Separation and Divorce

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Separation is a time of many changes and it is important to seek support if you need it. However, navigating the maze of services available to separated families can be difficult.

For general information, Family Relationships Online is an Australian Government service designed to provide families with easy online access to information about family relationship issues. Family Relationship Centres have been set up across Australia by the Government and offer family dispute resolution (mediation ) services to help families determine future care arrangements for children. Mediators will help you to focus on your children’s needs and decide what to do next. They can also assist you to develop a parenting plan.

Parenting plans are not binding or enforceable. However, talk to one of our lawyers about preparing Consent Orders to formalise your agreement.

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Our Experience

We aim to help our clients stabilise their lives with dignity in times of need, and achieve the best outcome in terms of stress reduction, finances and ongoing relationships.

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  • Three Accredited Family Law Specialists

    Three Accredited Family Law Specialists

    Berry Family Law has three Accredited Family Law Specialists in the team of eight lawyers who practise exclusively in family law.

  • Principal James Turnbull

    Principal James Turnbull

    Our Principal, James Turnbull, became an Accredited Family Law Specialist in 1997 and comments that "I've learned over the years that an advisor in divorce law must listen carefully as every client has different concerns, priorities and expectations." James provides pragmatic advice to his clients.

  • Professional Edge While Having Empathy

    Professional Edge While Having Empathy

    As a specialist family law firm we are able to bring a professional edge, while having empathy for our clients and an understanding of the associated stresses of family law issues. We blend this edge with a friendly voice. Our family lawyers work together as a tight professional team to help clients

Frequently asked questions

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The Family Law Act governs the rights and responsibilities of parents for their children in the breakdown of the parents’ relationship, regardless of whether the parents were married, lived together in a domestic relationship or never lived together. The objects of the Family Law Act are to:

Make sure children get adequate and proper care from their parents and others to help them reach their full potential; and
Make sure parents fulfil their duties and meet their responsibilities for the care, welfare and development of their children.

There are four main aims of the act:

Children have a right to know and be cared for by both parents;
Children have a right to have regular contact with both parents as well as other people important to their care, welfare and development;
Both parents should share the duties and responsibility of caring for the children and ensuring their welfare and development; and
Parents should agree on how their children will be parented.

These principles are all secondary to the child’s best interests, which is the overriding consideration.

Where there are issues of family violence to partners, children, other family members or property, it is possible to apply to the local Magistrates’ Court for an Intervention Order. Once the Order is made, the Police deal with any breaches of it.

Is it also possible to obtain a personal protection order under the Family Law Act. However, it is more difficult for the Police to act on breaches of those orders.

The Family Law Act also takes into consideration the need to ensure safety from family violence.

Under the Act, the Family Court must take into account the need to ensure safety from family violence when considering applications for residence or contact orders. If there is a violent partner, the court can limit that person’s contact to children to protect the children.

The Family Law Act can help parents and authorities to find and recover missing children by using Location Orders and Recovery Orders.

The Federal Circuit Court website has a Missing Children’s service. It lists missing children in an effort to help find the children. Before a child’s details can be listed on the website, a judicial officer is required to make an order permitting the names and photographs to be released.

Under the Family Law Act, a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse if the spouse’s personal income or assets cannot meet their own reasonable expenses.

This obligation may continue even after separation and divorce.

The extent of this support will depend on the needs of the person seeking support and the other person’s capacity to pay.

You may need to know whether you are entitled or liable to pay spousal maintenance.

Under the Family Law Act, a court can make an order for maintenance of a child over 18 if the provision of maintenance is necessary

To enable the child to complete their education
Due to a mental or physical disability of the child

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