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Family Lawyers Perth

We are HHG Legal Group – a respected family law firm in Perth, Western Australia. With over a century of experience and a consistent record of resolving family matters favourably for our clients, our team of family lawyers are renowned within the legal community for their expertise, professionalism and caring attitude. Whether you seek representation for mediation or court proceedings, no matter your personal circumstances, it is our promise that you will receive the highest calibre of legal services and advice and legal representation.

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Areas of Expertise

At HHG Legal Group, we offer a comprehensive suite of family law services. Each of our exceptional family lawyers are experienced in all matters of family law, including but not limited to, separation & divorce, child support and custody, and property and financial settlements. They will guide you through every step of the journey with genuine empathy. We consider it our responsibility to not only provide the best legal service possible, but to also provide clarity on family court proceedings, help you understand your legal rights, and ensure that you are well-informed about the processes involved in family disputes.

More than anything, we want you to know you have our unwavering support during what can be an incredibly stressful period. When you choose HHG Legal Group, it becomes our utmost priority to provide you with the best possible chance at achieving the positive outcome you seek.

Get expert advice on all matters relating to family law

If you need realistic, accurate, and pragmatic legal advice about your situation, our family lawyers are here to help you define your future.

We understand that going through a relationship breakdown or other family law issues can be a very difficult time. You can be confident knowing that our family law team will find the best possible outcome for you.

Please reach out to us with any enquiries you may have.

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How long do family law cases typically take to resolve?

The duration for resolving family law cases in Western Australia can vary significantly based on the complexities of the case and whether it’s contested. Matters resolved through mediation or agreement may take a few months. In contrast, cases that proceed to trial can take a year or more, especially if there are contested issues regarding property or child custody & parenting arrangements. Our family lawyers in Perth will ensure you understand the complexity of your case and are updated regularly as your cases progress.

What's the difference between separation and divorce?

What is separation?

Separation in Western Australia occurs when a couple, either married or in a de facto relationship, decides to live apart. They may still be living under the same roof, but they’re no longer continuing their relationship as a couple. The decision to separate might be mutual, or it might be a decision made by one party. Importantly, even though they are living separately, they remain legally married or legally recognised as being in a relationship.

What is divorce?

Divorce is the formal legal termination of a marriage. In Western Australia, after a divorce has been granted, the marriage has legally ended, and both parties are free to remarry As stated by the Family Law Act, to apply for a divorce, the couple must have been separated for at least 12 months.

How are they different?

The primary difference between separation and divorce is the legal status of the relationship. During separation, the couple is still legally recognised as being married or in a de facto relationship, even if they have chosen to live apart. A divorce, on the other hand, officially ends the legal marriage. Only after a divorce can either party legally remarry. Separation is the first step that can eventually lead to divorce if the couple decides not to reconcile.

What is family mediation, and how does it differ from court proceedings?

Family mediation is a confidential process wherein a neutral third party (the mediator) assists the disputing parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on family matters, such as child custody or property division. It’s typically faster, less formal, and less expensive than court proceedings. Court proceedings involve formal legal processes where a decision is handed down by a judge. While mediation aims to have both parties come to an agreement, in court, a binding decision is made by the judge.

How much do family lawyers cost?

The cost of family lawyers in Western Australia can vary widely based on the complexity of the case, the experience of the lawyer, and the firm’s reputation. Lawyers might charge an hourly rate, a flat fee for specific services, or a retainer fee. It’s essential to discuss fees upfront and understand the cost structure.

We believe in full transparency with our clients. All our clients are fully aware of what their legal fees are and are likely to be. We provide our clients with up-to-date information on their costs at all stages of the process.

If you wish to be provided with an estimate of fees, contact one of our offices in Western Australia and book an initial fixed-fee consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers.

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Do I need a lawyer for my family law matter?

There are several reasons to seek legal advice and consider hiring a lawyer when navigating a divorce:

  1. Complexity of Property Division: Western Australia’s property laws can be intricate, particularly if you have accumulated substantial assets or have complex financial arrangements. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and entitlements and can navigate the nuances of property settlements.
  2. Child-Related Issues: When children are involved, it’s crucial to ensure their best interests are prioritised. A lawyer can help draft custody agreements, visitation schedules, and address child support matters to protect both the child’s and your rights.
  3. Mediation and Negotiation: Sometimes, emotions run high during a divorce. Having a lawyer can offer a buffer between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, helping to mediate and negotiate terms in a non-confrontational manner.
  4. Documentation & Filing: The  Family Court process involves various legal documents that need to be correctly filled out and filed. A minor oversight or mistake can delay the process. A lawyer ensures that all paperwork is in order, filed correctly, and on time.
  5. Understanding Your Rights: Each divorce or separation is unique, and individual circumstances can influence outcomes. A lawyer can advise you on your specific situation, ensuring you’re aware of all your rights and options.
  6. Peace of Mind: Knowing you have a professional advocate who understands the legal landscape can offer peace of mind during what is often a stressful and emotional time.

