Family Lawyers Gold Coast

Our family and divorce lawyers are renowned for helping families resolve difficult disputes.

We understand that when your relationship changes, it can be one of life’s most stressful experiences to navigate.

It is our intent to support you and help you understand your rights and find the best legal solution when facing separation, divorce, or a parenting dispute. 

It is important to have the best support system around you during this difficult time to help reduce your stress and provide you with considered action and independent legal advice.

As a leading family law firm on the Gold Coast, our lawyers recognise that no two family law matters are the same. The family law team are trained to listen and connect with clients to be able to fully understand what matters most to you.

We will assess your unique personal situation and help set goals and formulate a strategy that will achieve your desired outcome in the most cost-effective way.

There are many situations that can be greatly exacerbated, particularly when there are children involved, or jointly owned property and businesses, as well as family violence or domestic abuse. Our empathetic and compassionate family solicitors have the experience and expertise to assist you.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers recommend resolving family law issues by way of negotiation and effective dispute resolution methods, to try to avoid the matter being drawn out or escalating to litigation. Litigation can be emotionally and financially draining for everyone involved, so the earlier we can achieve a resolution, the faster you are able to move on with your life and put this challenging time behind you.

There are certainly cases where court intervention is required. If this is the case, our family lawyers are always ready to guide you through this process and support you in court.

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To find out more about applying for divorce, provide your details below and our Information Pack will be sent to your inbox.

Our Gold Coast family law services include:

Divorce

Our divorce lawyers on the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales can provide expert legal advice on divorce and help you prepare and lodge, or respond to, an Application for Divorce.

The family law team can also provide advice on other family law issues you may need to consider when going through a divorce, including property settlements which can be negotiated prior to divorce, parenting arrangements, child support and spousal maintenance.

Property Settlements & Spousal Maintenance

Settling property disputes and spousal maintenance when a relationship breaks down can be an extremely emotionally charged issue. It is not always easy deciding who gets what in a property settlement!

It is important to divide property in a way that is fair to both parties and to formalise your property division agreement in a legally binding way.

Parenting Disputes & Child Custody

We are here to help parents resolve disputes over children and child custody, and to formalise parenting arrangements swiftly.

It is our goal to help you negotiate with your former spouse in a way that reduces conflict and focusses on the best interests of the children.

Binding Financial Agreements

Establishing a binding financial agreement early on can provide you with peace of mind and reduce the risk of a property dispute arising that can be extremely stressful and costly down the track.

Our experienced Gold Coast family lawyers can prepare and review financial agreements to ensure your best interests are protected.

Child Support

When two parents separate, it is expected that they fulfil their parental responsibility to continue to financially support their children.

Child support should give consideration to a child’s daily living costs, fees associated with their education, medical and health costs and any other expenses that may arise from extra-curricular activities.

Surrogacy

Our Gold Coast family lawyers specialise in providing comprehensive legal advice to individuals and couples seeking to grow their family through surrogacy.

Domestic & Family Violence

Our experienced family lawyers are here to support you in your time of need.

Put a stop to domestic violence and contact us for assistance by phoning our 24/7 phone line on 1800 621 071. We’re here to help.

Meet our Gold Coast Family Law team

Our experienced family lawyers are here to support you through the tough times. When you choose our team, you can have confidence that you are represented by an expert who practises exclusively in family law. Our team are available for appointments at all our Gold Coast office locations.

Donna Tolley - Department Manager - Wills & Estates, Family Law

Donna

Tolley

Department Manager
Wills & Estates, Family Law
Hayley Condon - Senior Associate - Wills & Estates, Family Law

Hayley

Condon

Special Counsel
Wills & Estates, Family Law
Michael Twohill

Michael

Twohill

Special Counsel
Family Law

Carlu

Booth

Senior Associate
Family Law

Where to start when you are separating

If you’re in the early stages of separation, download our checklist for guidance on the initial steps to take and key things to consider.

Family Law FAQs

If you satisfy at least one of the below criteria, you will be eligible to make an application for divorce in Australia:

  • If you are an Australian citizen;
  • If you ordinarily reside in Australia;
  • If you consider Australia as your home and your intention is to live in Australia indefinitely;
  • If you have lived in Australia for 12 months immediately preceding filing the Application for Divorce.

An Application for Divorce must be filed in the Federal Circuit Court. Australia’s divorce process is a “no-fault” system and accordingly, the only requirement before filing the application is that you and your former partner have been separated for at least 12 months before filing the application.

You and your former partner must have been separated for at least 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. If you and your former partner reconciled during that time, then the 12-month period will start after the reconciliation ended.

In Australia, a court does not consider who was at fault in the breakdown of a marriage.

In order to file an Application for Divorce, you will need to:

  • Prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken and that you and your former partner have been separated for a period of no less than 12 months;
  • Have been married for more than two years, or that you have attended the required counselling with the Family Court.


If you are unsure if you are eligible to file an Application for Divorce, our Gold Coast Family Lawyers will be able to help you determine what steps you need to take and what options you may have available to you. Contact the team any time to discuss your circumstances by calling 1800 621 071.

If you were married less than 2 years ago, and still want to apply for a divorce, you will need to:

  • Attend mediation alongside your spouse with a court approved family and child mediator to talk about the possibility of reconciliation. You will then need to file a certificate completed by the counsellor with your application. If you cannot attend the mediation, you must file an affidavit outlining the reasons why counselling is not an option.
  • In special circumstances, you may file an application seeking the court’s permission to proceed within 2 years of the marriage.

