system – providing the terms of the settlement if you are to go your separate ways later on.

By having an initial appointment with us for a BFA we can take you through the matters that should be considered in deciding whether you need a BFA, how to discuss a BFA with your partner and what the BFA should provide.

If you wish to see us about a BFA, please phone our office on 03 5445 1000 and make an appointment for advice on Binding Financial Agreements.

I'm having trouble with child support

While child support works effectively for most people, most of the time, sometimes difficulties arise and independent legal advice can be useful for you to figure your way through the maze of child support.

If you need help like this make an initial appointment so we can provide that advice to you.

I need a second opinion

When it comes to life events, they don’t come much bigger than resolving your family law matters. Maybe you already have some advice but are unsure whether that is right for you.

Our family lawyers can provide you with a second opinion – it may be that we can do that in an initial appointment or if further work is required we will discuss what is involved, including costs, with you at that appointment.

Things aren’t working out with my current lawyer

The relationship between a family lawyer and client is so important, if things are not working out with your current lawyer, you may like to meet with one of our lawyers to see if things would work better for you at OFRM.

If you make an initial appointment with us we can obtain an understanding of where your matter is at, what are some alternative ways we can see to move it forward and how we would be able to work with you.

I own property with someone who is getting a divorce or I am owed money by someone getting a divorce

Maybe it’s your business partner, maybe it’s your farming son or daughter or maybe it’s just a friend. Whatever the connection, if you own assets with a person going through a divorce or if you are owed money by someone who has just separated, you should seek independent advice to make sure you protect what is yours.

If you think you are in this situation give us a call on 03 5445 1000 and one of our family lawyers will be able to chat with you to figure out what you need to do.

My situation isn't covered in this list

If we haven't covered your situation in the list above that doesn't mean we can't help you. Call 03 5445 1000 and ask to speak to one of our family lawyers or visit the Family Law FAQ.