Divorce, property settlement, parenting arrangements, spousal maintenance, enforcement proceedings, and dispute resolution.

Family Law

Our Family Law practice sits uniquely within Lavan's multi-faceted law firm. We are able to provide our family law clients with in-house expertise across other areas of law which could have a bearing on their family law matter including property, tax, wills, estate planning, business and insolvency.
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Family Law

Lavan's team of family lawyers offer in-house expertise, advice and representation in all family law matters including divorce, property settlement, parenting arrangements, spousal maintenance, enforcement proceedings, and dispute resolution.

Our experienced family lawyers practise within our multi-faceted law firm. 

We are able to provide our family law clients with in-house expertise across other areas of law which could have a bearing on their family law matter including property, tax, wills, estate planning, business, commercial and insolvency.

Lavan's team of family lawyers has been recognised in the Doyle’s guide in 2015 and 2016 as a recommended law firm.

Our Services

Property settlements

At Lavan, our family lawyers are well versed at analysing property issues, including complex financial arrangements, and are able to advise on the optimum presentation of property applications.  They can also advise you on the likely outcome of the case if it proceeds to Court.  Our aim is to provide you with realistic advice and to see matters properly finalised.

The Family Court has the power to make orders for property settlement.  All of the assets of the parties, whether the assets are in joint names or not, are taken into account.  Each party has an obligation to fully disclose his or her financial position to the Court and the other party.

The Court is obliged to make orders which are “just and equitable” having regard to:

  • the financial contributions of each of the parties.
  • the non-financial contributions of each of the parties, particularly in the role of homemaker and parent.
  • the future financial position of the parties, including the need to provide for children and the capacity of the parties to provide for those needs.

Applications for Property Settlement can be commenced at any time up until 12 months after a divorce becomes final.  Different limitation periods can apply for de facto couples.

Spousal maintenance

Lavan’s family lawyers can assist and represent you through the process of applying for, or defending, a spousal maintenance application.  We can:

  • Provide you with preliminary advice and assess whether you are potentially eligible for spousal maintenance or liable to pay it to your former partner.
  • Use our forensic and legal expertise to accurately assess you and your former partner/spouse’s current financial position in the context of a spousal maintenance claim.
  • If you are potentially eligible for spousal maintenance or liable to pay it, we will work to negotiate a favourable settlement for you, thereby avoiding unnecessary litigation and legal costs.
  • In the absence of an out-of-court agreement, we can represent you at Court in relation to your spousal maintenance application.
  • If necessary, we will draft and lodge all required documentation at the Family Court setting out your claim or defence for spousal maintenance.

In critical circumstances, we will ensure quick turnarounds on drafting and lodging your application with the Family Court so as to secure you an urgent Court hearing.

Financial agreements, "Pre-nuptial", "Cohabitation" and/or "Separation" Agreements

Financial Agreements can be made and entered into by couples before, during or after a marriage or de facto relationship.

A Financial Agreement may address issues and cover aspects of the division of assets, property settlement, entitlements to financial resources, superannuation splitting (for married couples in WA only) and spousal maintenance.  The benefit of entering into a Financial Agreement is to provide certainty, the ability to protect assets and financial resources following a relationship breakdown.  They may also help avoid expensive and time consuming court proceedings following separation.

For a Financial Agreement to be binding, the parties must have each had independent advice from a legal practitioner about the effect of the Agreement upon their rights and the advantages and disadvantages of making the Agreement, and a certificate to this effect must be contained in the Agreement.  The Lavan Family Law team provides services to our clients to prepare and review Financial Agreements and ensure due process is followed.

Child Support

Every parent in Australia has an obligation to financially support their child or children.  When parents separate, we suggest that they contact the Australian Government Department of Human Services (Department of Human Services) to discuss their options.

Child support is always determined on a case by case basis using a complex formula. There are a number of factors the Department of Human Services takes into account when making an assessment including each party’s income, level of care provided and number of nights each child stays with a parent.

Lavan’s Family Law team are highly experienced in advising clients as to their child support obligations and assisting clients with both simple and complex child support matters.

Our lawyers will represent you if you prefer to enter into a private agreement and depart from a child support assessment.  We can negotiate the terms, formalise the agreement and lodge the agreement with the Family Court or Department of Human Services and represent you throughout the whole process.

In more complicated matters, Lavan’s family lawyers can assist you prepare and lodge departure applications with the Family Court of Western Australia.  We can also assist you if you have been served with a departure application for child support and can prepare your response to objections and/ or negotiate terms on your behalf.

