Family Law Success
Complex or Sensitive Matters
We Guide You Through Every Step of The Family Law Process
Divorce, Children, Estate Planning & Financial
We are a full-service law firm for successful individuals and clients
The key aspect of our law firm is the building of strong personal relationships whereby we provide every service that a successful, demanding or high net worth individual may require.
This does not mean that we simply focus on alpha males, to the contrary, we also provide deferred fee solutions for women and those that are not in equal bargaining position.
For example, your spouse may have control of all the finances and be able to engage in legal bombardment with high-profile firms as a continuation of the powerplay that may have been exhibited during the marriage.
Goldman Law: Proudly Awarded & Recognised*.
“Best Family Law Firm” Award ( 2023).
“International Advisory Experts” Award (2020).
“Family Law Firm Of The Year” Award (2017).
Connect with Our "Family Law"
Expert Senior Lawyers
Mr. Jaswinder (Jas) Sekhon
Jaswinder strives to simplify and demystify complex legal matters, to explain them logically and without “jargon”. He resolves and commits to the best possible commercial outcomes for his clients.
Ms. Helena Jane Duckham
Helena Duckham graduated her law degree with honours. She has a Master of Law in applied family law, including binding financial agreements, and a Graduate Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution.
Ms. Zeinab Elzein
Zee is an experienced family lawyer. Her experience ranges from complex property settlement litigation matters to contested children matters, including relocation matters.
What are Complex and Sensitive Matters?
Media Attention will Heighten The Stress of Separation
Tax Office, Criminal, Money Laundering and Other Collateral Damage Flowing from Family Law
We have acted for many clients in family law matters where the former spouse has reported them for example to the medical regulator, or the taxation office, or made claims of sexual allegations against children for example.
These can be very damaging and highly sensitive matters that also need to be taken seriously.
Whilst we have over 10 years of specialist experience in handling complex divorces, when children are involved the situation becomes emotionally turbocharged.
The deal with matters sensitively, discreetly and provide our advice in the context of vast experience in handling successful and outstanding individuals that may have a high public profile.
Our Typical Clients in
Family Law Matters Include
Why are prenup expert lawyers different?
We have seen some lawyers offer prenup’s for $500? This is obviously based on an absolute misconception with no idea of what they are really doing.
There is a huge misunderstanding in our view about the value of a properly drafted and negotiated pre-nup or post-nup.
As specialists in financial and taxation matters, including trusts and cross-border arrangements, prenup’s RA special expertise in our firm.
We typically use prenup’s as part of an asset protection or wealth creation strategy for high net worth clients.
We prepare prenup’s for those individuals with assets usually exceeding $2 million and up to $100 million. Our expertise extends to assets held by family groups that may span different countries.
Public divorce may have media exposure which the difficult almost unthinkable.
Every step of the family law process is handled with sensitivity and finesse by our experienced legal teams.
We frequently provide end to end solutions from negotiating in mediation to simple divorce or complex parenting/contravention and financial matters.
For special individuals, we provide a complete end to end service and are a full-service law firm with specialist expertise.
The service levels provide unequalled for individuals and their business, legal or personal needs.
Marriages or legal action commenced in two or more jurisdictions or where assets are located abroad or are not disclosed.
We have experience in conflict of law situations and the location and valuation of business or assets located in difficult overseas jurisdictions.
With offices in Auckland, Dubai and London, outside Australia, international legal matters are our specialty.
Our firm is completely independent so we may work with any group in any country at any time and are not restricted unlike major firms which are almost always operate country by country entities.
Our key is a deep understanding of the various jurisdictions across the world where we work and of strong contacts in all other jurisdictions where our clients may operate.
Key Features of HNW Divorces in Australia
When Commercial & Tax Experience Matters
The Average Family Lawyer is Not Equipped to
Deal with Wealth Held in Any Trust for Example
The average family law firm is simply not able to adequately service these needs
- Lengthier proceedings: High net worth divorces take longer because of the asset pool. Parties are attempting to hide assets offshore.
- Domestic and international investments
- Complex business arrangements
- Confidentiality. Section 121 FLA explicitly prohibits the publication of a couple’s private details around their divorce proceedings.
- Collateral Damage
- Adverse Media Interest
Experience & Trust
With deep local and international expertise for over 30 years.
Growing and protecting successful individuals, family offices and business.
Built through sheer hard work
1. Parenting Plan
A signed agreement between parents, which is not legally binding but would likely be influential in any future court proceedings. Our fees to prepare this type of arrangement would typically be from $1,000+. Parenting arrangements for a child or children. You and the other parent do not need to go to court to enter into a parenting plan. However, you should seek legal advice before entering into a parenting plan.
2. Court Consent Orders
Legally binding Family Court orders which are agreed by the parties and submitted in court. Our professional fees would typically be from $3,000.00 onwards.
