Nolans has a highly responsive and approachable family law team. Our team provides service in all areas of family law including custody, protection orders, relationship property and personal welfare. The times you need a family lawyer can be stressful and emotional and we'll be there to walk you through the process.

We also provide the following ancillary services:

  • Child Custody. 
  • Relationship Property Agreements. 
  • Contracting Out Agreements. 
  • Matrimonial Agreements. 
  • Care of Children. 
  • Protection Orders. 
  • Adoption. 
  • Paternity. 
  • Marital Separation, divorce or de facto. 

How long do I have to wait until I can get divorced?

A divorce (or dissolution of marriage) can be applied for once you have been separated from your spouse or civil union partner for 2 years. 

Either party can apply to the Family Court to get an order to dissolve the marriage or civil union.

What is involved in getting divorced?

After being separated for 2 years an application can be made to the Family Court to dissolve a marriage or civil union. Making a joint application is the most cost effective method but an application by one person can also be made. 

You will also need to pay a filing fee.

Are there ways I can protect myself (and children) if my partner is violent?

Protection orders under the Family Violence Act 2018 are available where you are in a situation where a partner is violent.  Family violence includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse or violence. An application can be made to the Family Court which prohibits that person from making contact with you for the period of the order. 

We can assist with that application.

What happens if a parenting order is breached?

If there are continued breaches of a parenting order, an application to the family court can be made, to ensure that breaches do not continue.

What is the difference between day to day care and guardianship?

Both parents of a child automatically become its guardian. That entitles them to made decisions about the child’s upbringing, for example what school the child should go to or what medical treatments the child should be given.  Day to day care relates to having cared that child on a daily basis. 

You can have the ability to make guardianship decisions for a child without having day to day care.

Can I get legal aid for family related matters?

Depending on your income you can get legal aid for family matters. 

We can advise you on your eligibility and assist you with your application for legal aid.

How do I get custody of a child?

Custody (known as day to day care) can be sought as part of a parenting order. This means that you will have the day to day care (either sole or in conjunction with others) of the child. 

The court needs to be satisfied that any care arrangements reached are in the best interest of the child or children.

How do I get a pre-nup or contracting out agreement?

A contracting out agreement (also known as a pre-nup) under the Property Relationships Act allows you and your partner to agree how you will divide assets on separation before that happens. 

You don’t need to be married to have a contracting out agreement but there are strict rules about ensuring that you both get independent advice before you sign an agreement.  In an agreement you can agree that assets be divvied on separation in a way that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t have the agreement. 

For example if you have a house before you go into a new relationship, if that is the house you both reside in, that house becomes subject to equal sharing on separation. If you don’t want that to happen a contracting out agreement is a good option. 

Some people thing that if the house is in a trust that will protect it but that is not the case and the best protection is a contracting out agreement.

What happens if my ex wants to relocate to another city or country with our children?

Where a child lives is a guardianship decision which both parents need to make. If both parents are unable to agree on a relocation, the parent seeking to relocate, can make an application to the family court to move the children. The court will consider what is in the best interests of the children and make a decision on that basis. 

There is usually a strong preference against relocation particularly is access to the other parent is likely to be made more difficult as a result.

How does the court assist with care arrangements of my children?

The court can assist with decisions which the parents of children are unable to agree on. Many of these decisions will require the assistance of a family lawyer who can assist with the applications and ensuring that there is sufficient evidence before the court to allow the order to be made.

How do I protect my assets against claims from future partners?

There are a number of ways to protect your assets from future partners, but the best way is to entere into a contracting out agreement when you enter a new relationship. Under the Property  Relationships Act you and your partner can agree who gets what if you break up.  

You both need to get legal advice before you sign a contracting out agreement.


Julie Mettrick


Tayla Coburn
Sapphire Petrie-McVean
Katie Ross