Beware of Family Lawyers offering Free Initial Consultations
26 November 2014
Have you come across the recent advertising from Family Lawyers offering “free initial consultations”?
Have you stopped to think why those lawyers are doing that?
You will usually find that the initial consultation is “free” because that is the only way in which such lawyers can attract new clients. Many of the law firms offering free advice will have their most junior inexperienced staff doing the job. Some of the law firms will be very recent entrants into the field of Family Law keen to get a foothold into the Family Law market place keen to get new clients in the door. Have a look at the websites of some of the new law firms trying to win your business. There are many claims as to expertise in the field of Family Law but no reference to the actual lawyer, the real person, who will be acting as your lawyer. Is this because the actual lawyer is fresh out of law school with no real world experience with real clients?
Some Law Firms will only provide Family Law services on a Fixed Fee basis- that is why the initial consultation is seemingly “free”- you will find that the fixed fee to be charged for future work will incorporate a hefty charge for the initial consultation which the firm was reticent to tell you about up-front!
The Family Law Practice of Melbourne Family Lawyers has been running since 1985. All of our Family Lawyers are experienced Family Lawyers with a minimum of 20 years practice experience. Our two most Senior Lawyers, Silvio Auditore and Amanda Francis, are both Family Law Specialists Accredited by the Law Institute of Victoria and have been practising in Family Law for over 30 years. You can rely on obtaining the best family law advice from Melbourne Family Lawyers first up at your initial consultation- we know what we are doing and we will give you straightforward reliable advice to help you through a difficult time and answer all of your questions. It’s worth paying for!
When booking your initial consultation, you will usually first speak to Silvio Auditore, the Director of the Practice. Silvio will decide which of our lawyers is best suited to look after you and arrange a time for your initial consultation which is scheduled for one hour. We will also confirm the fee payable for your initial consultation.
At the conclusion of your initial consultation, Melbourne Family Lawyers will also tell you what legal costs you can expect to pay for future work. We will give you a range of estimated legal costs for each relevant stage of your case. If you prefer to pay fixed fees so as to be absolutely sure of what it will cost you, we can also arrange that.
Call us now and help us put your mind at ease.
When Can I make a Claim for Property Settlement as a De Facto Partner?
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In Australia, the Family Law relating to De Facto partners is substantially the same as the law relating to people who are legally married. The Family Law Act covers married people and de facto couples, including those in homosexual relationships.
Recognition of Foreign Marriages and Same-Sex Divorces in Australia
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We are often asked about whether Marriages which originated outside Australia are recognised under the Family Law of Australia.
Defending an Intervention Order in Victoria
25 January 2017 -
An Intervention Order is a Court Order which is made by a Magistrate in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria against a person (the Respondent) who has committed family violence against a family member (the Aggrieved Family Member).
Can I apply for a Divorce if I am no longer living in Australia?
5 October 2016 -
Melbourne Family Lawyers represents many clients who do not live in Australia. If you are living overseas, we can still represent you and apply for a Divorce in Australia under certain circumstances.
When should I apply for a Family Law Property Settlement?
18 August 2016 -
The only legal rules about when you should apply for a Family Law property settlement are concerning how late you can apply. People in a De Facto relationship have up to two years after separation. Married people have up to one year following the Divorce. Contrary to a popular belief, you do not have to wait until you are divorced to have a property settlement.
Can I move with my child to live in a different suburb or outside of Melbourne without the other parent’s consent?
20 July 2016 -
Some of the most frequent questions asked by clients of Melbourne Family Lawyers are concerning the issue of whether the client is allowed to take a child to live somewhere else, be that within Australia or overseas.
Melbourne Family Court allows Mother and Child’s Relocation to USA
21 June 2016 -
In January 2015, our client, 30 year old USA citizen Miranda (not her real name) was referred to Melbourne Family Lawyers by United States Embassy staff in Melbourne, as her marriage to her 35 yo Australian Husband, Bruce (not his real name) had broken down. Miranda’s legal problem was that she wanted to return home to the United States, with her 3 year old daughter, but her Husband objected to such an arrangement.
When is Spousal Maintenance Payable?
31 August 2015 -
Spousal Maintenance (also called alimony in some countries) may be payable in Australia by one spouse (or de-facto partner) to the other under some circumstances pursuant to the provisions of the Family Law Act.
The Best Family Law Advice from Melbourne Family Lawyers
20 July 2015 -
At Melbourne Family Lawyers, we don’t offer a “free” first consultation and use it to market our services to you. The first meeting with one of our lawyers is scheduled for one hour because we know it will take a bit of time to listen to your story so that we can understand your situation and what is important to you and what you would like to achieve.
When should I apply for a Divorce?
