Family & Relationships Law
If your marriage or de facto relationship has broken down and reconciliation is not likely, then choosing the right solicitor for your specific needs is very important.
The CK Lawyers team has years of experience in providing professional advice on family law matters, including:
- Divorce & Separation
- Children and Parental Responsibility
- Property Division
- Spousal maintenance and
- Child Support
We act with integrity and provide a level of personal service and care that helps make often difficult family legal issues more approachable, and easier to resolve.
Divorce and Separation
CK Lawyers provides prompt and accurate divorce advice.
The only matter which you need to prove to obtain a divorce from a court is that the “marriage has broken down irretrievably”; You need to show that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least one year.
Sometimes people separate but continue to live under the same roof, which complicates the divorce but the solution is to have other people tell the court in an affidavit (statement) that you and your spouse live separate lives but under the same roof.
The court must also be told if proper arrangements have been made for the children of the marriage.
With years of experience in family law, our solicitors can guide you through what can be a stressful process with understanding and respect.
Parental responsibility is naturally shared between the parents who are encouraged to reach an agreement. That agreement can be documented by way of a Parenting Plan or approach the court for a Court Order (by consent).
Any agreement will need to focus on “the best interests of the children” which is what the court will focus on. This is a legal principle and the primary considerations to the court will be
- that any child has a meaningful relationship with both parents
- that the children are not at risk of any harm
There are other considerations including the age, sex, and maturity of the child, the child’s views and the existing relationship between the parents and the child.
The court will look for ways to ensure that the child of the marriage spends “equal” or “substantial and significant” time with each parent.
We acknowledge the importance of children’s living arrangements when experiencing family breakdown. CK Lawyers can provide practical advice on the range of family law orders, helping you negotiate parenting orders by consent or through a defended hearing. Our services ensure that clients understand their position in plain English and we work with you to give you options should you feel that any assessment is not a fair result based on your circumstances.
“ KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE IS THE BEGINNING OF HAPPINESS ”
CK Lawyers can assist you negotiate a settlement with a view towards a binding financial agreement or consent orders.
We can provide legal representation at court for cases where settlement by negotiation could not be achieved.
At CK Lawyers we guide you through the process used by the court to determine your entitlement to property after the breakdown of your marriage or de facto relationship.
Property and financial settlements within family break down are complex. The court, if asked, will undertake a four-step process to arrive at a decision as to what each party is entitled to:
Step 1: Identify the assets and liabilities of the parties.
Step 2: Consider what contributions has each of the spouses made to the assets and liabilities.
This includes financial contributions such as wages and non-financial contributions such as looking after the children and the housework.
Step 3: Look at the party’s needs now and in the future due to health, age and having young dependent children live with you.
Step 4: Decide on a division which is just and equitable in the circumstances. This is not an exact science.
Either spouse can make an application for property settlement immediately after separation but no later than one (1) year from the date of the divorce.
Most settlements are resolved by agreement with consent orders made by a court or a financial agreement being made between the parties. Our team ensures that your rights are protected and will work to deliver a desirable outcome.
CK Lawyers has an experienced history of successfully finalising property settlements by negotiation or by applying to the Family Court.
Spousal maintenance payments can relieve financial pressure after the parties have separated. Usually one of the spouses has dedicated themselves to the household chores and to looking after the children and separation puts them at a disadvantage because it is difficult for them to get into paid work when they need to look after the children, let alone that their skills have not been upgraded since the birth of the children.
As the legal process can be long and drawn out, it is crucial for those who may have not been the primary income earner to be supported financially. Things such as mortgage repayments, rent, and bills are considered while property settlements and division are being worked out.
Courts decide on Spousal Maintenance Payment orders based on:
- Duration of the marriage and if/how this affected their earning capacity
- Health, and any illness or disability
- Ability to work
- Care of children
- Standard of living
CK Lawyers will expertly guide you through this process to ensure you receive a fair Spousal Maintenance.
Just as with parental responsibility, both parents are responsible for the financial support of the children until each child turns 18. Child support can be what the parents agree on, or failing agreement, as determined by the Child Support Agency which has many formulae to apply depending on the circumstances.
If you object to a decision of the Child Support Agency, then we can assist you with having the decision Reviewed internally, at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal or at the Family Court.
Pre-nuptial Agreements and Binding Financial Agreements
A Pre-nuptial Agreement or Binding Financial Agreement prevents disputes and adds certainty before you marry. The CK Lawyers team can guide you through the process to determine how your assets will be allocated if your marriage breaks down and can also prevent disputes from ending up in court.
Pre-nuptial Agreements are formalised for several reasons including protecting family, property, and business interests. An agreement can:
- Distinguish between separate and marital property
- Protect one spouse from the other’s debts
- Provide for children from previous relationships
- Keep family property in the family
- Protect your estate plan
- Define property distribution upon divorce
- Detail what responsibilities you have during the marriage
There are several reasons why a person might contemplate a Binding Financial agreement, but these must be carefully drafted to avoid disputes about the contents of the agreement 5, 10 or more years after the agreement was signed.
CK Lawyers teams of experienced family lawyers can assist you draft an agreement which is most appropriate for your specific needs.
De Facto relationships
Modern Australia is made up of many different family arrangements. De facto couples, including same-sex couples, who have separated can file an application in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court for a property settlement in the same way that married couple can.
Applications for de facto financial orders must occur within two years of the breakdown of the relationship, however if this time has passed, you need the Court’s permission to apply. We can advise on your matter to confirm whether your circumstances satisfy the criteria before filing an application
Settlement Conferences help the parties reach a quick resolution to family law issues and are a viable alternative for those wanting to avoid the stress and financial implications of going to court. The process involves meetings which can cover any matter of concern and often lead to agreements being made between all parties, with input from legal and financial advisors.
Walid Kalouche, Director of CK Lawyers, is a respected Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, and one of the first to be registered under the Australian Attorney General’s Department’s new scheme. Well-respected in the legal fraternity, Walid is regularly approached to act as a third-party mediator in family law disputes.
CK Lawyers have experience in family law court and our legal team is available to represent you and your best interests. While it is less costly to reach agreement about family law matters outside of court, this process is not always possible. CK Lawyers can be trusted to represent you in child support issues, divorce and de-facto settlements, and property settlement cases.
Domestic violence takes many forms and impacts those who experience it and those who witness it. Domestic violence is unacceptable and we work to help ensure your safety, and that of your children.
Domestic violence laws, specifically through an AVO (Apprehended Violence Order) help keep a violent spouse or partner away. If necessary, we will assist you in obtaining an AVO as this very relevant in children’s issues and sometimes in property settlement matters. To get an AVO you will need to show that you fear the defendant and that there are reasonable grounds for you to fear the defendant. You should report any incident to the police. The police may apply for a Provisional AVO on your behalf.
Our team can advise you on obtaining AVOs for your safety, and the implications of AVOs in relation to parenting arrangements.
CK lawyers can also help those who have been wrongly accused of domestic violence by challenging it at court. Regrettably, sometimes AVO applications are misused to obtain advantage in Family Law matters, but we will be glad to help you overcome them if you have been wrongly accused.
AVO breaches can have drastic consequences to the victim, and the offender can be fined up to $5000, or be jailed for 2 years, or both.