Family Law

Divorce And Property

When You Need A Divorce Lawyer, We Are Here To Help

We are experienced divorce lawyers based on the Northern Beaches. We understand that a divorce and separation are a difficult time. Let us help you and your children through your separation, divorce and property matters.


In Australia, there is no need to provide any reasons for divorce other than that the relationship has broken down irretrievably. If you’ve been separated for more than 12 months the court takes this as evidence of the fact, and even if you still live under the same roof you can still obtain a divorce provided you swear to the separation in your divorce application.

What Do I Need To Apply?

You will need your marriage certificate, identification, and proof of citizenship (if you were not born in Australia).

What About The Children?

The court needs to be satisfied that your children are being taken care of before a divorce will be granted, but will not expect that you have a formal agreement in place in regard to child custody.

What About Property?

You may be able to reach agreement with your ex-partner without having to go to Court. However, bear in mind that if you can’t reach agreement, a formal application for property orders must be lodged within 12 months of your divorce becoming final.

How Long Does It Take?

When you lodge your application the court will advise the date of the hearing, usually within 2 – 3 months. The hearing is not long and you may not need to attend. The divorce order becomes final in one month and one day from the date of the hearing, provided it is granted.

You can access more information on the Court’s website at

Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer in Mona Vale, NSW.


Do I Have To Be Divorced To Split The Property?

As soon as you have separated you can make arrangements to split your property and debts between you and your ex partner, you do not have to wait until you are divorced.

Do We Have To Go To Court?

No, not at all. If you have already agreed on how things should be divided between you, your lawyer can draw up the document which will finalise the arrangements, and then get underway the legal processes which will split the assets.

What If We Can’t Agree?

There is an established process in cases where there is disagreement over how property should be split. Firstly the court needs to be satisfied that you have attempted to reach agreement, and to this end you will be ordered to participate in dispute resolution.

If this doesn’t resolve the matter then an application for property orders must be filed with the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court. This application must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final. The matter will be set down for hearing and a legally binding decision will be made by the court.

How Does The Court Decide?

Firstly the court will calculate the total assets owned by both parties, including property, shares, cars, jewellery, savings, furniture etc. This includes things you brought into the relationship, those acquired during the relationship and also those purchased after separation.

Next the court will weigh up the contributions from both parties, including financial, non-financial, inheritances and assets brought into the relationship. Then the court will look at the future needs of both parties, including factors such as your capacity to earn money and your parental responsibilities. Lastly the court will make a decision based on what is just and equitable to both parties.

We Can Help

Dealing with the complexities of property settlement is stressful but the consequences of not doing it properly can impact on the rest of your life. We are experienced negotiators, and will make sure that you get the best possible outcome.

Contact us to discuss your particular situation with an experienced family lawyer in Mona Vale, NSW.

Family Law

A marriage breakdown is a challenging time, especially when children are involved. Even if you know the choice to divorce is right for you, you want to ensure your children’s rights are protected. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced, understanding lawyer on your side, one who can negotiate the best outcome for you and your children.

We have been providing family law services for over 10 years throughout Sydney. Our lawyers are skilled negotiators, and where possible we endeavor to settle disputes outside of court. We do our best to save you time, money and stress.

Our family law experience includes:

  • Divorce and nullity proceedings
  • Pre-nuptial and separation agreements
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Property and financial settlements
  • Child support and enforcement of payments
  • Parenting plans for child custody and visitation
  • Guardianship of children
  • Adoption
  • Paternity/parentage issues
  • Domestic and family violence and Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)
  • Family mediation
  • Same sex relationships
  • De facto relationships
  • Hague Convention child recovery proceedings

We take a simple approach in our practice: client focus, expert advice, and best outcomes.

To find out what we can do for you, contact us today for a confidential consultation with one of our friendly family lawyers in Mona Vale, NSW.

Hague Convention Child Recovery

The Speed With Which Proceedings Under The Hague Child Abduction Convention Can Be A Surprise To Many Parents And Lawyers That Are Not Experienced In The Application Of The Hague Child Abduction Convention.

Carter O’Neill can assist you with their expertise in handling matters involving child recovery under the Convention.

What Is A Hague Convention Case?

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty under which arrangements are made for the return of children who have been wrongfully removed from or retained outside their country of habitual residence.

The Convention sets up a central authority in each signature country to deal with applications for the return of children taken to or from each country. The Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department is the central authority for Australia.

Principles, Aims And Conditions

A Hague matter is not a private family law matter and the Court does not have to consider “the best interests of the child”.

The Hague Convention operates on the guiding principles that:

  • The child’s welfare is best protected by a rapid response to a parent having removed a child from their country of habitual residence, and
  • Child abduction in general must be prevented.

The Convention aims to:

  • Secure the prompt return of a child wrongfully removed to or retained in a country which is party to the Convention (‘contracting state’) to the country (‘state’) of habitual residence
  • Ensure that rights of custody and/or access of the state of origin are respected, with judgement on the custody to be rendered in that country, on the assumption that the court in the country of habitual residence is best able to make decision for the child, and
  • Ensure the relevant court in the country of habitual residence is best able to make decisions for the children.

The Convention operates under the following specific conditions:

  • It applies only between contracting states, and so only has force where both countries are signatories to the Convention
  • It applies only to matters where the subject child is under the age of 16. Proceedings under the Convention cease on the day a child turns 16, and
  • The child must have habitually resided in a contracting state directly before rights of custody or access were breached.

If your child has been abducted or is at risk, contact us today for a confidential consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers in Mona Vale, NSW.