At Lakey Family Law and Mediation we are passionate about the practice of family law

Parenting Matters

Often the most difficult issue to resolve when separating is the parenting arrangements for children.

The Family Law Act has a presumption of shared parental responsibility. It is important to note that this does not mean automatically that parents will spend equal time with their children. The Act dictates that the best interests of the child are paramount rather than the desire or the convenience of the parents.

Lakey Family Law and Mediation focusses our advice on the individual children involved in the dispute, their needs and what arrangements may be in their best interests.

In our years of experience, we have dealt with some complex cases of parental alienation, neglect, child abuse, and non-parent applications.  We have also successfully litigated cases where parents wished to relocate with their children intrastate, interstate and overseas, Again the best interests of the children are paramount.

Will my ex get 5050 care of our kids?

The answer is it depends on what is best for your children.

There is no automatic shared time but substantial and significant and shared time is an option that must be considered.

Keys considerations include communication between parents, distance and working arrangements as well as ages of the children.

Can I move away with my kids if I separate?

Any desire to move away from the other parent generally needs to consent of that parent or a court order.

Again the best interests of the children are what determines these issues and a parent who moves without consent will often be forced back by the court until the matter is finally determined.

I recently had to return to court for both domestic violence and parenting matters.
I utilised the services of Annette and found her to be extremely personable, professional and responsive to me needs at a difficult time which involved disputes as to arrangements for my children.

Divorce

Whilst applying for a divorce is often a relatively simple process, the assistance of an Accredited Family Law Specialist can be helpful in such cases as where service on the other party is unable to be served, where a marriage is less than two years old, or where a party does not feel confident appearing in court to finalise the application.

What if I don’t know where my ex is?

Any application for divorce generally needs to be served on the other party.

The court in hearing a divorce, can allow for another person such as a family member to receive the documents on their behalf, or that service is not required.

What if we separate under one roof?

Divorce cannot be applied for, less than 12 months and one day after physical separation.

However if the parties separated under one roof the court can still grant the divorce if affidavits are prepared detailing how the parties were separated during that period

I recently applied for a divorce from an abusive husband and was too afraid for him to be served and aware of the divorce due to years of family violence. Annette helped me obtain a divorce from this man without the need to serve him for which I am eternally grateful

Child Support

Our firm can provide advice on child support review processes and departure applications, appeals to the Social Security Tribunal as well as drafting Child Support Agreements where parents wish to withdraw or avoid the Child Support assessment process and reach their own agreement about the support of their children.

We are also able to advise on Child Support Agreements prepared by other firms as required for Binding Child Support Agreements.

Spousal Maintenance

Upon a separation, if one party has a need for maintenance to meet their reasonable needs, and their ex partner has a capacity to meet those needs from their income on a short or long term basis, then the court may order that spousal maintenance may be paid.

We can assist in negotiating such applications and if necessary seek orders from the Family or Federal Circuit Court for urgent maintenance.

Family Dispute Resolution

This is a process also known as “mediation” that is focussed on a neutral third party (the mediator or Dispute Resolution Practitioner) assisting parties in reaching a resolution to their dispute, whether it be relating to the children or property matters in the family law arena.

Annette is a qualified Mediator through the Australian Mediation Association, and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.

Annette is able to assist separated couples negotiate their parenting issues in an empathetic and supportive manner. With many years of legal experience in this arena, Annette has seen first-hand the impact on children when their parents can resolve parenting arrangements themselves without having a decision forced upon them by a judge.

Annette offers a flexible approach to mediation, being able to travel to the parties, conduct a mediation by phone or skype, or assist with the involvement of solicitors.

She is also able to provide a s. 60i certificate if mediation fails to resolve a matter, or if a party refuses to attend. This enables a party to seek orders in the courts for parenting arrangements.

Do I have to attend mediation?

The answer if no if you wish to negotiate only property matters or have already agreed on parenting arrangements.

If either parent wishes to go to court on parenting matters, they do need to obtain a s 60 I certficate from a Family Dispute resolution practitioner than mediation has been attempted or is not appropriate. If the other party refuses to attend then normally a certificate is provided.

Can the mediator draw up the agreement if we reach one at mediation?

Yes but to be legally binding it needs to be converted into a consent order to be filed in the Family Court.

I approached Annette for assistance with mediation over our daughter and property matters
Annette was able to assist my husband and I to negotiate a fair settlement for us both without the need for lawyers or expensive costs

Financial Agreements

Financial Agreements are entered into by a couple prior to a marriage or cohabitation, during a marriage or defacto relationship, or after separation.​

These Agreements whenever entered, require each party (even if they are still happily together) to obtain independent legal advice before the Agreement becomes binding.

These Agreements are particularly helpful for example where one party brings in significant assets, or a capacity to earn, is likely to receive an inheritance, or wishes to protect any current or future assets for their children.

Post separation Financial Agreements can be of assistance where parties are prepared to forego claims for spousal maintenance as part of their property settlement.

Assistance for Self Represented Litigants

Sometimes parties to court proceedings prefer to represent themselves before the court. This is often due to their inability to pay for a private lawyer to go on the record, or preference to conduct their own matter without a lawyer controlling the process.

Often however it is of assistance in a case to have a lawyer provide advice on an adhoc basis about the process, documents to be filed, and strategy in running a family law matter.

Lakey Family Law and Mediation offer assistance for self-represented litigants in these services, at a reasonable set fee basis, to ensure that these clients are presenting the best possible case they can before the courts without the extra fees of having a lawyer on the record on their behalf.

Property Settlements

When marriages or defacto relationships breakdown, often there is property such as houses, savings, investments, businesses and superannuation to divide between the parties.

We aim at negotiating a fair and just division of property according to the Family Law Act.

We are strong negotiators.  We aim to ensure our clients obtain the very best outcome possible without being weighed down by exorbitant legal fees so they are able to move on with their lives post separation.

Annette has acted in some high profile and complex same sex defacto relationship disputes and is also well versed in these matters.

If I leave the Family home when I separate from my partner, do I lose my rights and can my partner change the locks and exclude me from the house?

If the property is owned by one or both of the parties to the relationship, no rights to a property adjustment under the Family law act are lost.

The partner in occupation has a right to privacy and can change the locks But without an intervention order or an order for sole occupation, the other partner can access the property and if necessary resume cohabitation in the home

Can my partner make a claim on any assets I brung into our relationship?

Normally when a relationship be it defacto or marriage breaks down, all assets of the parties are considered as relevant if Adele are to be divided.

These assets may be able to be protected if the parties enter a Financial Agreement before or during their defacto relationship or marriage

Luckily for me when separating from my husband, I found Annette who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise in family law. Annette helped me obtain a good outcome at mediation avoiding the expense of the next step of going to court , and being free to move on with life again

Domestic Violence and Intervention Orders

Domestic Violence whether it be by way of physical or verbal assaults, financial abuse or ongoing harassment and threatening behaviour, is becoming epidemic in our society.

Lakey Family Law and Mediation has regularly represented clients in the Magistrates Court with respect to applications for Intervention Orders as well as providing strategic advice as to when and if such orders should be sought, and how to defend such applications if they lack merit or are brought for strategic reasons.

During her time in Queensland. Annette volunteered with the Women’s Legal Service in Brisbane and regularly assisted victims of domestic violence on a pro bono basis.

Surrogacy and IVF

Lakey Family Law and Mediation have experince in negotiating and drafting surrogacy agreements within Australia, and obtaining orders for parentage transfer in the courts in surrogacy matters pursuant to Victorian and Queensland law.

We are also able to apply for parenting orders for non-biological parents in the Family court.