It is really important, from as early on as possible or even before you separate, to know where you stand legally. There is nothing to be afraid of here; it doesn’t mean that you need to take action, retain a lawyer or turn your life upside down.
The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) is a large piece of federal legislation and has already been interpreted a great many times, so we have a lot of ‘case law’ (or previous judgements) that can help us see how your circumstances are likely to play out in court. As divorce lawyers, we know how overwhelming it may be to walk into this process, which is the reason we have tried to explain this in a way we would if you were to see us in person.
When we see clients in person, in our Gold Coast or Brisbane office, we have the benefit of being able to ask questions and dig deeply for all the information we need, and then able to give full, detailed legal advice. It is important to note that the below information is for general purposes, and not altered to your family law matter individually. However, if you do need some personalised advice, please feel free to book a free appointment with one of our divorce lawyers in Brisbane or on the Gold Coast.
Ultimately, though, and as touched on in the previous section, any family lawyer’s legal advice is only as good as the instructions given. If a client tells their lawyer only half the facts, they can offer only half the advice. Very often, people don’t tell the truth when they engage a lawyer, but it always comes out in the end, and then the lawyer’s advice changes. Be honest from the beginning. We are family lawyers, we want to help as best we can which requires the full information.
There are many tricky sections of this law, as well as practical realities we cannot address on these pages. There are, however, simple-to-understand principles you can apply to your own circumstances.
What is the family law act? It is governed by the FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 CTH. The Family Law Act is Australia-wide, and it deals with but is not limited to:
- how to divide property after separation in both married and de-facto relationships;
- spousal maintenance; and
- parenting and how children should spend time with their parents after separation.
Some quick facts about family law
- The Family Law Act doesn’t deal with child support. This is dealt with in different federal legislation called The Child Support Act 1991 (Cth).
- The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) is a federal law, which means that all the states and territories in Australia deal with family law in the same way, with a few exceptions in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
- Not every family needs to find a solution to their matter according to the Family Law Act. Sometimes, separated couples might be able to come to an agreement they are both happy with outside of what the Act prescribes, and that is absolutely fine. In property matters, though, it may need to be finalised with a Binding Financial Agreement rather than Consent Orders.
- Because family law in Australia is a Commonwealth law, it is dealt with in the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court, which is governed by the Federation. It is not dealt with in the State Courts. In smaller regions, the Federal Circuit Court may visit, for example, once per month or every six weeks and use the State Court House for their sitting.
We encourage you to find a copy of the Family Law Act 1975 Cth online and have a read; it is accessible to everyone for free. Also reach out to us to have an initial appointment to get full and proper initial legal advice about your unique circumstances.