Goldman Law


The Best Family Lawyers
in Brisbane

Experience Legal Excellence

Congratulations on reaching this page to help avoid on-line mistakes and pitfalls in selecting leading lawyers for your family law and divorce issues.

Best Family Lawyers in Australia

Experience Legal Excellence

Congratulations! Avoid on-line pitfalls. Discover Australia’s national firm who are trusted family law experts. Book a hassle-free free first online consult with an expert senior lawyer.


Go Directly to our Specialist Family Law Information Pages Below

How to smoothly navigate divorce and separation issues and make sure you are not out of time.

How to maximise our commercial and tax
knowledge for the best
financial settlements.

How to have the best and compassionate legal support for complex children’s issues including international recovery.
How to avoid court and future financial issues and pitfalls when living together. Plan and protect assets.


Avoid Costly Mistakes

The quest for a trustworthy family lawyer online can be daunting. Amidst countless options and dubious promises, you need clarity and assurance. Your family's future is too precious to gamble.

In the bustling legal landscape of Australia, distinguishing genuine expertise is challenging. A misstep in choosing can cost you not just money, but precious time and desired outcomes. Avoid the pitfalls of hasty decisions and misleading online portals.

You’ve found Australia’s elite and best family lawyers. We offer honest, transparent consultations on your family law concerns. Our dedicated, award-winning team is here to guide you. Choose expertise, empathy, and unmatched legal prowess. Begin with a free no risk strategy discussion with our senior attorneys and sidestep potential blunders.


Our Past Success Only Drives our Future Innovation

Specialised knowledge in one topic is ineffective to provide holistic advice. Our litigation, commercial and cross border expertise uniquely enhances our family law approach.
We love representing all clients but there is a limit to how many clients we can properly serve. This approach protects our reputation and allows laser focus on your needs.
Since 2015, we have offered, clear upfront pricing and realistic estimates. Even if our clients sometimes get into financial hurdles, we offer flexible arrangements when possible.
After hours meetings, video calls and portal communication. Most lawyers keep you in the dark only to protect themselves. Our motto is to keep you informed and in the loop at all times.


Compassion & Individual Lawyer's Commitments Must Remain Present



Read More About Their Experiences

Chel Chappy

I highly recommend Goldman Law. 
Every contact I had with the firm was friendly, professional and understanding.
Jennifer is an outstanding lawyer. I had had a difficult ongoing children’s matter...

Quentin Carmont

A family law matter is never pretty emotions are running hot, everyone thinks they’re right when in reality no one is.
Goldman made the process very easy for me to choose them.
Initial contact with Kim and then a small consultation with Jass there senior lawyer...

Paul Northrop

I have used G&C on numerous occasions for business matters. I have always found them to be incredibly responsive with sound advice. I know that with the G&C team working on my legal matters, it takes the pressure off me and allows me to concentrate on running my business!

Pauline Von Czapiewski

Wonderful team of professionals to deal with from office support to solicitors. Always has a quick response time, and good advice. Incredibly impressed and will be sure to use again in the future...


Jane Mac

I have found Goldman’s to be a highly skilled and caring group of lawyers who have guided me many times during periods of uncertainty and stress. I couldn’t do without their considered and professional advice for our businesses.


Talia Falo

Goldman & Co handled my case extremely well, gave fantastic advice and overall eased up the tension of the entire situation immensely. I felt they genuinely cared for my well-being and what I am going through so great thanks to them. Would highly recommend...

Contact Our Senior People



Zeinab Elzein

A senior family lawyer and General Counsel

10 years +++

Zee is meticulously dedicated, with deep experience and compassion for all her clients In all Australian and some complex international aspects of family law involving children & finances.

Mathew Nott

A senior lawyer also specialising
in domestic violence.

Matt is outstanding on his feet in court and somehow maintains a 99% success rate. Matt has a laser focus on clients issues with life experience and unique unmatched skills

Kerry Turner

Clients and

15 years +++

Your first contact point for everything about us and our lawyers . Kerry is unmatched in her gentle handling and real life knowledge. She controls our lawyers. Compassion, integrity with practical reality.


