Domestic Defences – A Guide to Family Law

Family law involves areas including, marriage, divorce, adoption and child custody. Family lawyers practice in all areas that encompass family relationships, and assist families in resolving their relationship issues, in specialised family law courts or mediation settings.

A Family Lawyer in Melbourne will help their clients achieve safe and child-focused solutions to family disputes. This area of practice aims to achieve resolution to common issues, without having to resort to costly litigation that can be disruptive to children. If you are currently involved in a family dispute, read on to find a simple guide to the key areas of family law.

Key Practice Areas 

After a separation there are key and immediate decisions that must be made between you and your former partner. Often it can be difficult to agree on these issues, during the tumultuous period of separation. Family lawyers are therefore utilised in order to make these decisions in the best interests of any children, or the wider family unit.

Community based services and Family Relationship Centres can help you reach agreement on important decisions including:

  • Who will remain in the house
  • How you will pay outstanding bills and debts
  • Closing any joint bank accounts
  • Where your children will live and who will take care of them.


You are able to apply for a divorce in Australia if you are able to satisfy the court that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months, and there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life. Seeking legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities before applying for a divorce, is essential in order to protect your assets and achieve a fair divorce settlement.

The legal divorce process does not include deciding issues about future arrangements of children, property and maintenance. It is therefore important for both sides to consult with a family lawyer, in order to reach a fair and equitable agreement. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, you can seek orders from the court.

Child Support 

Child support is concerned with ensuring that children with separated parents are financially supported. Family lawyers will work towards a fair and equitable payment of financial support, if a separated person is unable to support themselves. A fair distribution of assets and payment between separated parents, ensures that both parents are contributing financially to the child’s upbringing.

Family Dispute Resolution

Family lawyers understand that family disputes must be handled differently to other legal disagreements. Family lawyers therefore assist separated families in meeting the interests and needs of their children.

In order to achieve outcomes that can unite feuding families, rather than causing further separation, family lawyers employ a range of dispute resolution techniques. Family lawyers aim to avoid litigation processes that can be devastating to the broader family unit. Mediation, counselling and other resolution mechanisms, are therefore popular in this area of law.

Family Violence

Family lawyers provide legal information, advice and representation to adults and children that have been affected by family violence. Family violence issues will often need to be resolved in either the Family Law Courts, the Children’s Court and the Magistrates Court in order to impose sentences or other orders against the offending family member.


Family disputes can be incredibly stressful, time consuming and emotional experiences for affected families. Fortunately, with the help of family lawyers, it is possible to resolve these issues in the best interests of any children and the family unit as a whole. If you are currently experiencing a family law issues, speak to an experienced and trusted practitioner to begin the resolution process.