Divorce, Child Custody & Domestic Violence
FAQs about Australian Family Law
At Armstrong Legal, we have an approachable team of specialist family lawyers who
are highly experienced in relation to property matters, child custody disputes,
separation and divorce.
Below are some of the more commonly asked questions
regarding family law. To see the answer, simply click on the question in the grey
Of course, if your question isn't answered on this page or you need further advice on
any family law related matter, contact Armstrong Legal.
Statics show that approximately 85% of family law disputes are resolved without
the Court being required to make any decision. In other words people have agreed as
to the outcome of their dispute and have only used the Court services to formalise
that agreement or have decided that they do not require the agreement to be
formalised at all. Further, of the Cases that are filed with the Court for
determination only approximately 2% of those cases actually proceed to a final
determination by a Judge or Federal Magistrate. The remaining 13% of cases are
settled after the case has been filed in Court but before the handing down of the
These statics emphasise that only a very small proportion of all family law
disputes require the Court to make a determination. In most cases the Court's
involvement is only to provide formality and finality to the agreement.
When you are faced with family breakdown, divorce, or another family law problem,
one of the decisions you need to make is whether you need a lawyer. Some families
manage their way through the legal side of things without any formal legal advice. It
really depends on how difficult your situation is and what is at stake.
The checklist below may help you decide whether you need a lawyer to help you.
If you answer 'yes' to any of the questions
below, you are more than likely to benefit from legal advice:
- Are there children involved?
- Are you unsure of what you are entitled to?
- Has your partner hired a lawyer?
- Is violence an issue or a possible issue?
- Do you feel emotionally unprepared to handle the negotiations yourself?
- Is there likely to be a disagreement over the dividing of the property or
- Is your partner likely to want to move interstate, overseas or far away with
- Are you transferring assets between yourselves and require assistance in
obtaining an exception from the payment of stamp duty or tax?
If you do need a lawyer, please contact us to discuss your situation.
- We have a specialist team of fourteen full time family lawyers practising
exclusively in family law making us the largest dedicated family law team in Sydney
CBD. Having such a specialist team enables us to delegate work to a solicitor who
has appropriate level of experience to provide costs savings to you. It also
provides us with the experience, resources, individual attention and efficiency
that cannot be offered by our competitors.
- All family law solicitors either have a Masters Degree or are studying to
obtain a Masters Degree in Applied Family Law through the College of Law.
- Our offices are located conveniently in York Street, Sydney (opposite the Queen
Victoria Building) with easy access to trains, buses and parking. We are only a
short walk from the Family Court and see clients by an appointment at Parramatta,
Miranda, Wollongong and in Canberra.
- We have both male and female solicitors available to help you.
- We have solicitors with University qualifications in Psychology and Social
Sciences to assist you in negotiations, the difficulties faced in the breakdown of
a relationship and with greater insight in relation to issues involving
- We have eleven solicitors trained to be Independent
Children's Lawyers (ICL), which means they have undergone
additional training to enable them to represent the interests of children. Again,
this gives great insight and advantage in dealing with
- We have solicitors that have University qualifications in Accounting which
provides a distinct advantage in financial cases in dealing with the dollars and
- We have solicitors trained in mediation and alternate dispute resolution,
including Collaborative Law, to assist you in obtaining the best possible results
out of Court.
- We are ISO 9001 accredited which means we have proven and tested strategies in
place for managing your matter and our firm. Our management practices meet the
qualifications standards and are to make sure we are providing you with the best
- Our lawyers are chosen not only for their technical skills and expertise, but
also for their demonstrated care and compassion towards their clients. Each of our
lawyers are motivated to make a genuine difference in the day-to-day lives of our
- We have relationships with the best experts including accountants, financial
planners, valuers of real estates, businesses, jewellery, vehicles, boats and other
items, leading mediators and arbitrators, psychologists and psychiatrists who are
leaders in their fields, as well as a panel of Australia's best
family law barristers with whom we work regularly. All of these resources are
available to our clients as and when needed.
- We will provide you with realistic advice as to what we can achieve for you in
your situation and more importantly, we will speak candidly to you in relation to
what we will not be able to achieve on your behalf. We will discuss strategies with
you and outline the options as to how to approach your situation in order to
achieve the best outcome for you. You will be central to all decisions that are
made and kept informed at every step of the process.