Why Lawyers Resist Telling You The Truth

Survey's show lawyers often under quote by up to 50%!

Seeking the best, top or leading family lawyer, evaluate matter strategy, workloads, health and commitment as a starting point.

Underquoting means a cheap price only to start the matter and then it’s too late to pull out and change when the real costs emerge.

That’s why we offer a free strategy consultation, to answer your questions honestly, the good news and bad news.

Be prepared and informed and not misled online and on promises made on a website with fake testimonials.

Speak openly and directly to our senior lawyers on costs, strategy and their current work load commitments.


Some Extracts From Our Media and Community Pages

DIY Divorce & Separation

Guided Self Help Six Easy Steps To DIY Divorce Keywords: Family Law, Divorce, Divorce in Australia, Divorce Australia DYI | Divorce Separation | Divorce Separation Agreement | Self-Help | legal costs | Lawyers | Family Law | Family Court | Guided Self-Help

Read time : 9 minutes, 22 seconds

Family Court Lifts Injunction Allowing Husband To Use Law Firm That La

In Osferatu [2015] FamCAFC 177 (15 September 2015), the husband appealed an injunction that restrained Barkus Doolan from acting for him, where a solicitor (“Mr. F”) joined that firm having previously worked for the wife’s solicitors, Watts McCray. I

Read time : 3 minutes, 42 seconds

Court Determines Validity of De Facto Cohabitation Agreement Where No

The case of Franklin v Ennis [2015] FCCA 2099 (6 August 2015) was an application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia for settlement of financial matters between an estranged de facto couple.  The Respondent claimed that the couple had entered into

Read time : 3 minutes, 49 seconds

FAQ - What QUESTIONS Clients Ask

Compiled With Over 10Years of Data From Real Client Questions

How Affordable are Goldman Law?
Discover our competitive pricing tailored for your unique family law needs.
Goldman Law: Where expertise meets affordability and efficiency. Don’t just choose any lawyer; choose the best for your family’s needs. 🔍 Affordability Beyond Just Hourly Rates Goldman Lawyers boasts top-tier family law services. While our senior lawyers’ rates fall between $500-$750 per hour (excluding GST), it’s the total cost and outcomes that truly matter. It’s not just about hourly rates; it’s our unique approach and strategy that can make the difference between a $50,000 or $100,000 bill in contested cases. 🎓 Decade-Strong Expertise Our senior lawyers come with a minimum of 10 years in family law, tackling everything from intricate legal disputes to complex financial dilemmas and domestic violence cases. With us, you’re not just hiring a lawyer; you’re securing an expert. 💼 Efficiency is Our Middle Name We’re swamped, in a good way! Our senior lawyers are always on the move, ensuring your case is handled swiftly and effectively. No dragging, no “milking” – just pure dedication to your case. 🚀 Tech-Savvy Legal Minds? Absolutely! We’re not just about law books and courtrooms. We’re tech-forward, leveraging the latest in technology and automation to ensure cost-effective, long-term solutions for you. 💰 Flexible Payment Plans Just For You From deferred fees and instalment plans to flat rates and litigation finance, we’ve got you covered. (Note: No win, no fee isn’t applicable for family law.) 🛍️ Price Match Plus Benefits? Challenge Accepted! Found a better quote elsewhere? Bring it to us! We’ll not only match it but throw in an extra discount or benefit. Let’s talk; we’re up for any fee challenge.
Goldman Law’s Guided Self-Help: Your Solution to Skyrocketing Legal Costs! 🚀 Slash Your Legal Fees by 50%+ with Guided Self-Help! Dive into our innovative, unbundled legal service model. Get the expert guidance you need without the hefty price tag. 🔍 Is Guided Self-Help Right for You? If you’re a self-starter and comfortable working solo, our Guided Self-Help is tailored for you. Goldman Law is revolutionizing the way Aussies handle family law and other matters, offering a service that’s online, personal, and in tune with modern Australian life. 🛠️ Your Step-by-Step Guide to Massive Savings:
  1. Free Initial Chat: Let’s evaluate if Guided Self-Help is the right fit for your case.
  2. Join Our Digital Workspace: We’ll onboard you to Microsoft Teams, giving you direct access to our server.
  3. Kickstart with Clarity: Receive our client agreement, terms of business, and handle payments and identity verification seamlessly.
  4. Collaborate & Conquer: Instruct us via chat, video, and more. From drafting affidavits to handling divorces and mediation, we’ve got your back.
🎯 What’s the Buzz About Unbundled Legal Services? Think of it as à la carte legal services. Instead of the all-in-one package, you pick and choose. You handle some tasks; we handle the rest. Whether it’s just legal advice, document drafting, or specific court representation, we’re flexible. It’s modern, efficient, and tailored to your needs.   Goldman Law’s Guided Self-Help: Empowering you to take charge, with a legal expert by your side. Say goodbye to traditional, costly legal services and hello to flexibility and savings!