Do I have to go to court for family law matters?

Many family law matters are resolved and formalised using an appropriate agreement outside of court. Depending on the nature of your circumstances, the resolution can be formalised through filing an Application for Consent Orders, entering into a Financial Agreement, a Child Support Agreement, or an informal agreement.

There are strict timeframes that must be adhered to. If you are married, you must resolve your matter or commence proceedings before the 12-month limitation period expires after a divorce order takes effect. If you are in a de-facto relationship, you must resolve your matter or commence proceedings before the 2-year limitation period expires following the date of your final separation.

If you do not agree with the various proposals presented and exchanged to resolve your matter, you may need to participate in a dispute resolution process. This can involve family mediation, conciliation, arbitration, family dispute resolution, or negotiations.

If you are involved in family law proceedings, then you can always reach a resolution up until a decision is made by the Family Court officer presiding over your case. Your agreement can then be formalised through filing a Minute of Consent Orders or by entering into such as a Binding Financial Agreement.

Contact Us

When dealing with a family law matter, you need legal professional advice that you can trust, and that will help you make fully informed choices about which course of action to take.

At HHG Legal Group, we pride ourselves on being one of Western Australia’s most trusted family law firms. We have been assisting individuals and families for over 100 years and have offices in Perth, Joondalup, Mandurah, Bunbury and Albany.

For more information about how we can assist you, or arrange a confidential discussion, please reach out to us by submitting an enquiry or calling us directly at your preferred office.

Helpful Information Relating to Family Law:

Supporting Western Australians for more than 100 years

“We are extremely pleased that Lisa Riley was recommended to us.  Lisa was very upfront with us as regards possible outcomes, kept us informed along the way, and successfully achieved the best possible outcome.  She was dogged in her pursuit of justice and we found her to be honest, helpful, caring, diligent, and very professional in all our dealings with her.

We would strongly recommend her (and her support team at HHG) to anyone needing to engage a top-quality criminal lawyer.”

WILLIAM AND HEATHER

Lisa Riley, I would like to thank you for all your help and support through this difficult and disappointing period in my life.

Your professionalism and supportive nature have been a welcome change and Alison and I are very appreciative of this, HHG is very lucky to have someone of your expertise and dedication working for them and we both can’t speak highly enough of you, I will be forever grateful to you and your company for all your help and kindness, I would highly recommend you and HHG to everyone who needs competent and professional legal representation.

Once again thank you so much.

ANONYMOUS

Dear Lisa,

Just a small note of gratitude for the phone call you gave me last Tuesday (11 July), in response to my legal query. I really appreciated the kindness you showed in reassuring me of my rights in our phone call, amongst other priorities. I am very appreciative of your time.

ANONYMOUS

Thanks so much, Lisa. Very happy! Your team is very professional.

ANONYMOUS

We have been working with Kim and HHG Legal, Bunbury on several matters. Kim is professional, approachable and knowledgeable; prompt to respond to a query with detailed information that is not only relevant to the matter in question, but also reassuring which instils confidence for us to continue working with Kim and HHG Legal, Bunbury.

FORREST PERSONNEL

The process of working through the settlement of our father’s estate presented us with a potentially challenging and complex undertaking. We would like to thank Simon, Alyce, and the team at HHG for taking on this work in such a thorough, thoughtful, and professional manner. Our family is very grateful for the help and advice that they have provided, and we highly recommend their services to anyone who needs the professional support that HHG provides.

WITH WARM GRATITUDE ON BEHALF OF THE PITMAN FAMILY

FAQ’s

Why is it essential to search for the best family lawyer for divorce, always?

Divorce is a very difficult process, especially after a long marriage and if there are children of the relationship.

It is important to engage a family lawyer to provide you with advice tailored to your individual circumstances and needs. It is also desirable to engage a lawyer with a wealth of knowledge and experience, who is an expert in the specific area of family and de facto law.

Our team of family lawyers have a wealth of experience about the necessary requirements and details of the divorce application. Our family lawyers are also experts in this area, should your former partner oppose the application.

Can I divorce my husband without his consent?

The idea of obtaining a divorce from an uncooperative spouse may feel like an uphill battle. However, you do not need your spouse’s consent to obtain a divorce.

The Family Court of Western Australia is a no-fault jurisdiction. The no-fault principle, established by the Family Law Act 1975,  means that the court does not need to know the reason for the divorce, just that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and there is no hope of reconciliation.

To apply for divorce in Australia, you and your spouse must have separated at least 12 months ago. In addition, one of you must be an Australian citizen, or be living in Australia and regard Australia as your home.

However, if you wish to obtain a divorce but you have been married for less than two years, you will also have to participate in counselling to discuss the possibility of reconciliation, prior to making the divorce application.

If a divorce application is made by you alone, you will have to serve a copy of the application on your former spouse and provide evidence to the court that the application has been served and received by the other party. If you do not know the location of your former spouse, you may have to apply to the court for substituted service or dispensation of service. Our family law team can assist you in this regard.