- We will speak to you candidly about costs and the expenses associated with
running your case so that you can make informed decisions about which course of
action to pursue and its likely benefit to you.
We believe that we can provide you with advice and service in all aspects of
family law which is second to none. We suggest you contact us on 9261 4555 to discuss
your situation and how we can make a difference to you.
We do not take on Legal Aid assigned work from the general public, however, we do
from time-to-time take on Legal Aid assignments to represent children in Family Court
disputes as an Independent Children's Lawyer.
In order to undertake this role many of our Lawyers have undergone additional
training in relation to the bests interests of children, their needs and the Court
process from their perspective.
From time-to-time we undertake pro bono work as a matter of referral from various
church based agencies to assist where there has been a substantial injustice or need
for assistance. We do this as part of our service to the community.
Unfortunately we are unable to take requests for pro bono work from the public. If
you are in need of legal assistance and unable to pay for legal fees we suggest that
you contact Legal Aid or a local community legal centre.
- Property Settlement and Spousal Maintenance (De Facto
Couples) - The limitation period for filing
an application for property settlement or maintenance arising from a de facto
relationship is two (2) years from the date of separation.
- divorce - There is no time limit by which
an Application for divorce must be brought, however, no Application for divorce can
be brought unless there has been a period of 12 months of separation between the
parties. That period of separation may be under one roof.
- Property settlement and Spousal Maintenance (Married Couples)
- The limitation period for bringing an application for property
settlement for couples that have been married is 12 months from the date of
divorce, however, an application can be brought at any time prior to this date and
- Appeals - The limitation period for
bringing an appeal against any Order of the Family Court or Federal Magistrates
Court may vary depending upon the type of Order to be appealed or reviewed. Some
Orders require an appeal or review to be lodged within seven (7) days and others
within twenty eight (28) days of the making of the Order. If you require further
information in relation to appeals or reviews please contact us to discuss your
- Consent Orders - Application for Consent
Orders filed in the Family Court of Australia are currently being determined
between seven (7) to twenty one (21) days from the date of filing. In our
experience most matters that are agreed between the parties are able to have
Consent Orders made and the matter finally resolved six (6) to eight (8) weeks from
the date of us receiving initial instructions.
- Interim Hearings - An Application in a Case
filed for the determination of an interim issue is usually listed for determination
within six (6) to ten (10) weeks of the date of filing, however, it is not uncommon
for matters not to be reached on the first occasion and require a further listing
in order to be finally determined.
- Urgent Interim Hearings - Applications
seeking that the matter be listed urgently are currently being listed for
determination between seven (7) and fourteen (14) days from the date of
- Extremely Urgent Interim Applications -
Extremely Urgent Applications in a Case are normally listed the same day that the
Application is filed or in some instances the following day and are usually
determined on the date on which the matter is listed.
- Final Orders - Current matters filed for
determination in the Family Court of Australia that proceed to a Final Hearing are
being determined approximately 18-24 months from the date of filing.
- Appeals - To the Full Court of the Family
Court of Australia are currently being determined approximately nine (9) to twelve
(12) months from the date of filing of the appeal.
The following issues should be heard in the Family Court of Australia:
- International child abduction;
- International relocation;
- Disputes as to whether a case should be heard in Australia;
- Special medical procedures such as gender reassignment or sterilisation;
- Contravention and related Applications in parenting cases relating to Orders
which have been made in the Family Court of Australia and been determined within 12
months prior to filing of the Contravention Application;
- Serious allegations of sexual abuse or physical abuse of a child or serious
controlling family violence;
- Complex questions of jurisdiction;
- If the matter for a final hearing is likely to be taken in excess of four (4)
days of hearing time;
- Matters in relation to adoptions; and
- Matters in relation to the validity of a marriage or validity of divorce.
- All other matters should be filed in the FMC.
Either the Court of its own motion or either of the parties may request that a
matter be transferred between the Federal Magistrates Court and the Family Court of
Australia if it is considered that the matter was filed in the wrong venue. This
often causes increased cost and delay for parties.
If you have any concerns about the appropriate venue for your dispute to be heard
please contact us to discuss your situation.
where to next?
Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?
Why Choose Armstrong Legal?