Goldman Law’s Free Strategy Session: Master the Art of Legal Warfare!

🔥 Harness the Power of ‘The Art of War’ in Your Legal Battle!

Sun Tzu said, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.” At Goldman Law, we believe in crafting the perfect strategy for your case, inspired by the timeless wisdom of ‘The Art of War’. 

🎯 Expect More than Just a Consultation

  • Strategic Mastery: Dive deep with a senior lawyer who understands the nuances of your case and crafts a battle plan tailored for victory.
  • Open Communication: The key to a winning strategy? Clear communication. We ensure you’re always in the loop, understanding every move.
  • The Right Approach: Every battle is unique. We analyse, strategize, and approach your case with precision, ensuring the best possible outcome.

💬 Talk is Cheap, Communication is Priceless!

The most crucial part of our consult? It’s not just talking; it’s communicating. Ensuring you and your lawyer are on the same page is paramount.

Goldman Law’s Initial Strategy Session: Where ancient wisdom meets modern law. Get ready to conquer your legal challenges with the right strategy and approach!

What Makes Goldman Law the Preferred Choice for Clients?
Learn why successful clients trust Goldman Law for our specialized expertise.

“Discover Why Discerning High-Net-Worth Clients Prefer Goldman Law 🌟 


Unlock the Reasons Behind High Achievers Choosing Goldman Law for Their Legal Needs 🏆


At Goldman Law, we stand as the prime choice for affluent and accomplished clients. Our unparalleled proficiency in navigating intricate financial and familial issues has gained the unwavering trust of successful individuals. 💼


Our foundation rests upon innovation and a spirit of entrepreneurship, which translates into our legal services. A significant number of our senior attorneys boast a track record of managing diverse enterprises. This unique perspective enables us to comprehensively grasp the priorities of thriving clients – those who are resolute about triumph, regardless of the hurdles. 🚀


Our ethos revolves around a shared dedication between client and lawyer. We recognize that for clients to thrive, they require legal counterparts who mirror their ambitions. High-net-worth clients seek not just legal aid, but lawyers who resonate with their financial status. The same principle applies to determined clients; they deserve lawyers who match their zeal, and commercial clients necessitate legal minds well-versed in commerce. 💡


Our accumulated proficiencies span a wide array of intricate commercial and global subjects. This rich expertise empowers us to present an exhaustive range of solutions and strategies. When you choose Goldman Law, you’re selecting a partner equipped to lay every conceivable option on the table. 🌐

Can I Work With Any Senior Lawyer for My Family Law Case?
Experience the freedom to choose from our roster of top-tier senior lawyers.

Unlock Your Choice: Handpick Your Ideal Senior Lawyer from Goldman Law’s Elite Team! 🎯


Empower Yourself with the Right Selection for Your Family Law Case!


Are you wondering if you can have a say in which senior lawyer represents you at Goldman Law? Absolutely! We take pride in offering you the freedom to curate your legal experience by selecting a senior lawyer from our roster of top-tier legal experts.


