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Please call us on 02 8539 7475 or email us for a call back.


Family Court

Going through a separation or divorce can be a stressful and overwhelming time in any intimate relationship.  Brander Smith McKnight’s highly experience family lawyers can guide you every step of the way through the legal matters that the Family Court deals with, such as separation, divorce, parenting and financial issues. Navigating this system can be complicated and the decisions you make during this period will have long lasting effects on you.

What is the Purpose of Family Court?

Family Court handles family law matters which include applications for divorce, spousal maintenance, property and financial disputes, parenting orders, warrants for the detention of a child and other matters that deal with family relations.  The most common legal matters dealt with in Family Court include:

  • Separation
  • Divorce
  • Children
  • Property and Finances


Separation is the end of an intimate partnership including the end of a marriage or de facto relationship.  Commonly people need to make practical decisions regarding children and/or assets such as property and debt.  Considerations that can be made and legally enforced under Family Court jurisdiction during a separation include:

  • Where children will live
  • Who will stay in the house
  • How will joint bills be paid
  • What happens to assets, such as property and furniture


Divorce is the legal end of a marriage, also known as the dissolution of a marriage.  Under Australia law, there is a “no fault” divorce system meaning that when a divorce is granted, the Family Court does not take into consideration the reason(s) for the end of the marriage.  Neither spouse is required to prove any fault that caused the breakdown of the marriage.  For a divorce to occur, the only grounds required is that the marriage broke down and there is not a reasonable chance that it will resolve.  The granting of the divorce is only the legal recognition of the end of a marriage and does not determine the outcome of issues concerning finances, property or children.  Part V1 of the Family Law Act 1975 deals with divorce within the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.


The Family Court commonly deals with the rights of children and will help couples through divorce and separation by making arrangements that include:

  1. Ensuring the children continue to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents and other family members
  2. Ensuring both parents continue to share responsibility for children
  3. Ensuring the children are cared for and live in a safe environment free from violence and abuse

Unfortunately a harmonious relationship between parents after a divorce or separation isn’t always possible.  The Family Court can reduce the disharmony through the enforcement of legal agreements and obligations.

Other Family Court matters regarding children include adoption, fostering, guardianship and emancipation.

Property and Finances

As property and finances are commonly shared in intimate relationships, when there is a divorce or separation, finances, property, assets and debts need to be split in an equitable manner.  Within the Family Court system, legally binding agreements are made to ensure that the shared assets are split fairly and that any financial support is agreed upon and enforceable.  This may take the form of:

  1. If agreements are agreed upon, the agreement can be formalised by applying for consent orders or making a legal financial agreement.
  2. If agreements cannot be agreed upon, family dispute resolution is available through the Family Court.
  3. If agreements cannot be agreed upon after family dispute resolution, you can apply to the Family Court for financial orders which include the division of property and spouse maintenance payments.

How Can BSM Family Lawyers help me?

The highly experienced family lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight recognise that divorce and separation can be an emotionally difficult time.  We have the empathy and kindness to understand this and the legal prowess to represent you and navigate the family court system.  The decisions you make during this period will be long lasting.  Having a lawyer who appreciates this and is a powerful advocate for you will guarantee that no one takes advantage of you.  Our lawyers are experienced in all areas of the Family Court’s jurisdiction including parenting orders, equitable property and financial distribution and spousal support, adoption, fostering and guardianship.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

We are conveniently located at Sutherland, Parramatta, Wollongong and Sydney CBD.


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