We always encourage separating couples to get independent legal advice, particularly before they enter into a legally binding agreement.
An experienced family lawyer can provide independent legal advice about your rights, entitlements and obligations under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and such other legislation as may be relevant to you and your circumstances.
Where engaged one on one, we can provide you with such advice. We offer one hour telephone/Skype consultations for a fixed price.
What is independent legal advice?
Independent legal advice will generally include advice about:
- What the law says about the division of assets, debts and superannuation after separation
- Independent legal advice about the application of the law to your circumstances, including what an appropriate division of your assets, debts and superannuation would look like, parenting matters, child support.
- Whether the proposed financial agreement reached is within the range of what the law says is an appropriate one and whether there would be an adjustment to you in the division of property in view of your contributions and future needs.
- Whether the drafting of the documents is advantageous to you or disadvantageous to you and in what respect(s). Your solicitor may recommend that some changes be made.
- Information about the best way to formalise your agreement about the division of your assets, debts and superannuation (aka your property settlement)
- The circumstances in which your Financial Consent Orders can be set aside.
- What it means to provide full and frank financial disclosure.
- Whether it is in your interests to formalise your parenting agreement.
- The effect of formalising your parenting agreement by way of Parenting Consent Orders vs a Parenting Plan and whether you can ever change your parenting agreement.
- The effect of a divorce.
- Whether you are entitled to receive or at risk of spouse maintenance
- Your obligations to pay child support or your entitlement to receive
- Options for formalising your agreement about the provision of child support/financial support for your child/ren
- Important time limits for defacto and married couples
What would the consultation cover?
In addition to us providing independent legal advice to you, you can expect that during your consultation with us, we’ll also cover the following:
- The available process options that don’t include going to Court to assist you and your partner to reach an agreement following your separation (if you haven’t already)
- A discussion about your hopes, wishes and goals and what you want to achieve in order to move forward
- The various options available to you in engaging us to help you finalise your separation if required
- An action plan of next steps to progress and finalise the separation
How much does it cost?
Our one hour advice consultations are $435 including GST. You receive a complimentary reporting letter setting out what we understand to be your instructions and our advice.
The right sort of lawyer for you
Understandably, you might prefer to have a face to face family lawyer assist and guide you through your separation.
Just like eggs, there can be some good ones and bad ones. It is therefore important that you (and your partner as well!) choose the ‘right sort of lawyer’ in order to receive the ‘right’ advice and information, specific to you. We suggest researching collaboratively trained family lawyers in your area. There are practice groups in each State and Territory.
Do I have to get independent legal advice?
For certain types of agreements (such as Binding Child Support Agreements or Binding Financial Agreements), you are required to get independent legal advice before entering into and signing the agreement.
You do not have to get independent legal advice to enter into Financial Consent Orders, a Parenting Plan or Parenting Consent Orders.
We always recommend that separating couples do receive independent legal advice before entering into any agreement.
Where can I get free legal advice?
For free legal advice, try contacting:
- Your local Law Society. They may provide one off pro bono legal advice through their Legal Advice Bureau.
- Your local State or Territory Women’s Legal Centre. The Centre may be able to provide a one off free advice appointment.
- Your local Family Court or Federal Circuit Court Registry. There may be a duty aid legal service that can provide a one off free advice appointment.
- A solicitor who may provide a free initial consultation.