Every case is unique, and we understand the importance of a tailored approach. With our distinguished senior lawyers, you have the advantage of choosing the legal mind that resonates best with your specific family law case. 🌟


Whether you’re dealing with divorce, child custody, alimony, or any family law matter, we’ve got you covered with an array of seasoned specialists. Each lawyer brings a wealth of experience and a track record of success to the table.


Why settle for less when you can have the best-suited senior lawyer by your side? At Goldman Law, we believe in putting the power of choice in your hands. Your case deserves nothing but excellence, and we’re here to make it happen.


Reach out to us today and explore the freedom to choose. Your family law journey starts with the right senior lawyer – chosen by you, backed by us!”


From Real Family Law FFAQ's (Further Frequently Asked Questions)

Legal strategy discussions with a senior lawyer are important for several reasons.

Firstly, having a general philosophy and mission for a law firm helps differentiate the firm from others and demonstrates that the firm has carefully considered what they want to achieve and how they plan to effectively advocate for their clients. This strategic approach can give the law firm a competitive edge and help attract clients who align with their values and goals.

Secondly, discussing legal strategy with a senior lawyer allows for the exchange of knowledge and expertise. Senior lawyers have extensive experience and can provide valuable insights and guidance on how to approach legal issues. They can offer a broader perspective and help identify potential challenges and opportunities that may not be immediately apparent to junior lawyers or clients.

Moreover, senior lawyers can communicate in a way that is more business-oriented rather than using complex legal jargon. This is essential for ensuring that legal strategies are effectively understood and implemented by clients and stakeholders who may not have a legal background. A senior lawyer can translate complex legal concepts into clear and meaningful terms that align with the client’s business objectives.

Furthermore, engaging in legal strategy discussions with a senior lawyer allows for creative problem-solving and the exploration of alternative solutions. By considering different perspectives and brainstorming strategies together, clients and lawyers can develop innovative approaches and find the most effective legal solution for their particular situation.

Lastly, legal strategy discussions with a senior lawyer can help ensure compliance with regulations and minimize potential legal risks. Senior lawyers have a deep understanding of the law and can provide guidance on how to navigate complex legal frameworks. They can help identify potential legal pitfalls and develop proactive strategies to mitigate risks and avoid costly legal disputes.

In conclusion, having legal strategy discussions with a senior lawyer is crucial for law firms and clients alike. It allows for the development of a clear and effective approach to legal matters, facilitates knowledge sharing and creative problem-solving, improves communication, and helps ensure compliance and minimize legal risks.

How Do Goldman Lawyers Typical Professional Fees in a Family Law Matter Compare?

The rates are our top senior lawyers range from $550 to $750 per hour excluding GST.

Our senior lawyers must have had at least 10 years of family law experience in running matters. There is very little that we have not dealt with, from small but complex matters, legal aid panels, protective custody and disputes between states and the federal government, the kidnapping of children, complex financial matters, money laundering, cash businesses, domestic violence, multijurisdictional cases and the list goes on.

Our senior lawyers will personally handle your matter and we are simply too busy to stretch out your matter and to be effective at these higher charge rates, we must be quick, decisive, and work to an agreed strategy.

We know what is not important and we know what to cut out. We know where the cases are heading and do not like to drag them on.

Even though our initial rates may seem higher, the eventual outcome will cost less, and we are successful in achieving a better outcome.

We use technology and automation extensively to reduce the time taken for mundane tasks.

What Are Typical Family Law Fees In The Industry
According to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, parties involved in family law proceedings usually pay their own legal costs. However, there are exceptions to this. The court may order one party to pay the legal costs of another. The amounts payable for a costs order are set out in the scale of costs in Schedule 3 to the Family Law Rules 2021.

The court may also depart from the scale and order that another party pay all of a party’s costs reasonably and properly incurred, which is known as indemnity costs.

