How We Can Help You?

Not sure where to look first?
Our team has pulled together a list of the most frequently asked questions we are asked.

For more information about advice relating to your specific circumstances, contact our team.

Family & Divorce

Are you the victim of domestic or family violence?

If you have been faced with domestic or family violence, you need to contact the police immediately to assist you with applying for a protection order.

You also need to seek legal advice to ensure your future safety and the management of the situation including the impact of those events on other family law issues and family members.

Domestic violence described physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economical abuse, damage to property, threatening behaviour, coercive behaviour or other controlling behaviour by a person who is in a 'relevant' relationship with another. A 'relevant' relationship includes spouses, couples, relatives and carers.

Family violence under the Family Law Act means violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person's family or causes the family member to be fearful for their personal safety.

Domestic violence issues can have a dramatic impact on the management of family law issues. It is important to seek advice about such issues so that appropriate decisions can be made by you.

Have you separated and are acquiring new assets?

You may have separated some time ago but are yet to address the division of assets.

Some people are separated for years before they finalise these issues while others simply can not agree, defer dealing with the issue, or find it too complicated.

Whether you have been married, been in a de facto relationship, or in a same sex relationship, property division can become more complicated when one party purchases a large asset such as a house or business after you have separated or alternatively receives an inheritance.

The law surrounding the timing of separation and the assets owned by each partner can be complex. It is important to obtain advice from an experienced family lawyer who can provide advice in these circumstances.

Are you moving interstate or overseas?

There may come a time when either you or the other parent wants to move interstate or overseas.

Whatever your situation, both parents must abide by specific laws in these circumstances and it is vital that you obtain legal advice to ensure your compliance.

Laws apply to taking children on holiday, even interstate. Some of these laws are complicated.

If you are planning to move or go on  holiday, you must first make a genuine effort to reach agreement with the other parents. If you can not agree, or you need assistance in obtaining agreement, call us and we can help you work through the issue that you face.

Are you having difficulty agreeing parenting arrangements?

It is not uncommon for separating parents to disagree on parenting arrangements. Disputes often occur over a range of issues, including:

  • the amount of time the children spend with each parent
  • the ongoing contact made by each parent
  • special occasions such as birthdays, school holidays and Christmas
  • one parent moving interstate or overseas
  • more complex cases involving domestic and family violence.

You may have previously agreed to parenting arrangements and circumstances have changed.

Sometimes grandparents and other relatives become involved in disputes involving children.

No matter what your circumstance are, it may be time to obtain independent legal advice to hep you work through the issues that you facing. Children are particularly vulnerable and can experience stress where parents are unable to resolve conflicts and it is therefore important to address these issues at the earliest opportunity available.

Are you beginning a new relationship?

You may have been previously married or in a de facto or same sex relationship and have recently established a new relationship.

Whatever your situation, you are likely to want to avoid any future conflict.

Many couples are "forward-thinking" and consider the option of a Financial Agreement, or what is commonly called a "pre-nuptial agreement". These agreements can potentially avoid the conflict and costs associated with disputes with a partner at some future point in time.

You may be working through plans to care for the children, to divide assets, businesses, property and to make ongoing financial arrangements.

Are you separated and want to move on?

Whether you have recently separated or have been separated for a while, you know when it is time to resolve outstanding issues with your ex-partner and move on with your life.

Depending on your circumstances, at this point in time you are probably looking for clear and accurate legal advise to help you to promptly finalise any outstanding issues and to take control of your life.

You may be working through plans to care for the children, to divide assets, businesses, property and to make ongoing financial arrangements.

Is your relationship breaking down?

You may be considering separating or have recently separated. No matter the timing, you are likely to be overwhelmed emotionally and anxious about the future.

Everybody manages the difficult experiences in their life differently. Some will talk with family, friends and other professionals such as their doctor. Others like to obtain independent and accurate advice from a family lawyer to help them work through the various issues which they face.

When separating, couples need to work out plans for the care of their children, divide their assets and address their ongoing financial arrangements.

Sometimes couples make these plans before seeing a lawyer but in many case the emotional turmoil can make negotiation very difficult.

Obtaining early legal advice gives you the knowledge to make the right decision for you and your family's future.

How do I obtain proof of divorce?

Obtaining proof of divorce depends on the circumstances that relate to your case:
  • You may be able to obtain proof of divorce at no cost from the Commonwealth Courts Portal if you were a party to the proceedings and the divorce was finalised after 13 October 2010.
  • If you are unable to obtain the proof of divorce via this method then an application can be lodged and the proof of divorce will be posted to you.
  • If the divorce was granted in Western Australia then an application needs to be made to the Family Court of Western Australia.
  • If the divorce was granted outside of Australia then contact needs to be made to the relevant court or authority in the country where the divorce was granted.
  • If the divorce was granted prior to 1976 contact needs to be made to the Supreme Court in the state or territory where the divorce was granted.

How do I discontinue my application for divorce?

If you have started the process but have changed your mind, a notice of discontinuance can be filed. However, filing this notice does not prevent the other party from continuing to seek the orders that they have sought. If your court hearing is not vacated (i.e. cancelled) ever after you have lodged the notice, it is in your best interest to attend to ensure that no court orders are made in your absence.

What do I do if I can not attend the divorce hearing?

If it is difficult for you to attend in person, you may ask the Court to appear by telephone. A request in writing must be lodged if you are unable to attend.

What do I need to do if my marriage certificate is not in English?

You will need to file with the Court:
  • an English translation of your marriage certificate; and
  • an Affidavit from the translator.

I married overseas, can I get a divorce in Australia?

