Marriage, families & separation

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Marriage, Families & Separation

The Family Law Courts of Australia publish a brochure regarding Marriage, Families and Separation.  The brochure provides information for those considering, or affected by separation or divorce.  It provides general information and is not  legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer before making a decision.

If you click on the link at the end of this document, it will direct you to the complete Marriages, Families and Separation brochure published by the Family Law Courts.

We have included some extracts below:


Separation can be an upsetting experience for everyone involved. It is understandable that you may be stressed at this time. It is important for you and your children that you have support to help you through this difficult time.

There are services in the community that can help:

  • you and your partner work through any problems in your relationship
  • you and your children adjust to separation or divorce
  • you and your former partner reach an agreement, and
  • you and your family adjust to and comply with court orders.

Legal advice

If you are considering separation or have separated, you should seek legal advice. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and explain how the law applies to your case. A lawyer can also explain and help you reach an agreement with your former partner without going to court.

Personal safety

If you have any concerns about your safety while attending court, please call 1300 352 000 before your court appointment or hearing. Options for your safety at court will be discussed and arrangements put in place. By law, people must inform the Court if there is an existing or pending family violence order involving themselves or their children. More detail is in the fact sheet Do you have fears for your safety when attending court?

 Non-court based family services

People considering separation or divorce, and those affected by it, are encouraged to use services in the community to help resolve issues.


Confidentiality in non-court based family services

Generally, what is said during family counselling and family dispute resolution is confidential and cannot be used in court later. There are exceptions; for instance:

  • where there is a legal requirement to report a suspicion or risk of child abuse and violence or threats of violence, and
  • the Court may order that a family counsellor or family dispute resolution practitioner give evidence of an admission or disclosure of abuse made during a session.

NOTE: Meetings, discussions or other exchanges with arbitrators are not confidential, and may be used in court.


Reaching an agreement

Reaching an agreement with your former partner can offer many advantages, such as:

~ you make your own decisions

~ you greatly reduce the financial and emotional costs of legal proceedings

~ your continuing relationship as parents, if you have children, is likely to work better

~ you are more able to move forward and make a new life for yourself, and

~ you may improve communication with your former partner and be better able to resolve disputes in the future.

Going to court

If you cannot reach an agreement, you may consider applying to the Court for orders. Going to court is often a stressful time for many people. It can also be expensive and time consuming. However, sometimes it may be the only way to deal with a dispute.

Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution

Before you apply to the Court for a parenting order, including those seeking changes to an existing parenting order, you need to attend Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) and obtain a certificate from a registered FDR provider.

There are some exceptions to this requirement, such as cases involving family violence, child abuse, or urgency. For more information about these exceptions, see the fact sheet Compulsory Family Dispute Resolution – court procedures and requirements.

The brochure includes much more information including family consultants, going to court, parenting plans, consent orders, child support agency, relationship centres, interpreters, centrelink and family assistance office.

To view the Marriages, Families and Separation brochure, click here.

If you require legal advice in relation to marriages, families and separation, contact family lawyers, Claire Naidu & Co by email or call on 0410 557 276.

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