The fees for a senior lawyer handling a family law matter can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the expertise and experience of the lawyer, and the location of the law firm.

In Division 2 of the Family Law Rules 2021, the scale of costs for family law and child support matters is provided.

  • For example, for initiating or opposing an application up to the completion of the first court date, the cost can range from $2,512.56 to $3,141.50, depending on the presence of interim orders.
  • The fees for attending a hearing can range from $342.19 to $2,512.56 per day, depending on the type of hearing.
  • Additionally, there are fees for drafting, conferences, and chamber work, ranging from $277.16 to $721.68 per hour, depending on the level of expertise. Disbursements, such as photocopying and agent fees, are also included in the costs.

These fees are provided as a guide and may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and also include Legal Aid Fees.

Per Court Day
Based on another source , the fees for senior lawyers in family law matters can range from $3,000 to $6,000 per day in court. Junior lawyers may charge less due to their developing expertise. These fees are generally for a final hearing and can vary depending on the complexity of the case.

Hourly Rates
Another source mentions that lawyers generally charge an hourly rate for their services. The lowest hourly rate for an admitted lawyer with less than 2 years of experience may be around $300, while the hourly rate for a principal of a law firm with years of experience can be around $600. The fees for talking to a lawyer or seeking legal advice can vary depending on the lawyer’s rate and whether a fixed fee or time-costing method is used.

What Do Barristers Typically Charge?
In a different source, the fees charged by barristers in family law matters are discussed. Barristers are grouped into categories based on their experience and level of expertise. For example, a reader (newly admitted barrister) may charge around $2,500 per day, while a senior junior barrister (with more than five years of experience) may start at around $4,500 per day. Queen’s Counsel and Senior Counsel (more experienced barristers) may charge from $9,000 to $13,000 per day. The choice of barrister will depend on the individual’s case and budget.

In conclusion, the typical professional fees for a senior lawyer handling a family law matter in Australia can vary depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the expertise and experience of the lawyer, and the specific services required.

The fees can range from around $2,500 per day for a newly admitted barrister to $13,000 per day for a senior barrister.

Hourly rates for lawyers can range from $300 to $600, and fixed fees may apply for certain services. It is best to consult with a lawyer to obtain an accurate estimate of fees based on the individual’s specific circumstances

Why Do Lawyers Tend To Underquote The Initial Fees? What Can I Do To Protect Myself?

Law firms use various strategies to attract clients, including the initial underquoting of fees. Note: Goldman Lawyers do not use these tactics.

When it comes to marketing, law firms focus on making themselves easy to find online through search engine optimization (SEO) and running SEO campaigns to improve visibility in search results

  • One common reason for lawyers to initially underquote client fees is the traditional practice of not advertising prices. Many lawyers were trained by those who practiced at a time when advertisements were prohibited.
  • Another reason is that lawyers are often hesitant to bind themselves to a flat fee before knowing anything about the client.
  • Each client’s case differs in complexity and requirements, and lawyers may need more information before quoting an accurate fee. For example, a divorce case could range from simple and straightforward to complex and involving multiple assets.
  • Furthermore, the unpredictable nature of litigation and transactional matters can make it challenging to estimate the amount of work required.
  • Disagreements between parties and unforeseen circumstances may arise during the course of a case, potentially prolonging the work. Lawyers may be reluctant to set a fixed fee upfront when they cannot guarantee the duration or complexity of the legal matter.
  • Moreover, lawyers may be concerned that advertising prices could lead to a race to the bottom, with lawyers undercutting each other’s rates.
  • While this may benefit consumers, it may not be financially viable for lawyers. Lawyers require compensation that reflects their experience, expertise, and the value they provide to their clients.
  • In light of these factors, it may not be advantageous for lawyers to advertise their prices upfront (as we do!!!).

In summary, lawyers initially underquote client fees for various reasons, including the traditional practice of not advertising prices, the need to gather more information about the client’s case, the unpredictable nature of legal matters, and concerns about a race to the bottom in pricing.

