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Family Law

It’s no secret that seeking advice about family law issues can cause stress and uncertainty. At Merthyr Law, we understand it can be a difficult time, which is why we’re here to do all we can to help. We’ll talk you through how the family law system works, explain your options, and support you every step of the way.

We believe that being proactive in dealing with current or future family law issues is always the best strategy. That’s why we recommend having agreements in place, particularly regarding finances. What’s more, getting agreements sorted sooner rather than later will avoid uncertainty down the track and offer insurance against future expenses and costly litigation.

As with estate planning, having documented agreements and structures in place to deal with family law issues means potentially tricky situations can be dealt with quickly and effectively.

When relationships break down, mediation and dispute resolution can help you reach an agreement regarding the care of your children and the division of property, money, and belongings. And it’s our aim to do everything we possibly can to help you resolve your situation without the intervention of the court.

Merthyr Law can assist clients with the following Family Law issues:

  • Divorce/separation
  • Property settlement
  • Arrangements for children
  • Spousal maintenance & financial support
  • Financial agreements – protecting assets
  • Superannuation splitting
  • Child support

Our Family Law Team

Peter Pavusa
Peter Pavusa

Special Counsel

The Negotiator

Erin Thompson
Erin Thompson

Law Graduate/Paralegal

The Facilitator

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Family Law FAQ’s

What is an Accredited Family Law Specialist?

An Accredited Family Law Specialist is a solicitor who not only has extensive professional experience but has also completed an advanced and rigorous study program in family law and has been accredited by the Queensland Law Society. 

To qualify as an Accredited Specialist is a formal recognition of a high level of competence and knowledge in the chosen area of legal practice. 

To qualify as an Accredited Specialist a solicitor must successfully complete a challenging program of advanced study and successfully complete both practical and written examinations in the specialist area; The solicitor is required to have expertise in family law and must continue to complete a minimum amount of training each year. 

Accreditation provides recognition in the profession and assistance to prospective clients confirming a high level of experience, expertise and commitment in the practice of family law; Our Accredited Family Law Specialist is Peter Pavusa. 

How does a court determine the living arrangements of children between the parents?

Section 60CA of the Family Law Act requires the court when deciding to make a parenting order to regard “the best interests of the child as the paramount consideration”. 

Section 60B(1) of the Family Law Act lists the objects to assist in clarifying the assessment of the best interests of the children.  They are:  

  • (a) ensuring the children have the benefit of both of their parents having a meaningful involvement in their lives to the maximum extent consistent with the best interests of the child; 
  • (b) protecting the child from physical or psychological harm, from being subjected to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence;  
  • (c) ensuring the child receives adequate and proper parenting to help them achieve their full potential; 
  • (d) ensuring their parents fulfil their duties and meet their responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their children.  

 The principles outlining those objects are set out in Section 60B(2) of the Family Law Act as follows: 

  • (a) children have a right to know and be cared for by both their parents, regardless of whether their parents are married, separated, have never married or have never lived together;  
  • (b) children have a right to spend time with on a regular basis and communicate on a regular basis with both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development including grandparents and other relatives;  
  • (c) parents jointly share duties and responsibilities concerning the care, welfare and development of their children; 
  • (d) parents should agree about the future parenting of their children; and 
  • (e) children have a right to enjoy their culture including the right to enjoy their culture with other people who share that culture.  

The determination by a court of the child’s best interests is dealt with by Section 60CC(1) of the Family Law Act which deals with the primary considerations namely: 

  • (a) the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents; and  
  • (b) the need to protect the child from physical and psychological harm from being subjected to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.  

In addition, Section 60CC(3) further lists 14 Additional considerations that the court must take into account including: 

  • (a) any views expressed by the child; 
  • (b) the nature of the relationship with the child with each of the child’s parents and any persons including grandparents and other relatives of the child.  

What child support do I pay if there is shared care?

Where a parent paying child support has “regular care”, the child which is defined in the Child Support Assessment Act as between 14% and 35% of care or between two and five nights a fortnight, child support assessments are reduced to acknowledge the direct financial contribution that the paying parent has towards the cost of raising the child during the time spent with the child.  

Where parents have a “shared care arrangement” which is defined by the Child Support Assessment Act as between 35% to 65% of care or between five and nine nights a fortnight, child support can be further adjusted and each parent may receive family assistance payments to help them supplement the costs of the children. 

What tax is payable in family law property settlements?

When a property settlement is formalised by way of a financial agreement or a court order there are stamp duty exemptions applicable to the transfer of matrimonial assets.  

Assets exempt from capital gains tax include bank accounts, life insurance policies, the home, cars, motorcycles and personal assets. 

Roll-over relief upon marriage or de facto relationship breakdown may be available when an asset is transferred under a property order or a financial agreement between spouses or from a trustee or company to a spouse or between SMSFs. 

However, the party receiving such a property in a property settlement will be responsible for that liability when that party eventually disposes of the asset with it. 

Are Financial Agreements ("pre-nups") worth the paper their written on?

The Family Law Act recognises that the parties to a relationship can agree as to how their assets will be split on separation. These “Financial Agreements” can be entered into before the relationship goes to the next level, during the relationship or after separation. 

Care needs to be taken that specialist advice is given to both parties, full disclosure is made and no undue influence is put on one of the parties. 

We recommend they be revisited every five years or on major life events (such as having kids, selling the business, winning the lottery, or receiving a large inheritance), as if the circumstances of the relationship significantly change from when the agreement was entered into, the agreement may no longer be enforceable. 

Read our Brochure to find out more. 

Is superannuation property that the Family Law can split between the parties in a relationship?

It sure is.  Even if you’re not able to access your super yet, the Family Court can order that part of your superannuation interest can become your spouse’s. 

The good news is that Merthyr Law has superannuation, tax and family law specialists that can help ensure your super is dealt with effectively. 

You can also plan ahead by including your superannuation interests as part of your financal agreement with your spouse, hopefully avoiding the cost exhaustion of litigation. 

Read our Brochure to find out more. 

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