Brisbane Family & Divorce Lawyers
If you have separated or are thinking of separating our Clean Slate Consultation is the first step for you taking control of your life.
How we can help you
Our Brisbane Family & Divorce Lawyers can help you with all issues relating to your separation, including:
- Child custody Lawyers
- Financial Separation
- Divorce Property Settlement Lawyers
- Fixed Fee Divorce Lawyers
- Fixed Fee Consent Orders
- Parenting Plans
- Domestic Violence Lawyer / DVO Lawyer
- Application for protection order
- Superannuation Splitting & Advice Lawyers
- Spousal maintenance
- Child Support Lawyers
- Mediation Representation
- Non-parent rights;
- Court representation;
- Mediator Services
What makes Barton Family Lawyers different?
We understand that hiring a family lawyer is a massive step.
Our Brisbane Divorce & Family Lawyers are committed to providing you with clarity, compassion and kindness in the provision of our legal services to you.
Our Brisbane Divorce & Family Lawyers:
- Only do family law all day every day. That makes us really good at what we do;
- Are dedicated to helping you work through your family law issues so you can have a fresh start;
- Have your best interests at heart;
- Have the knowledge and experience to solve your family law problems, no matter how complex;
- Will help you to reduce the conflict with your former partner;
- Will fight for you and your children;
- Provide exceptional quality service to you, tailored to your individual case needs;
- Will educate you about your options, the steps you need to take and we will develop a strategy to help you to achieve a fair outcome and the best practical outcome for you and your family;
- Will provide you with practical, realistic, commercial and strategic advice to empower you to make smart decisions following separation that will save you time, money and stress;
- Will deliver an outcome to you quickly and cost effectively, with fixed fees for certainty;
- Will do everything within our legal power to get you the best outcome for you and your family;
- Are with you, supporting you, every step of the way from negotiations, to mediation, to litigation and settlement.
Don’t like the path you are currently heading down at the moment in your life? The best way to change your future is to create it.
By choosing one of our Brisbane Family & Divorce Lawyers, you choose certainty that you are on the right path to a better future and a clean slate.
Click the picture below to hear from each member of our dynamic team as to what makes Barton Family Lawyers different from other law firms:
How to prepare for your Initial Consultation
Click the link to access the following checklists, in preparation for your initial consultation:
- Separation Checklist – To ensure you have done everything you need to do to protect yourself both before and after separation;
- What to do before your initial consultation – To ensure you are prepared and to gain the most benefit possible;
- Client checklist of Financial documents – We recommend that you start collating these documents and as much information as possible about the assets in your name, joint names and your former partner’s name, prior to your initial consultation. Being prepared for your first consultation with as much information as possible about the property pool allows you to make the most out of your appointment and we can give you more detailed information and advice about your rights and entitlements.
- Master Your Negotiation Preparation Handbook– This is an excellent resource whether you are engaging a lawyer from our team to represent you or even if you are self-representing. Complete the handbook and bring it with you to your initial consultation or email it to us prior to your appointment. The Handbook covers the most important questions we will ask you in your initial consultation, which are relevant to the advice we will give you about your entitlements.
What you can expect in your Initial Consultation
During your reduced rate consultation, one of our experienced family law experts will:
√ LISTEN TO YOUR CONCERNS
√ CLARIFY AND UNDERSTAND YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
√ PROVIDE YOU WITH DETAILED ADVICE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS
√ PREPARE A FIXED FEE QUOTE TAILORED TO YOUR MATTER
√ DISCUSS THE PROCESS AND THE NEXT STEPS
√ FORMULATE A STRATEGY TO GET YOU TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE AS QUICKLY AND COST EFFECTIVELY AS POSSIBLE
Are you wanting to separate your assets and finances?
In your initial consultation, we will discuss with you the possible outcomes that are just and equitable to you (aka the ‘range of your entitlements’) based on the facts of your case. This is what we like to call the ‘bullseye on the dart board’ or the ‘goal post’.
During your consultation, we will discuss what is known as the Five Step Process which is outlined in some detail below.
Step 1 – Is it Just & Equitable to make an order adjusting the interest of the parties?
