Family Law

CHILDREN

By helping to reduce conflict through early intervention, your family will benefit from our help in drafting a parenting plan or Consent Orders.

Usually, a child’s parents and other family members are the best equipped to ensure that the child’s emotional well-being is considered.

Unfortunately though, in times of conflict between parents it is sometimes necessary to get assistance to resolve parenting arrangements for the child.

When it is needed, early, proactive intervention which is focused toward defining the child’s best interests and meeting the needs of the people in dispute should be the primary goal of the child’s family and their lawyers.

Our lawyers are experienced in drafting workable agreements which deal with where a child will live, how often they spend time with each of their parents, how special days like birthdays and holidays will be dealt with and even specific issues around religious beliefs and relocation. These issues, which have over time been known as “custody”, “residence”, “access” and “contact” must be dealt with appropriately in any agreement relating to children so that the family has a blueprint with which to move forward. The important role of grandparents, stepparents and other important people in the child’s life must also be considered and appropriately reflected.

Our family lawyers diplomatically negotiate these delicate issues but they also have the experience and knowledge of the court process required to ensure that if the matter needs to be resolved in court it can be done quickly, effectively and in the most cost efficient manner.

Aaron Suthers is an Accredited Family Law Specialist in New South Wales and Queensland and a qualified and experienced independent children’s lawyer, appointed by the Court on a regular basis to assist in assessing what is in the child’s best interest.

This specialist knowledge in the most difficult of parenting cases gives him an advantage in understanding not only what the Court needs to know but how best interest decisions are made. Don’t just take our word for it though, in 2012 Justice Baumann of the Federal Circuit Court said:

“Finally, it is appropriate in this matter to record the Court’s appreciation to the persistence and effort of the ICL Mr Aaron Suthers. This has been a difficult case with a lot of “twists”, however, it would have been much more difficult for the Court to come to what it believes are orders in the best interests of” [the children] “without Mr Suthers’ dedicated and professional approach.”

Specific Circumstances


All parents share parental responsibility for each of their children, unless the Court orders otherwise.

When deciding what parenting orders are in a child’s best interests the Court will usually have to consider whether equal shared time with their parents is in a child’s best interests.

That does not mean, though, that a Court must always order equal shared time.

We can assist you in ensuring that the specific needs of your children are taken into account when parenting orders are made.


Without the agreement of both parties a Court is unlikely to consider changing orders for a child unless it is satisfied that there has been a change of circumstances since the original orders were made. Whilst anything can constitute a change of circumstances, common factors include:

  • Changed living arrangements of one of the parents or the child
  • Relocation of one of the parents
  • A change in the ability of one of the parents to provide for or care for the child
  • A significant change in the views of a child who the Court is satisfied has reached a level of maturity where those view should be given significant weight.


Before you can apply to a Court for parenting orders that are not agreed to by the other party, including orders seeking to change an existing parenting order, you will usually need to attend Family Dispute Resolution.

FDR is a particular type of mediation where you can try and resolve any differences of opinion about what is in your child’s best interests without going to Court.

We can assist you in this process and Aaron Suthers is a family dispute resolution provider, authorised by the Attorney General to assist parents in this process.


Most separated couples can, with some assistance, reach agreement about the orders which are in the best interests of their children, without ever going to Court.

We can help you formalise these arrangements with a parenting plan or Court order so that your agreement is properly documented and, if necessary, enforceable through a Court.

We have helped thousands of our clients to obtain orders by agreement, saving them thousands of dollars and years of delay in the Court process.


After separation one parent might want to move to another town and take the children with them. This is described by family lawyers as a “relocation case”.

Ultimately, whilst the Court will not prevent a parent from relocating, they may order that the children not relocate.

These cases can be particularly difficult and you need a solicitor who is experienced in presenting evidence to the Court about whether a move is in the child’s best interests.

With 15 years’ experience as an Accredited Family Law Specialist and Independent Children’s Lawyer, Aaron Suthers can guide you through this process.


Child abduction can take many forms. It may be that a parent wishes to alienate a child from the other parent, that they are concerned for the child’s well-being or they simply want to move in breach of Court orders without following the proper process.

It is very important to obtain prompt, clear advice if you lose contact with your child and former spouse. We have experience in applications under the Hague Convention, if the child has been taken out of Australia.

For more information, contact us to make an appointment to discuss your situation. Of course any information you give us is kept strictly confidential. We offer a discounted fixed fee initial appointment.

PROPERTY

Doing a settlement of property involves more than just deciding who gets what.

Any solicitor can help you and your partner divide your assets on separation. Done badly it looks like it has been done with an axe. The real skill is to carefully separate your assets, with a view to minimising the damage done to businesses and family wealth. You need solicitors who think about the tax and other consequences of financial separation, and try to maximise what is left for you, and your family, when the process is finished.

The four steps to property division

When a Court decides how the property of separated couples should be divided, a Court usually adopts a four step process:

  1. The Court needs to consider whether it should make any order. For example, if you have lived together with your partner for many years, keeping your finances separate and have agreed to never make a claim on the other partner’s property, the Court may decide that there is no reason to make any order at all.
  2. If the Court decides to make an order it needs to consider the property which can be divided. The Court will take into account all of the property and financial resources of the parties which may include houses, land, superannuation and any other assets. The Court will also consider the debts of each party.
  3. The Court looks at the contributions made by each party whether they be financial or directed more to the contributions they have made as a homemaker and parent. Particular focus needs to be paid to inheritances and gifts or assistance from family as well as significant differences in the property of either party at the outset of the relationship.
  4. The Court looks at the future needs of the parties and takes into account things like the need to care for children into the future, the health and earning ability of each party.

The ability to agree

Most separated couples can, with some assistance, reach agreement about how to divide their property, without ever going to Court. We can help you formalise these arrangements with a Court order, so that your agreement is properly documented and, if necessary, enforceable through a Court.

Having a Court order may also save you significant tax and stamp duty.

We have helped thousands of our clients to obtain orders by agreement, saving them thousands of dollars and years of delay in the Court process.

For more information, contact us to make an appointment to discuss your situation. We offer a discounted fixed fee initial appointment.

DIVORCE

Obtaining finality in a broken marriage allows each party to move on with their life.

For married couples who have separated the link between divorce, property settlement and arrangements for their children can seem complex.

In simple terms a divorce does no more than formally end the marriage between the parties where they have been separated for 12 months or more and the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

However, there are other important considerations around the issue of divorce including that divorce is the start of a time limit to obtain a property settlement and it has an effect on your estate planning. We offer a fixed fee on the preparation of divorce applications. We can ensure that the application is dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible and advise you about all of the ramifications of obtaining a divorce to ensure that your rights are protected.

For more information, contact us to make an appointment to discuss your situation.

family law

We have a Family Law Accredited Specialist