3. Go to Court- Contested Orders
Going to Court? No agreement? We have to resolve the matter with genuine steps before Court. From $1,500 plus GST to start the dispute resolution process.
Consent Orders are Enforceable!
Parenting Plans by themselves are not enforceable. Consent Orders are Parenting Orders, which are signed by a Judge or Registrar and which are binding and enforceable on the parties.
A Consent Order is an agreement that is approved by a Court. Consent Orders are often prepared with the help of a lawyer. They are then lodged in Court. Once consent orders are approved by the Court, they are legally enforceable, so if you are preparing your own Consent Orders, it is very important to get legal advice.
A Child's Best Interests? - The Critical Factor
The Act sets out the primary, or most important, considerations, for the court when it is deciding what is in a child’s best interests. The Act also sets out some other considerations.
Some of these considerations are:
- The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents;
- The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm, and from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence;
- The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm, including abuse, neglect or family violence, will outweigh other considerations;
- Views expressed by the child, considering the child’s maturity and level of understanding;
- The kind of relationship the child has with each parent and with other important people, for example grandparents or siblings;
- How much each parent has participated in the child’s life, including how much they have spent time with and communicated with the child;
- Whether each parent has met their obligation to maintain the child, for example paying child support;
- The effect on the child of any change in arrangements, including whether siblings will be separated from one another;
- The practical difficulty and expense of a child spending time with and communicating with a parent;
- The maturity, sex, lifestyle and culture and traditions of the child and the child’s parents, including, for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, the right to enjoy their culture;
- The capacity of each parent to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs;
- Any family violence involving the child or a member of the child’s family and, if a family violence order has been made, and what that order says; and
- The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage a close and continuing relationship with the other parent.
What is 'Custody'?
The term ‘custody’ is considered outdated and replaced with the term ‘parental responsibility’, which refers to all powers in relation to making long-term decisions as to a child’s upbringing, religion and education; including making any decisions about major medical procedures and treatments and applying for a passport or visa for the children.
When making parenting orders, the Court will:
- Presume that it is in a child’s best interests for the parents to have equal shared parental responsibility, unless a parent or someone who lives with the parent has engaged in child abuse or family violence; and
- Look at other evidence and decide if equal shared parental responsibility is not in a child’s best interests.
What is Parental Responsibility?
'Live With' - 'Spend Time With'?
The parent with whom the child is living has the sole decision-making power for matters that are not about the children’s long-term welfare unless there is an agreement otherwise.
Equal shared parental responsibility does not mean that the child should live with both parents or spend time with both parents equally.
The issues of where children live and who they spend time with are usually referred to as ‘live with’ or ‘spend time with’ arrangements.
There is no presumption that parents should have equal time with the children, however a court must consider whether equal time is appropriate if parenting orders are made for equal shared parental responsibility. If equal time is not appropriate, then a court must consider ‘substantial and significant time’ which is legislated to mean weekend time and week time.
A child has the right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents which includes a right to spend time with both parents when this is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.
It must be reasonably practicable and if one parent lives a significant distance away from the child’s school it would not be reasonable for the child to spend overnight time with that parent on school nights.
What is Substantial and Significant Time?
Substantial and significant time includes children spending weekdays, weekends and holidays with each parent, and each parent having meaningful involvement in the child’s daily routine. It includes children spending significant events and special occasions with each parent.
In deciding whether it is reasonably practicable for a child to spend equal time or substantial and significant time with a parent, the court must consider:
- How far apart the parents live;
- Whether the parents can communicate and cooperate with each other and resolve difficulties, now and in the future; and
- The effect on the child of any proposed arrangements.
Mediation Essential Pre Court!
Before applying to a Court for a judicial determination, parties must attend “Family Dispute Resolution” and obtain a certificate to show that they have done so unless there is a specific reason why dispute resolution is inappropriate in the circumstances.
Custody Or Financial Split Before Divorce?
The granting of a divorce does not determine issues of financial support, property distribution or arrangements for children. It simply recognizes that the marriage has ended.
You can get Court Orders if your children are at risk immediately, or seek Custody, Parenting Plans & complete financial separation before divorce.
No Fault Divorce
The Family Law Act established the principle of no-fault divorce in Australian law. When granting a divorce, the court does not consider why the marriage ended and the only ground for divorce is that the marriage has broken down and there is no reasonable likelihood that the parties will get back together.
Can i Apply For a Divorce?
You can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse: regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.
Separation & Still Living Together?
You need to satisfy the court that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months, and there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life. It is possible to live together in the same home and still be separated.
What a Court Considers in Divorce?
The only grounds for divorce is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. That is, that there is no reasonable likelihood that you will get back together. You must have been separated for at least 12 months and one day in order to satisfy the Court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.