There is no automatic entitlement for you to receive an adjustment of property in your favour. Each case is assessed on its own facts.
In most cases, this element will be satisfied by virtue of the length of the relationship, the contributions of the parties to the asset pool, the intermingling of the parties finances and given that after separation the parties will no longer have common use of joint property.
Step 2 – Assessing your current Assets, Liabilities & Superannuation
The second step is to assess your current assets, liabilities & superannuation, whether in joint names or in the sole name of you or your former partner. Assets include, for example, the family home, any businesses, cars, shares and all assets whether of monetary or sentimental value. This includes assets you have purchased post separation as all assets, no matter when acquired are taken into account.
After we have assessed the property pool we will ask about what your ‘magic wand’ outcome, for example, whether your goal is to keep the family home or have enough money to buy a new home. We will ask you whether your priority is retaining more cash or super.
It is important for you to have estimates of the values of the assets, liabilities and superannuation so that we can refine our preliminary advice to you. If you are unsure about what the assets, liabilities and superannuation are, we will ask you to do some further investigations post the appointment or alternatively, when you engage our services, we will seek this information directly from your former partner.
We will provide you with a client checklist of financial documents at the end of your appointment called ‘disclosure documents’ which you can then start collating (if you have not done so already) so when you are ready to engage us, we can hit the ground running and make the most of your fixed fee agreement.
Step 3 – Assessing the Contributions made by you and your former partner
This is where we assess the contributions made by both you and your former partner to that pool. A contribution can be:
- financial (e.g. paying the mortgage);
- non-financial (e.g. looking after the children, cooking and cleaning or renovating the family home).
Contributions as homemaker and parent are considered just as important as contributions of the breadwinner in any financial separation. We will need to know what assets you each had at the commencement of your relationship. Advising our Family Lawyers of any lump sum payments, gifts or inheritances received during the relationship and when these windfalls were received will assist our lawyers determining a just and equitable settlement. Our Family Lawyers Brisbane will also ask who has been paying the bills post separation and they will talk about spousal maintenance where relevant to your case. This information will help us to determine what a Court would say your contributions-based entitlement is e.g. 40%, 50%, or 60%.
These contributions made in the relationship are the most important factor in determining the division of your assets in your property settlement. However, the length of your relationship will determine the impact these contributions have on your settlement because they will have ‘eroded’ in importance over time. Any windfalls will be considered in the context of when they were received. The more recent a windfall is e.g. if it was received close to or after separation, the more relevant it will be.
As you can see, the length of the relationship is pretty important in assessing your entitlements.
Step 4 – Assessing Future Needs
Step four is to look at the future needs of either party. Future needs will play a major role in determining what is considered equitable in a financial settlement. There may be what we call an ‘adjustment’ in favour of one party if their future needs are greater than the other party.
We will ask you how old you are, what your respective income capacities are, any health issues, and what the current care arrangements are for the children.
We will also ask about any anticipated inheritances, new partners, and any other factor affecting your future financial needs.
Step 5 – Assessing what is Just & Equitable
Having regard to the first 4 steps, we will provide you with a preliminary assessment as to the percentage of the property pool that you are entitled to and we will discuss different options to negotiate this split, and the next steps to be taken to achieve your goals.
When we are giving you legal advice about your entitlements, we will usually express our advice as a range (e.g. 60% – 70% of the property pool). Your entitlements are expressed as a range because every judge is different and each judge has discretion, meaning that two judges reviewing the same facts, could make a slightly different decision.
As part and parcel with this step, we review the current ownership of the assets, liabilities and superannuation between the parties and determine what actual assets you should each receive, including what adjustment, if any, is required to you/the other party (e.g. cash/super) to affect the percentage split that you are entitled to.
The final division of the actual assets is relevant to determining the justice and equity of the orders. E.g. if one party receives only super which they can only access at retirement, whilst the other party receives a house unencumbered, the Court may question whether such an order is just and equitable in all the circumstances.
Every case is different. Each case will be determined on its own facts.
Contact us to book a reduced rate initial consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers and we will be able to give you preliminary advice as to your range of entitlements.
