Unfortunately, when a relationship breaks down, in addition to the emotional and stressful feelings you encounter you still have to resolve your family law matters. Whether it is a parenting plan or property settlement, our job is to represent you and achieve the best possible outcomes for your rights. The breakdown of a relationship is indeed a difficult time. We aim for the most cost-efficient settlement without the need for court litigation. However, at times one party can be unreasonable and a court order application is inevitable. North Law offers a fixed cost for our standard non-complex binding financial agreement and application for consent orders.


When your marriage ends, you need to apply to the court for a dissolution of marriage (grant of divorce). What you need to know:

  • You do not need to prove why the marriage ended, you only need to prove that you have both lived separately for more than 12 months and the marriage has ended irrevocably and that there is no chance of getting back together.
  • If you live under the same roof but separated, you need to provide more information such as change in your living arrangements or change in financial arrangements.
  • A divorce application can be applied for solely or jointly with your spouse.
  • A divorce application can be more complex when there are children from the marriage under 18 if you make a sole application.
  • Separation and divorce may revoke your will. You may need to amend or make a new will.
  • Settle the division of matrimonial property first. If you apply for a grant of divorce before finalising your property settlement, you have 12 months from when the divorce takes effect to apply for a property settlement order before asking for the court’s leave.


For property settlement, the starting point is the parties’ financial and non-financial contributions to the combined assets and financial resources prior to and throughout the relationship and post separation. Being the breadwinner, being the primary homemaker or receiving inheritance are some examples. The court will also consider each party’s future needs and the children’s arrangements.

What you need to know:

  • Financial disclosure is a must in property settlement. Each party must disclose and provide all documents that show their current financial position before they can enter into any legal agreement or even lodge an initiating application with the court.
  • List all your financial and non-financial contributions to the family’s assets and financial resources. Is there debt? Is there a family trust or company? Is there any negative contribution towards financial loss in the family such as gambling or an extravagant lifestyle? Do you have future needs? Do you need spousal or de-facto partner maintenance? Do you need a child support agreement?

If you and your spouse/partner have come to an agreement:

You can document your property settlement in the form of a Binding Financial Agreement or Consent Orders. A Binding Financial Agreement is a private agreement between both parties outlining property divisions. It has the risk of being challenged, because it does not involve the court’s interference. A Consent Order is the court’s orders made with the consent of both parties. It is final and binding and the most cost-effective way to finalise your property divisions. Note that with Binding Financial Agreements your spouse/partner must seek independent legal advice.

If you and your spouse/partner cannot agree:

Then you must seek court orders. This is when the court decides the divisions in your marital assets. The court can make adjustments when it is just and equitable in all circumstances. The court’s pre-action procedure process must be satisfied before an application can be lodged, meaning that both parties should enter mediation prior to or at least have exhausted all efforts to invite the other party to come to mediation.

Any questions? We offer a 15 minutes free initial telephone consultation. We offer a fixed fee for non-complex property settlements. 


Parenting Plan and Parenting Orders

Sometimes parents misunderstand that they have equal rights to spend time with their children. The court perceives parenting orders differently. The child is the one who owns the right to spend time with and have a meaningful relationship with each parent. When deciding on a parenting plan after separation, parents must focus on what is in the the child’s interests and that includes the needs of the child. Parenting arrangements may include agreements such as who has the primary care for the child (where the child lives), how many days a week a child spends with a parent, the location and even the time of the day communication with the child takes place. ‘Taking turns’ for special occasions such as the child’s birthday, Easter, Christmas and New Year holidays should be factored in. You should also decide on long term arrangements such as schooling, the child’s medical needs, domestic or international travel.

If both parents can reach an agreement:

Then parents can formalise their parenting plan in the form of Consent Orders. We will make an application for Consent Orders on your behalf for the court’s approval. This is the most cost-effective way to have your parenting plans formalised in accordance with your family’s personal circumstances and at the same time ensuring they are binding and legally enforceable.

If both parents cannot reach an agreement:

Then you will have to make an application for parenting orders to the court. The court will make parenting orders based on what the court believes is in the child’s best interests and at times this may not be a suitable outcome for both parties. Note that before we can submit our initiating application, this is the same with property settlements, both parties must first follow the dispute resolution process or at least attempt to invite the other party to mediate.     

What you need to remember:

  • Think about the child’s best interests and your personal circumstances. You need to set up a schedule that is practical and you can meet. For example, if you do night shifts, if you have rostered work times or do FIFO or DIDO, is there an alternative family member that both parties can agree to care for the child such as grandparents.
  • Parenting Plans or Parenting Orders can be more complex when domestic violence is involved, or the child’s safety is in danger.

If you have any questions? We offer a 15 minutes free initial telephone consultation. We offer fixed fees for non-complex children’s matters.