If there are children aged under 18, a Court can only grant a divorce if it is satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for them.
Can i Oppose a Divorce Application?
If you have been separated for more than 12 months, there are few opportunities to oppose a divorce Application. You can only oppose the divorce where:
There has not been 12 months separation as alleged in the Application, or the court does not have jurisdiction.
If you do not want the divorce granted, you must complete and file a “Response to Divorce” and appear in person on the hearing date.
You need to set out the grounds on which you seek the dismissal in the “Response to Divorce”.
If you file a response, you should attend the divorce hearing. If you do not attend, the Court may decide the divorce application in your absence. If it is difficult for you to attend in person, you may ask the Court to appear by telephone.
What if the Application has Errors?
If you want the divorce granted but disagree with the facts in the “Application for Divorce”, you may file a “Response to Divorce”.
You need to state which facts you disagree with in the “Response to Divorce”. The errors might, for example, be that dates of birth are incorrect or the details regarding the children are no longer correct. You do not need to attend the hearing.
Filing the Response to a Divorce
- If you want to file a “Response to Divorce”, you need to file it:
- if served in Australia – within 28 days of the application being served on you; or
- if served outside of Australia – within 42 days of the application being served on you.
Do I have to Attend the Divorce Hearing?
- No children under 18: If there is no child* of the marriage aged under 18 years, you are not required to attend the court hearing. This applies for both sole and joint applications.
- Joint application with children under 18: If you have made a joint application, you and your spouse are not required to attend the court hearing (even if there is a child of the marriage aged under 18).
- Sole application with children under 18: If you have made a sole application and there is a child of the marriage aged under 18 years, you (the applicant) are required to attend the court hearing unless circumstances prevent you from attending (see below).
- Response to Divorce: If there is no “Response to Divorce”, the other party is not required to attend, although they may do if they wish.
- If a respondent has completed and filed a “Response to Divorce”, but does not oppose the application, he or she does not need to attend the hearing.
- If a respondent has, in a “Response to Divorce”, opposed the application, the respondent must appear in person on the hearing date.
Child of the Marriage
Any child of you and your spouse, including children born before the marriage or after separation
Any child adopted by you and your spouse, or
Any child who was treated as a member of your family prior to your final separation; for example, a step-child or foster child.
Getting Married Again! But wait...
You should not make firm plans to marry on a specific date until the divorce order is finalised. You may, however, complete and lodge a marriage with an authorized celebrant before the divorce order is finalised.
If you intend to remarry, you must lodge the “Notice of Intended Marriage” with an authorised marriage celebrant at least one month before the date the marriage is solemnised, and comply with other requirements of the Marriage Act (1961). The authorised celebrant must sight a copy of the divorce order before the wedding can take place.
In most cases, the divorce order takes effect one month and one day after the divorce is granted. You should not assume the divorce will be granted at the first court hearing. For example, you may be told at the hearing that you need to provide more information.
Married Less than 2 years?
If you have been married less than two years you will need to file a counseling certificate. To obtain a certificate you will need to attend counseling. The two years are calculated from the date of the marriage to the date of applying to the court for a divorce.
You and your spouse must also have been separated for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce.
If you were married overseas, you can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse:
- Regard Australia as your home and intend to live indefinitely in Australia are an Australian citizen or resident, or
- Are an Australia citizen by birth or descent;
- Are an Australia citizen by grant of an Australia citizenship;
- A safeguard and financial protection for both parties;
- Ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.
You must provide the court with a copy of your marriage certificate. If your marriage certificate is not in English, you need to file an English translation of it, and an affidavit from the translator.
Divorced Overseas & Australia?
You can apply for a divorce overseas. Australia will recognize a divorce if it was effected in accordance with the laws of that country.
No. But you can separate under the same roof. In other words the relationship must be at an end. Then whether you do parenting first or financial first depends on your individual needs or you can address both together.
Once you have sorted out your parenting finances, but if a party pushes the divorce first it usually means they want to get remarried.
Conversely, you have 12 months after a divorce to lodge for parenting or financial matters.
No. It is not worthwhile for us to act only for your divorce unless there are complicating factors. Getting a divorce is the easy part and we will do it for you as part of the complete end-to-end process but to do divorce on its own will be too expensive in terms of our charge rates.
No. The law in Australia does not allow this type of charging in family law matters. However, we may consider doing a deferred fee approach where your fees are paid from financial settlement.
Yes. We have relationships with litigation funders and your case may qualify. We may also do self funding of your case by coming to an arrangement for the deferred payment of our fees until settlement
We are simply too busy to take on any legal aid work and have been on the legal aid panels for a number of years in the past only to help those that are disadvantaged.
We prefer to directly to pro bono work for selected cases which we find is far more effective than going through an intermediary, such as legal aid.