If the court is satisfied that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that you and your former partner have been separated for at least 12 months, there are very limited grounds for the divorce to be opposed. However, you must prove that your spouse was served according to the rules.

“Service” is the delivery of the court documents to your spouse after they have been filed. By serving the documents, this ensures all parties have received the documents filed with the court and that all parties are aware of the pending divorce application.  

If you still live under the same roof as your former partner, you must prove separation and provide this evidence to the court. The action of separating must involve a complete and open break from the marital relationship. This can include:

  • Living in separate rooms
  • Not sharing meals together or mutual entertainment inside or outside the home
  • Ceasing all sexual activity
  • Operating separate bank accounts
  • Not providing household services
  • Not representing to friends, family, or colleagues that the marriage is continuing.

Whether you are required to appear in court will depend on the circumstances of your application. An appearance by you or your legal representative will be required if there are children under the age of 18 and the application is not made jointly by you and your spouse.

If you are stating that you are separated but you have continued living under the same roof as your spouse, it is likely the court will expect an appearance by you or your legal representative to answer some questions about your separation. There are circumstances where the court may be prepared to permit an appearance by telephone. If this is appropriate we can make that application on your behalf.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers charge a set fee for Applications for Divorce. You will also need to be aware of filing fees that the Federal Circuit Court will charge to lodge your application, which can be reduced if you receive Centrelink benefits or have a concession card. For more information about the filing fee, visit www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au and follow the links to the “Fees” page.

No, you do not need to wait to be divorced to make a property settlement with your former partner. Divorce and property settlements are two separate legal matters. A divorce will affect a property settlement by triggering a time limitation period, which if lapsed, can cause issues in making a court application for property settlements or spousal maintenance. This time limitation period commences once the divorce order is final (which is one month and one day after the divorce application hearing date). If 12 months has passed after your divorce is final and you have not yet finalised a property settlement, you must obtain the court’s permission before you can file a court application.

Any gift you have in your Will which you had previously intended to leave to your spouse will become invalid on divorce. It is extremely important to review your Will and discuss your change of situation with an estate planning lawyer when you separate from your spouse. You need to give consideration to your Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, Appointment of Enduring Guardian, and superannuation and life insurance nominations.

Financial assistance for family law matters

Are financial concerns hindering your ability to navigate legal proceedings post-separation? JustFund can provide flexible and accessible solutions, improving access to justice and financial security.

As an accredited partner of JustFund, Attwood Marshall Lawyers is pleased to offer clients an exclusive funding option for eligible family law matters. 

JustFund is Australia’s premier family law finance provider, offering a line of credit designed specifically for individuals going through separation. This financial assistance enables you to cover legal fees and disbursements.

Simply make an application, and once approved, you can draw down on your line of credit as needed to pay legal bills and disbursements. Unlike a traditional loan, you only repay the loan when you finalise your legal matter and you only repay from the settlement proceeds you receive.

Due to the unique nature of a line of credit for family law fees, JustFund looks beyond what a traditional lender sees and are not fixated on things like your credit score, employment history, or income when considering eligibility. Instead, JustFund assesses the individual behind each application and their legal entitlement holistically, on a case-by-case basis.

Attwood Marshall Lawyers can apply to JustFund on your behalf. Your lawyer will provide the necessary information to speed up the assessment process.

You will be required to complete a final questionnaire provided by JustFund, who will then assess your case (typically within one week).

Upon approval, you’ll need to e-sign an Agreement and Letter of Instruction. JustFund will advance funds for your legal expenses until your matter settles.

When your matter concludes, repay your loan from what you receive from your property settlement.

Frequently Asked Questions

At settlement of your matter, you will be required to repay the funds you’ve used, plus:

  • An assessment and administration fee. This fee starts from $590 for credit lines up to $15,000. You do not pay this fee upfront. It is repaid at settlement.
  • A monthly fee of $49 per month. You do not pay this fee each month. It is repaid in lump sum at settlement.
  • Interest – variable rate. Interest is repaid at settlement and does not compound. Interest is calculated on the total drawn balance from the date of the funding agreement, based on what the interest rate is at the time.

Property matters and parenting matters that are connected to a property matter. Unfortunately, parenting matters on their own cannot be funded through JustFund.

There is no maximum amount you can borrow. The minimum loan amount is $5,000.

You only pay back the amount you used for your legal matter. 

Taking security is not always a requirement. JustFund will assess security requirements on a case-by-case basis. Funding can still be provided if you’re not on property title.

For further information on applying for a JustFund loan for a family law matter, you can contact JustFund by calling 1300 644 980 or visiting www.justfund.com.au

Urgent! You need to update your Will and Enduring Power of Attorney and review your estate planning if you have recently separated from your spouse.

After you  have separated from your former spouse, it is very important to review your estate planning :

  • Your Will needs to be changed immediately. If you fail to do so, your ex-spouse may inherit everything if you pass away;
  • If you have an existing Enduring Power of Attorney to your spouse, you must revoke it and replace it with a new one;
  • Review any jointly-owned property or bank accounts and sever the joint tenancy for property. Bank accounts should be split into individual accounts as soon as possible;
  • Change any binding nominations in your superannuation or death cover (life insurance) policies and/or Self-Managed Superannuation Funds;
  • Check on the control of any business entities, such as companies and trusts, to see if any assets need protection from being transferred or sold.


Book an appointment
with our Gold Coast divorce lawyers today to ensure your most important legal affairs reflect your current circumstances. 

Contact our Department Manager

Book an appointment today with our experienced team at our Robina Town Centre, Southport, Coolangatta, or Kingscliff offices.

Donna

Tolley

Message our Department Manager, Donna