There may be other requirements depending on the unique circumstances of your case.

The other party may then file a Response to Divorce if they disagree with any of the information provided on the application or if they oppose the divorce. If you are concerned that your former spouse may have grounds to oppose, do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced family lawyers.

If you require any information in relation to the above, or wish for a family lawyer to assist you with your application for divorce, do not hesitate to contact our office.

Can family law decisions be appealed?

You can ask the Family Court set aside a decision made by a judge or magistrate. However, you will need to identify valid grounds for your appeal. This means you will need to demonstrate that there has been a significant error of law or fact. This is not an opportunity to ask the relevant Court to rehear your case.

It is important to remember that an appeal does not stop the operation of your Family Court Orders.

If you are considering making an appeal, you should seek independent legal advice about the timeframes involved to lodge your appeal, your rights, obligations, prospects of success, the prospects of costs being awarded against you, and representation.

If your agreement has been finalised or a Family Court Order has been made and the other person is not complying, you do have options. You may need to seek enforcement or pursue a contravention application.

If the circumstances of your matter have changed, there is the ability to update your agreement or Family Court Order. They can be varied or new ones can be drafted depending on the change in circumstances. This can be done by a mutual agreement or by the Family Court.

Are family law cases public record?

There are restrictions on the publication of family law proceedings. It is unlawful (subject to exceptions) to publish any information that can identify any person who is involved a family law proceeding or is otherwise connected to the proceedings.

If anyone does share information that includes confidential information, they could be committing a serious offence.

Can family law decisions be appealed?

You can ask the Family Court set aside a decision made by a judge or magistrate. However, you will need to identify valid grounds for your appeal. This means you will need to demonstrate that there has been a significant error of law or fact. This is not an opportunity to ask the relevant Court to rehear your case.

It is important to remember that an appeal does not stop the operation of your Family Court Orders.

If you are considering making an appeal, you should seek independent legal advice as soon as possible about the timeframes involved to lodge your appeal, your rights, obligations, prospects of success, the prospects of costs being awarded against you, and representation.

If your agreement has been finalised or a Family Court Order has been made and the other person is not complying, you do have options. You may need to seek enforcement or pursue a contravention application.

If the circumstances of your matter have changed, there is the ability to update your agreement or Family Court Order. They can be varied, or new ones can be drafted depending on the change in circumstances. This can be done by a mutual agreement or by the Family Court.

How long does the divorce process take?

In Western Australia, after a couple has been separated for 12 months, they can apply for a divorce. The preparation of a divorce application can vary. It can occur relatively quickly if it is straightforward to several months, depending on the specific circumstances and any potential complexities. If the divorce application is successful, they take effect 1 month and 1 day after the order is granted.

How is property divided in a divorce?

Property division in a divorce is based on contributions (both financial and non-financial), future needs, and fairness. When it comes to property matters, the Family Court of Western Australia will consider a assets, debts, and superannuation. It’s not always a 50/50 split but rather what is deemed “just and equitable”.

What is spousal maintenance, and am I eligible for it?

Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one party to a former partner after separation or divorce. Eligibility depends on one party’s need for financial support and the other party’s capacity to provide that support. Factors like age, health, income, property, financial resources, and the care of children are considered.

How is child custody determined?

Child custody (often referred to as “parental responsibility” or “time spent”) decisions are made based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider factors like the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s views, the likely effect of any changes, and each parent’s attitude towards parenting, among others.

What factors are considered in determining child support?

Child support is typically determined by a formula considering both parents’ incomes, the cost of raising the child, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and other factors. Special circumstances can also be considered.

Can a child decide which parent they want to live with?

The court will consider a child’s views depending on their age, maturity, and understanding. While a child’s preference might influence the decision, it’s not the sole determining factor. The best interests of the child always take precedence.

What are the rights of de facto partners?

In Western Australia, de facto partners have many of the same rights as married couples when it comes to property settlement and spousal maintenance. This includes same-sex de facto relationships. However, the criteria defining a de facto relationship must be met.

Can we continue to live together once separated?

Yes, it’s possible to be considered “separated” under the law even if you continue to live in the same house. However, you’d need to demonstrate that the relationship has ended, such as living separate lives, not sharing meals or a bedroom, and informing family and friends of the separation.

What are parenting orders in WA, Australia?

Parenting orders are determinations made by the court regarding the care arrangements for children. They can cover aspects like who the child will live with, the time they’ll spend with each parent, and other significant parenting decisions.

Disclaimer

All the following legal Information has been reviewed by a qualified lawyer, certified to practice in Western Australia on 1 November 2023.

*This information serves as a general guide and does not constitute legal advice. It is based on our research and experience at the time of publication. Please consult our knowledgeable legal team for any specific inquiries or advice relevant to your circumstances, as the content may not have been updated subsequently. 

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