Children and Parenting

Lavan will assist with negotiation in relation to children's arrangements, both with respect to who a child will live with and time spent with the other parent; and specific issues such as parental responsibility, education and medical matters.  

Our Family Law team can also advise you on what parenting arrangement might also be best for your child or children upon separation, including where they are to live, with whom they are to live, and how often they see the other parent.

In the event that no agreement is reached, Lavan will represent parties in court seeking an appropriate, timely and cost-effective outcome.

It is necessary for arrangements to be made in relation to the children of a relationship following separation, including:

  • who the child lives with.
  • who the child spends time with, and for how long.
  • travel arrangements, including interstate and overseas travel.
  • the child's educational arrangements.
  • special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and birthdays.
  • specific issues such as medical treatment.

Parties can often reach agreement in relation to children's arrangements following advice from a solicitor, mediation, counselling or Family Dispute Resolution.  In the event that no agreement is reached, a party may commence proceedings in the Family Court seeking appropriate orders.

The Family Law Act (1975) allows for any person who has an interest in the care, welfare and development of a child to make an application about that child.  This means that persons who are not the parents may apply to the Court for Orders, including grandparents.

The Court can make Orders which it considers to be in the best interests of the children, despite the apparent conflict with the wishes or the interests of either of the parents or children.  Such an order literally deals only with when a child lives with a parent, or spends time with a parent.  It does not affect other responsibilities that parents have in making decisions about children including medical, dental and educational matters.

Parenting laws state that the welfare of the child is of paramount importance.  If both parties cannot agree, a Judge will make a decision after considering all the relevant factors.  In some cases the Court can require that the children be separately represented by their own solicitor.

Relocation matters, international and cross-jurisdictional law matters

As international and interstate relationships become more common, and society becomes more mobile, issues surrounding the relocation of parents and children after the breakdown of a relationship become more prevalent.

Our Family Law team is able to assist and advise clients in dealing with these issues, including negotiations and/or litigation regarding relocation and associated issues of residence (living arrangements), contact (what time the child spends with a parent) and child support.

Where appropriate our services include:

  • Taking urgent steps to prevent the removal of a child from the State or country.
  • Preventing the issue of a passport for a child where there is a risk of abduction.
  • Liaison with the Federal Police to prevent international abduction.

If there is a fear that one party may remove the child from the other, or if the child has actually been removed, an urgent Order can be obtained from the Court to prevent the child from being taken away, to have the child returned or to locate the child.  This is important if there is a possibility that the child may be taken overseas. 

Divorce

Either party to a marriage (or both together) can make a divorce application once they have been separated from their spouse for a period of not less than 12 months.  The basis of seeking a divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

In Western Australia, applications for divorce are brought in the Family Court of Western Australia.  There is a filing fee payable to the Court when filing an Application for Divorce.  In most cases, it usually takes about three months for a divorce to be finalised from the time of filing.

If there are children, the Court must be satisfied that they are being properly cared for, and the arrangements made for the children are satisfactory.

Once granted by the Court, a Divorce Order takes effect, and is therefore final, one month after the Court makes the Divorce Order – unless there are special circumstances to vary this.

De facto relationships

The Family Law team can advise on steps to take before or during a de facto relationship to prevent later arguments in the event the relationship breaks down.  We are also involved in assisting parties who, following the breakdown of a de facto relationship, must resort to proceedings in the Court.

Recent legislative changes in Western Australia enable parties to certain de facto relationships (including same sex couples) to access an equivalent range of remedies in the Family Court with regard to financial matters to those presently available to married couples.

The law regarding parenting arrangements and child support is generally applicable to all children in the same manner, irrespective of whether the parents are in a marriage or de facto relationship.

Enforcement proceedings

Unfortunately, even where agreements have been reached or Family Court orders made, it can be necessary for enforcement steps to be taken where one party does not comply.

The Family Court has significant powers to enforce its orders, and the range of options can be complex.  Our Family Law team is experienced in advising its clients as to the appropriate enforcement options and in pursuing those options quickly and vigorously.

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution

Mediation is a process in which a third party (the mediator) helps the parties to a family law dispute come to an agreement.  The mediator facilitates communication between the parties, and with the assistance of the parties’ respective legal representatives during the mediation process, the prospect of the parties reaching an agreement is optimised.

The Family Law team at Lavan can provide advice prior to parties attending alternative dispute resolution and/or attend a mediation with the client.