Complete our Master Your Negotiation Property Settlement Preparation Handbook and bring it to your initial consultation, so you can make the most out of it and so as to enable us to provide you with detailed advice about your entitlements.
What is the process if I am wanting to split assets & finances?
In most cases, the pathway to resolution of your property settlement matter looks like this:
Whilst the pathway set out above may seem simple and straightforward, in our experience, there are often bumps in the road along the way, for example, if your former partner is hiding money, selling assets or refusing to provide disclosure to your lawyer. During your initial consultation, we will discuss a strategic plan, specific to your case, to protect your rights, and to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be, as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
Is Negotiation/mediation not appropriate in your case?
Court is always the option of last resort. There are a number of pre-action procedures that must be followed before a Court application can be filed, except where limited exceptions apply. These pre-action procedures include attendance at mediation, the provision of disclosure and the exchange of offers of settlement between the parties.
Speak to one of our experienced family lawyers if you are of the view that mediation/negotiation prior to court proceedings is not appropriate in the circumstances of your case.
Are you wanting to sort Parenting & Child Custody issues?
If you are concerned about parenting and child custody related issues, we will listen to your concerns and clarify and understand the reasons you have come to us. We will ask you about the care of your children during the relationship and following separation. We will ask you what you want, what your ‘magic wand’ outcome is and what you can live with as a compromise.
After hearing about what is important to you and what the best practical outcome for you and your family is, we will provide you with advice about whether that is possible, the steps that will be required to achieve that outcome and we will develop a strategic plan to help to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
- Provide advice on how to negotiate an agreement with the other parent in relation to the care of your children;
- Discuss the options with you, including negotiation by letter or through a process called mediation;
- Talk about court as an option of last resort and the costs if you want to engage us to prepare your court documents and to represent you in court;
- Provide you with our recommendation as to which option is right for you in the circumstances of your case; and
- Discuss the options available to you to document your parenting agreement when one is reached. We will talk about the difference between the consent order and a parenting plan and the pros and cons of each option.
If your matter is already in court, we will discuss your case, review your court documents, talk about your upcoming court date and provide you with advice about the likely outcome and the cost if you engage us to prepare response documents and to represent you at court.
What is the process for resolving my parenting matter?
If you are unable to reach an agreement with your former partner in relation to the living arrangements of your children, as well as other important issues to do with their care and welfare, the process is as follows:
Family law Mediation with a dispute resolution practitioner is a compulsory step that you must take prior to making an application to the Court for parenting orders. Whilst there are certain exceptions where mediation may not be required, for example, circumstances of urgency and/or risk, in the large majority of cases, you must participate in mediation first. A list of exceptions when you can seek an exemption from participating in mediation prior to making an application to the Court can be found on the Family Law Courts website. You can also check out our article on this topic: Do I have to mediate before Court? The exceptions explained.
When you file your application to the Court, you must prove that you have participated in Mediation by attaching a copy of your dispute resolution certificate, known as a ‘section 60I’ certificate. You should be aware that a section 60I certificate is effective for twelve months only.
To find a dispute resolution practitioner in your local area contact us for a list of private mediators recommended by us. You can also engage in mediation with a dispute resolution practitioner at Relationships Australia. Relationships Australia is a free service. However, mediation through Relationships Australia may take many months to arrange, whereas if you elect to engage a private mediator, you can arrange a mediation within a couple of weeks.
To find out more about the process once you file an application to the Court for parenting orders, click the link: Child Custody Lawyers.
Did you say you offer fixed fees for ALL services?
Yes, we do! We are one of the only firms in Queensland who offer fixed fees for all services.
To find out more about our Fixed Fee offering, click the link.
During your initial consultation, our Family Lawyers will discuss our unique fixed fee structure and provide you with a fixed fee quote tailored to your case.
How much is our Clean Slate Consultation?
Our Clean Slate Consultation is offered at a reduced rate of only $250 for all new clients.
Contact us today to make a booking for a reduced rate clean slate consultation with one of our experienced Brisbane Family & Divorce Lawyers.