Protect yourself by having a free strategy and fee discussion with Goldman Law!

2023 Rates Of Marriage, Divorce & Separation In Australia
Statistics show that in 2021, there were 89,164 marriages registered in Australia, which is lower than pre-pandemic numbers but higher than the historic low of 78,989 in 2020. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including public health orders and restrictions, affected couples’ marriage plans, especially during the Delta wave from June 2021 onwards. Comparing 2021 to previous years:
  •  Marriages in New South Wales and Victoria were down 31.0% and 34.6% respectively compared to 2019.
  • The crude marriage rate in 2021 was 3.5 per 1,000 people, higher than 3.1 in 2020 but lower than 4.5 in 2019.
Regarding same-sex marriages, there were 2,842 same-sex marriages registered in 2021, accounting for 3.2% of all marriages. While there has been a decrease in same-sex marriages each year since their introduction in 2017, the largest decrease occurred between 2019 and 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Registered relationships, an alternative to marriage available in most states and territories, remained stable during the pandemic, with 19,190 relationships registered in 2021. In terms of divorces, there were 56,244 divorces granted in Australia in 2021, a 13.6% increase compared to 2020. The higher number of divorces can be attributed in part to administrative changes that increased finalizations and reduced timeframes, leading to more divorces being processed. The crude divorce rate in 2021 was 2.2 divorces per 1,000 people, reaching a level last recorded in 2011 and 2012. The characteristics of divorces remained relatively stable over time. In 2021, the median duration of marriage before divorce was 12.2 years, and 47.8% of divorces involved couples with children under 18 years. The median age at divorce was 45.9 years for males and 43.0 years for females. Graph Divorce rates varied among different age groups, with the highest rates for males aged 40 to 44 years and 45 to 49 years, and for females aged 40 to 44 years. Divorce numbers increased in all states and territories in 2021, except for the Australian Capital Territory, where caution should be exercised due to divorces granted to residents of other states and territories. Same-sex divorces accounted for 473 cases in 2021, including 306 divorces for female same-sex couples and 167 divorces for male same-sex couples. Before 2021, data on same-sex divorces were not separately identifiable.
Divorce & Lawyers' Fees in Australia - What Does a Divorce Cost In 2023?

How much does an average divorce cost in Australia?

between $50,000 and $100,000?

“What is the average cost of a divorce or separation in Australia? According to Money Magazine, the average cost is between $50,000 and $100,000 and can take up to 3 years if going through to Court.” This is clearly wrong!

Government Fees and process server
$1100 typical
Professional lawyer Fees
$400- $1500?
$1,500 to $2,600

From $400 to $1,500 from our research for a simple divorce. What do you get for that? Lawyers charge at least $300 to $400 an hour so you don’t get much attention; or that is a misleading number.

How much do divorce lawyers make in 2023? Not much for the divorce, but once you get in and start, they may take advantage of the separation process, divorce is something that simple. The rest of it is not. Read more.

Why the big range?

Use Guided Self Help and do it yourself with guidance from us for around $500.

See below for what is excluded and what the Divorce Traps are.

