What can I expect from a first client appointment?

All new clients are entitled to a free 30-minute consultation.

In your initial appointment, we want to understand your circumstances and what is important for you to achieve both in the short term and the long term. Our solicitors will provide you with guidance and an overview of the relevant laws and how they might apply to your matter.

During the first appointment our solicitors will provide you with options that can be taken to resolve your matter. Such options may include lawyer based negotiation, mediation, collaborative practice or litigation.

In our first client appointments, we strive to give you direction and options to you so that you leave your first appointment with a sense of clarity and the next step forward and estimated costs.

How long will it take to resolve my matter? (Time frames court process vs mediation etc?)

Time frames can vary greatly depending on the complexity and nature of your matter, and also the process through which you choose to resolve it.

Most dispute resolution processes assist in the resolution of a matter faster than those in the litigation process. Each matter is different and depends on a number of variables that are outside of your control and the control of your solicitor.

Going to court is generally a very lengthy process and can take years for a matter to be resolved. After filing an initiating application, it can take 3-4 months to get a first return date. You may appear before the Court on a number of occasions before getting a Final Hearing which, based on the Canberra Registry, can be up to a 2 year wait. There may be a further delay in receiving a decision from the Judge after a Final Hearing.

What are the costs?

During your first appointment, we will provide you with an estimate of our fees for our different services. We endeavour to keep you up to date with our estimate of costs during the course of your matter.  We will always be upfront and open about our fees and ensure that you understand the costs involved. Please feel free to contact us to discuss our costs further.

When can I get divorced?
You must be separated from your partner for a period of 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. You can be classified as separated even if you live under the same roof. Usually a verbal acknowledgement of separation between you and your partner is sufficient.
Are there time limits to getting a property settlement?
The maximum time limit to file an application for a property settlement after the breakdown of a marriage is 12 months after the date of your divorce and 2 years from the date of a breakdown of a de facto relationship. However, there may be an opportunity to seek an extension of the time limit in some circumstances or spouse maintenance. We encourage you to discuss this with us as early as possible.
When do I need to update my Will?

It is important that you regularly keep your will updated to ensure that it can be properly administered when necessary. It may be time to update your will:

  • When there are major changes in relationships such as separation, divorce, marriage, etc.
  • If an executor of your will has died or has become unwell.
  • If you have recently disposed or acquired new assets such as buying a new home.
  • If your family has grown, such as new born children.

As a general rule of thumb, you should review your Will at least every 3 years and update it as necessary.

Should I use mediation practice?

In the absence of an emergency, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia requires parties to attend mediation pursuant to Pre Action Procedures, prior to commencing litigation.  Mediation is an appropriate option in most matters.

Can I use an ACT lawyer to get family law advice if I am living outside the ACT?