Family lawyers are professionals who deal with issues regarding family law. Family attorneys also mediate family disagreements and represent litigants in family conflicts that are moved to court. Here is a look at some of the services you can expect from your family lawyer.
Divorce is a complex matter that requires the expertise of a family lawyer. In Australia, divorce matters are presided over based on the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975. According to the Act, the "no-fault principle" should be used during divorce cases. This means you should not give any reasons for your divorce, only that your marriage has broken down and cannot be retrieved.
A family lawyer will help you apply for a divorce, according to the statutory requirements. Filing for a divorce only applies if you and your spouse have been separated for 12 months. You also have to be an Australian citizen or to be residing in Australia. You may be required to go through counselling to determine the possibility of reconciliation before applying for a divorce.
In Australia, property settlements may either be informal agreements, financial agreements or consent orders. Though you may not need a lawyer for informal agreements, it is advisable to have legal counsel for any of these agreements. The family law courts usually require you to try and resolve the matter through a mediation service before involving the court in a property settlement.
A family lawyer will represent you in court during property settlements. The court will look at things like your assets, debts, direct and indirect contributions and future requirements before making a decision on how the property will be divided between you and your ex-spouse. Your attorney is also skilled in concepts such as superannuation and de-facto relationships and will ensure you get the best possible deal.
Another issue that family lawyers deal with is paternity cases. During divorces, the question of paternity mainly arises when one spouse is claiming child support or custody. If paternity is a problem in a case before the court, you may ask the court for a DNA paternity testing or declaration of paternity.
A family lawyer will advise you whether to demand a DNA paternity test. The court will order a DNA test only if any parenting applications made are in the best interest of the child. Your family lawyer will help pursue a DNA test and make any other legal claims to ensure the court rules in your favour in cases involving child support and custody.