If you were married overseas, you can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse:
  • regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia;
  • are an Australian citizen by birth or descent;
  • are an Australian citizen by grant of Australian citizenship;
  • ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

I want to divorce but I have been married less than two years, what do I need to do?

If you have been married less than two years and want to apply for divorce, you must either attend counselling with a family counsellor or nominated counsellor to discuss the possibility of reconciliation with your spouse, or seek permission of the Court to apply for a divorce. The two year period is calculated from the date of the marriage to the date of applying for a divorce. You and your spouse must have been separated for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce.

What does “separation under the one roof” mean?

It is possible for you and your spouse to be separated but to continue living in the same house during the 12 months before applying for divorce - this is commonly referred to as "separation under the one roof". If this applies to your circumstances you will need to prove to the Court that you were separated during this period of time.

I have applied for a divorce, can I set a wedding date for my new marriage?

You should not plan to remarry until the divorce order is finalised. In the majority of cases this occurs one month and one day after the divorce hearing however you should not assume that the divorce will be granted at the first court hearing. If you intend to remarry you must give the marriage celebrant a Notice of Intended Marriage at least one month before the wedding date and comply with other requirements of the Marriage Act 1961.

Can I oppose a divorce application?

If you have been separated for more than 12 months, there are few opportunities to oppose a divorce application. You can only oppose the divorce where:
  • there has not been 12 months separation as alleged in the application; or
  • the Court does not have jurisdiction.
If you do not want the divorce granted a Response to Divorce needs to be lodged and you will be required to appear in person on the hearing date. You will need to set out the basis upon which you seek the dismissal in the Response to Divorce.

Injury Law

Do you need an assessment to identify your options?

You need to have your injury assessed by a doctor before you submit a claim to receive financial support to cover income, medical treatment, care and support.

Your doctor must assess your injury to determine what injury you have suffered and to decide what treatment you require. This will include an assessment of your capacity to return to work and any recommendations concerning your return to work such as gradually increasing your hours or light duties. The doctor may recommend a workplace assessment to identify your return to work options.

Your doctor will provide you with a Work Capacity Certificate which you need to submit with your claim.

Whole person impairment assessments

If your injury is likely to be categorised as "serious", you will require a whole person impairment assessment when there is evidence that your injury has stabilised. It is important to note that you are entitled to request a whole person impairment and we can assist you in relation to obtaining that assessment.

Whole person impairment assessments are performed by medical practitioners that are accredited under the Accreditation Scheme established by the Minister for Industrial Relations. Their role is to assess injured workers and prepare assessment reports that are in accordance with the "Impairment assessment guidelines" to determine:

  • whether your injury has reached maximum medical improvement;
  • whether your injury has resulted in an impairment;
  • whether the impairment is permanent;
  • the degree of whole person impairment resulting from the work injury.

The degree of whole person impairment determines whether you are entitled to weekly payments after two years incapacity and also your entitlement to ongoing medical and other expenses. It is also significant in determining your access to lump sum payments for economic and non-economic loss.


Work Capacity Certificate 

Impairment Assessment Guidelines  

Do you need to make a claim?

If your injury results in time off work or medical or other expenses, you and your employer can submit a claim to the employer's claims agent.

We can assist you to complete the claim form. It is important to understand prior to lodging the claim form the significance of this document to your case and the significance of the Medical Authority and declarations on that form.

Your employer is required to forward a copy of the claim form and your Work Capacity Certificate to their claims agent within five business days of receiving it from you.

Workers of self-insured employers should provide this information to their employer according to its procedures.


Do you need to report an injury?

You must notify your employer within 24 hours of your injury occurring or if you can not do so, as soon as possible after your injury.

This can be done verbally or in writing. A representative such as a friend or family member can notify your employer initially if you are unable to do so. We can assist you to provide notice to ensure that all relevant details are provided and you are aware of your obligations and entitlements.

Notifiable Incidents

It is a legal requirement under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 for a person who conducts a business or undertaking to notify SafeWork SA of the following incidents:

  • a work related death;
  • a serious injury or illness of a person including immediate treatment for amputation, serious head, eye, burn and laceration injuries, separation of skin from underlying tissue, spinal injury or loss of body function, medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to substance;
  • a dangerous incident that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person's health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure, whether or not an injury has actually occurred.

Serious penalties can arise from failure to notify SafeWork SA of notifiable incidents.

See your doctor

After reporting your injury, you need to see a doctor to assess your injury to decide what injury you have suffered and what treatment you require, The doctor will then issue a Work Capacity Certificate which you will need to provide to your claims agent if you require time off work and decide to make a claim. It is vital that you carefully review the Work Capacity Certificate to ensure that all details completed are accurate.


Wills & Estate Planning

What is a Non-Standard Will?

A Non-Standard Will is one that provides for Standard Will provisions plus one or more of the following factors:

  1. An initial consultation longer than 1 hour or instructions provided over a number of consultations before finalising instructions.
  2. Where instructions or issues raised for discussion and advice provided by us contemplate any matters beyond the provisions of a Standard Will (regardless of whether a Standard Will is ultimately executed by you despite consideration of more complex issues prior thereto).
  3. Non-standard distributions.
  4. Clauses drafted to address specific circumstances for example blended families, control of trust structures, ownership of company structures, ownership of a SMSF, dealing with interfamily loans, and life estates.

What is a Standard Will?

A Standard Will is one that is prepared following an initial appointment of up to 1 hour and which provides for a standard estate distribution which is defined as follows:

  1. Appoint an individual (for example spouse or partner) as executor with substituted executors including (where relevant) provision addressing that the Will is made in contemplation of marriage.
  2. Gift residuary estate to an individual (for example spouse or partner) substituting children in equal shares and grandchild provision provided that if no beneficiaries, then divide residuary estate among selected family members.