Need to separate or get divorced?

A no court approach to separation and property settlement is always the best option. Sometimes this just isn’t doable for a number of reasons. You are in the best position to know if it is or isn’t. You know your partner better than we do so you need to make a decision whether you and your partner might be able to work collaboratively together to consider a no court option.  If you think it is something that is possible, then scoot on over to our Collaborative Law service at the Fraser Coast Family Law Centre to read all about our no court options. On second thoughts, why don’t you scoot on over there anyway and see what it is all about before making a decision about whether it is right for you and your partner? After considering the revolutionary Collaborative Process involved in Collaborative Law you may be convinced it is an option for you and your partner.

You and the other party haven’t been able to agree and Court Proceedings have commenced or are on the horizon; or

You have either decided that the Collaborative Process is not right for you or things have reached a new low giving a clear indication that court proceedings may be your only option.

It’s a shame that the Collaborative Family Law Process isn’t for you and your partner. That’s ok because we can still work with you towards a resolution in or out of the court process. We regularly act for clients in Family Law proceedings that are already before the court. We can also act for you in mediations and conciliations that are the subject of court proceedings or as part of a court process in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia both in Queensland and interstate, whether you are seeking representation in property or parenting matters or both.

I’ve been served with court documents and I don’t know what to do next.

First and foremost, don’t panic!

If you have been served with documents in court proceedings, in either the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia, then contact our office immediately to make an appointment so we can act to protect your interests and provide you with some preliminary advice. When you make an appointment with us tell our staff that you have been served with court documents and this will be a hint for them to make the earliest appointment we can for you.

Whilst we mostly act for clients in Family Law property and parenting cases on a private retainer, we are Preferred Suppliers with Legal Aid Queensland in Family Law, so be sure to advise our staff if you need to apply for assistance from Legal Aid Queensland and we can provide you with an appropriate application to complete prior to your appointment with us. This application can be collected from our reception desk or we can forward one to you by email if you wish. Conditions do apply before a successful grant of assistance is approved by Legal Aid Queensland. When you provide us with your application for a grant of aid from Legal Aid Queensland you must also provide a photocopy of your most recent pension or health care card and bank statements for a period of 3 months for any bank account held in your name, even if it is held jointly. Failure to do this will result in us not being able to process your application.

Remember in order for us to assist you in the most positive and effective way in your Family Law proceeding, you must co-operate with us in the process and comply with everything we ask of you.

Do not delay when you have been served with court proceedings; don’t ignore court proceedings in this jurisdiction as it may mean orders are made in your absence.

The other party and I have agreed to an outcome regarding our property and/or parenting.

Well Done!

We can reduce the agreement you have reached into an enforceable Financial Agreement or Consent Orders that will be legally enforceable under the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975 in no time at all. Your partner will need to engage another lawyer to have them review the agreement or orders we draft, and obtain advice independently of us. We can assist by suggesting a referral to another lawyer for your partner in this regard.

Help…my partner has relocated with our children and taken them interstate without my consent OR they have taken our children or one of them and I don’t know where they are currently located.

Recovery and Relocation Orders can present some very complex issues, particularly if you don’t have current court orders in place regarding your parenting arrangements. As a first step contact our office immediately and book an urgent appointment and mention to any staff member who answers the telephone call that you may need a recovery or relocation order but are not sure. We can then assess the factual circumstances you provide and advise you fully from there.

Our staff are not able to advise you but are well trained in assessing the urgency of a case in a first telephone call to alert a lawyer.

We have successfully appeared in a large number of recovery cases.

Remember, Police generally will not assist you to recover a child without a court order in place directing them to do so. There are exceptions to this general statement and police will act if, from their own investigations and in their view, they reasonably suspect that a child is at risk. This does not mean Police will hand a child over to you. Police have a process they must follow and they will not make decisions as to which parent a child ought to be with, as that is outside their role. They will exercise their processes through their own Child Protection Investigation Unit if warranted and collaborate with other child welfare authorities. Police can and will do welfare checks if you are worried about a child and you know where they are.

NOTE WARNING: If the parent who has taken the child is a foreign national then there are urgent steps that need to be taken in the court to prevent a child being removed from Australia. It does not matter if they don’t have an Australian passport issued to them because some foreign nationals have dual citizenship countries and this may also include them having a passport issued to them from a foreign embassy. Some of these countries will issue a passport for a child at the request of a male relative and the consent of the mother is not sought or required by embassy official based on religious and cultural matters.

You need to answer some very important questions from us as a first step in the recovery process and you should make notes regarding these things before your appointment:-

  1. The parenting arrangements in place just prior to the child’s removal or relocation;
  2. Whether the child’s whereabouts are known or unknown to you and if unknown the circumstances leading up to the child’s whereabouts becoming unknown to you;
  3. The efforts you have made to attempt to make contact with the other parent or discover the child’s whereabouts;
  4. Specifically detail any risk factors that may impact on the welfare of the child such as past family or domestic violence, drug addiction or antisocial or other behaviors that may place the child at risk of harm as well as past incidents of child neglect or abuse that may place the child in a category of future or likely harm;
  5. Provide us with a copy of any current court orders in place.

Even though relocation and recovery applications are often very urgent, of paramount consideration to a court assessing whether to make an order or not are what is in the best interests of a child and that is the case throughout any court proceeding involving children. These applications must be carefully and yet quickly prepared.

Warning – If applications for recovery are not prepared correctly and with care, and are not brought appropriately they can be the subject of a successful application to dismiss them and while we have successfully obtained recovery and relocation orders on behalf of clients in many cases before both the Family Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Magistrates Court locally, we have also successfully thwarted several applications for recovery and relocation on behalf of respondents for this very reason.

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