Dealing with divorce, separation and other family matters can be some of the most stressful and emotional experiences of a person’s life. Our Family Lawyers are just the people to call.

At Johnston Withers, our Family Lawyers understand this and focus on providing practical advice to help you and your family achieve the best outcomes. We do so in a timely and easy to understand way to help minimise the stress in these difficult situations and help families to move on.  Our Family Lawyers can help in negotiating an outcome that looks after you and your family and, if necessary, be a strong advocate for you through the Court process.  Please contact one of our family lawyers if you need some help.  This list of what to bring to your first interview might also be useful.

Johnston Withers Family Lawyers can help you understand the legal implications with:

Financial agreements

Our Family Lawyers in Adelaide can prepare prenuptial agreements, binding financial agreements and child support agreements and we will take care to protect your rights.

Divorce law

A Certificate of Divorce formally ends your marriage. It is not an application about property, children, child support or spouse maintenance which are separate issues.  We have some Divorce FAQs which help explain the process.

Our Divorce Lawyers can prepare, file and arrange service of your Divorce Application as well as attend at the Court Hearing.

It is important to remember that you have to make an application for property division within 12 months of the date of your divorce.

Property law (including superannuation law)

The Family Law Act and case law have established a process to determine how the property (including superannuation entitlements) of married and defacto couples are divided.

The first step is to identify and value the property of the parties. Then, the parties contributions (including financial and homemaking and parenting) are assessed, before a further assessment is made by the parties future needs.

Superannuation is treated as property and can be divided between the parties to a married or defacto relationship.

Our experienced separation lawyers in Adelaide and Regional South Australia can guide you through this process by assisting with informal negotiations or mediation with your former partner and/or their legal team.

If an agreement is reached we recommend that the agreement be formalised as a Consent Order of the Family Court of Australia.

If an agreement is unable to be reached married couples must apply for a property settlement within 12 months of the date of their divorce and defacto couples must apply for a property settlement within 24 months of the date of their separation.

Spousal maintenance

Married and defacto couples may have an entitlement to financial support from their former partner if they are unable to meet their reasonable expenses from their income or assets that are available to them after separation.

If you are in this position our Family Lawyers can help you apply for an Order that your former partner pay you either a periodic amount or a lump sum.

Your entitlement to maintenance will depend on an assessment of your financial needs and your former partner’s capacity to pay.

Parenting arrangements

The law focuses on what living arrangements are in the best interests of children. Our lawyers can advise you about the presumption in the law that parents have equal parental responsibility for their children and can advise and assist with arrangements about who children will live with and spend time with.

Our Family Lawyers can also advise about arrangements for children to live with or spend time with their grandparents.

Child support (Parenting plan)

The amount of child support that parents contribute to the costs of raising their children is usually assessed by the Child Support Agency using a formula that looks at the income of each parent and the ages and living arrangements of the children. Our Family Lawyers in Adelaide can advise you about how the assessment works and about departing form or objecting to the assessment in some circumstances.

Our Family Lawyers in Adelaide and Regional South Australia can also advise about and prepare child support agreements in circumstances where parents have agreed between themselves to an amount of child support that is different from the Child support Assessment.

We can also assist with applications for adult child maintenance when a child is over 18 years but still needs financial support from a parent, for example they are students or have some other financial need.

Defacto relationships

For defacto couples who separated after 1 July 2010, their rights to property division and maintenance are governed by principles set out in the Family law Act.

This means that a person in a defacto relationship (including a same sex relationship) has a right to maintenance and property division including a superannuation splitting order.

It also means that defacto couples can enter into prenuptial agreements and binding financial agreements.