Guided Self-Help Options & Fees- DIY Divorce- Why Start Off This Way?
Your separation journey and paths to divorce. Use Guided Self Help whenever you need a senior lawyer. You decide and we have options to help you with professional legal services. DIY Divorce You and your ex-partner reach an agreement by yourselves and apply for a Joint Divorce Application. Can suit couples who:
  • are amicable & trust each other; and
  • can communicate well.
We suggest a quick review of your application, and this may cost you an hour or less professional time ($300 to $500) with Guided Self Help. Engage us as a Meditator and assist you in your agreements for divorce, children, and finances. A separate person will mediate and another lawyer draft agreements if required. Total Cost $1500 to $5000 plus Government fees. You and your ex-partner engage one legally qualified Mediator to help you reach a fair agreement. The Mediator is impartial and not on anyone’s side. Can suit those who:
  • are amicable & trust each other
  • can communicate reasonably well
  • want to have more control over their separation; and
  • have no history of family violence.
Independent Legal Advice You and your ex-partner engage your own Lawyers to negotiate agreements on your behalf. Will suit those who:
  • are not amicable or can’t come to an agreement on their own terms
  • don’t trust each other to be honest
  • have complex finances
  • still want to keep their settlement out of Court.
Having a Lawyer doesn’t have to mean inflaming tensions — all the Lawyers in our network are committed to de-escalation and Court as a last resort. Guided Self Help will save you at least 50% in legal fees. Decisions by the Court- Use Senior Lawyers When You Need To and Not When You Don’t! You, your ex-partner, and your Lawyers head to Court for an outcome. A Judge will make decisions about financial and parenting matters. Yes, we can assist you through all the boring bits and you engage us just when you need us i.e. before important directions, mediations, and trial. Save 50% in typical fees.
Three (3) Awful Traps To Avoid In Getting A Divorce
1. Marriages less than 2 years old Parties seeking a divorce application for a marriage that has lasted less than two years from the actual marriage date are required to undergo counselling to explore the possibility of reconciliation. Pursuant to Section 44(1B) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), a certificate indicating that counselling has been sought must be provided to the court. In accordance with Section 44(1C), the court has the discretion to grant leave and proceed with the divorce proceedings even if the parties have not pursued reconciliation, provided that the court is satisfied that there exist special circumstances justifying the continuation of the hearing. 2. Careful of Resuming Cohabitation and the Separation Period Section 50 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) aims to provide opportunities for separated parties to reconcile and aligns with Section 43(d) of the Act, which requires the court to consider means of assisting parties to a marriage in considering reconciliation. This section permits parties to resume cohabitation for a maximum period of three months, after which the separation period is nullified, and the parties must restart the separation afresh. Under this provision, if there is only one instance of cohabitation for a duration of less than three months, the periods of separation preceding and following that resumption can be combined for the purpose of meeting the required 12-month separation period. However, in the case of Keyssner and Keyssner [1976] FamCA 41, it was determined that if there are multiple periods of resumption of cohabitation, the second and subsequent instances indicate that cohabitation has occurred on more than one occasion. As a result, the court rejected the divorce application in that case. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the impact of resuming cohabitation on the separation period, as multiple instances of resumption can affect the determination of the required period of separation. The Full Court made the following observations:
  1. Separation does not necessarily require a mutual decision by both parties. It can be communicated through spoken or unspoken words and actions, indicating an intention to sever the marital relationship.
  2. The determination of separation is a question of fact and depends on the circumstances of each case.
  3. Section 49(1) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) states that separation can occur even if it was initiated by only one party. While physical separation, such as one party leaving the matrimonial home, is often indicative of separation, there are situations, as outlined in Section 49(2), where separation may exist despite parties continuing to live under the same roof.
3. Separation Is Not A Breakdown Of A Marriage By Itself The meaning of separation extends beyond physical separation and involves the breakdown of the marital relationship (consortium vitae). The elements of a marital relationship can vary for each couple, including living together, sexual intercourse, mutual society and protection, public and private recognition of the marriage. When asserting separation, it may be necessary to compare and contrast the state of the marital relationship before and after the alleged separation. In the case of Jennings and Jennings (1997) FLC 92-773, where the parties lived together until the husband’s hospitalization, the court found no separation had occurred because neither party had formed an intention to sever the relationship. In Price v Underwood [2008] FamCAFC 46, the court emphasized that separation goes beyond physical living arrangements. The husband’s intention to separate must be effectively communicated to the other party, and physical separation alone does not necessarily prove a breakdown of the marital relationship. In Campbell & Cade, where the husband claimed separation from the date he moved out, the court considered the three elements of separation: intention to separate, action upon that intention, and communication of the intention. The court found that, despite physical separation, the parties were still acting as a married couple and dismissed the application for divorce. Therefore, separation involves more than physical separation and requires an intention to sever the marital relationship, supported by corresponding actions and effective communication of that intention.

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