22 April 2015 -
A Divorce Order provides legal recognition of the fact that that you are no longer married. Upon a Divorce Order becoming final, you are legally free to re-marry should you wish to do so. In order to apply for a Divorce, you must firstly be separated for at least one year.
Is my Spouse entitled to a share of my Superannuation if I separate?
20 January 2015 -
In a Family Law Property Settlement, Superannuation is always taken into account when considering a division of property between spouses (including de facto or same-sex partners). These days, most people have Superannuation entitlements. Whilst those Superannuation entitlements may not be readily accessible now if you are below retirement age, they will make a difference to your financial situation when you do retire.
If I win Tatts Lotto, do I have to share the winnings with my ex spouse?
10 December 2014 -
This question sometimes arises in family law property settlement cases- and the answer will depend on the exact circumstances. As is usual in family law cases, there are many possible scenarios and many different possible results. Let’s consider a few examples.
Do I get to keep my inheritance in a Family Law Property Settlement?
30 October 2014 -
It is important to remember that every Family Law Property Settlement case is different and will be decided in accordance with the guiding principles in the Family Law Act and the case law arising from past decisions of the Family Law Courts. This article summarises some of those guiding principles.
Why Mediation can be better than going to Court
25 August 2014 -
Mediation (also referred to as Family Dispute Resolution) is a process (outside of the Court Litigation process) in which an independent Mediator helps people affected by separation or divorce to resolve some or all of their disputes with each other. It is one of the ways in which an “out of court settlement” can be achieved even in difficult, complex or emotionally charged cases.
The Question: How much overnight time should a child spend with the other parent?
30 June 2014 -
This is a question clients often posed to Family Lawyers and Family Law Court judges. Whilst each parent may have a different personal (often rigid) opinion, what do the experts have to say about this?
How much overnight time should a child spend with the other parent?
23 June 2014 -
It used to be the case that “expert opinion” was that children under three were considered to have a primary attachment with their primary carer (often the mother) and it was best for them to spend most of their time with the parent with whom they had the primary attachment. The other parent was encouraged to have regular but frequent contact of a few hours once or twice a week. Amendments to the Family Law Act in 2006 were enacted to promote the following objectives to guarantee that the best interests of children are met.
Winning International Child Custody Cases
8 May 2014 -
At Melbourne Family Lawyers, we like to win the Court Cases which cannot be settled out of Court! This year we have had great success in running (and winning) two cases in the Federal Circuit Court involving young mothers wanting to return to their overseas country of origin with their young children. These cases needed to be decided by a Judge as the children’s parents could not come to an agreement as to with whom, or where, the child should live.
Achieving a Family Law Property Settlement with a “Bully” Spouse
27 February 2014 -
Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person- and this is often a problem in marriage or relationship breakdown situations.
How to Achieve a Fair Family Law Property Settlement?
6 January 2014 -
Achieving a fair Family Law Property Settlement is the aim of most people who end up separating, but what is fair? It is very difficult for a person to work out what is fair when going through the emotional turmoil of a separation. An experienced Family Lawyer can help you.
Choosing the best Family Lawyers – Is it worth travelling to Melbourne?
26 November 2013 -
Many people believe that it is not worth the hassle of coming into Melbourne to get advice from a Specialist Family Lawyer. There are good reasons why Melbourne Family Lawyers is located in William Street Melbourne (adjacent to the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia).
What to Expect from a Family Lawyer
8 November 2013 -
A Family Lawyer will advise you as to his or her opinion as to where you stand when applying the applicable Family Law to your particular situation. However, a Family Lawyer will never be able to provide you with a definitive outcome in your case as the outcome of your case will depend on the following.
Defending a Family Law Property Settlement Case in Melbourne Family Law Courts
14 October 2013 -
If you receive an Initiating Application which is to be heard in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, you are entitled to put your position to the Court by filing a Response together with other court documents required under the Family Law Rules. Those other documents may include sworn Affidavits and/or a Financial Statement (for property settlement or maintenance cases).
How do I settle my Family Law Custody Dispute in Melbourne if I am overseas or interstate?
22 July 2013 -
The Family Law Courts in Melbourne (being the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia) have jurisdiction to determine a Family Law dispute if at least one of the parties to the dispute is either.
How do you Change existing Child Custody and Contact Orders (Parenting Orders) in Australia?
25 June 2013 -
As children grow older and relationships change, a previously made Court Order concerning the arrangements for the care of a child or children may no longer be appropriate. However, the Court Order remains in force until one (or both) of the parties to the court order initiate legal action to legally change it. If both agree, whilst it is possible to informally change the ongoing care arrangements for children without changing the court orders, it may lead to problems should someone later change his/her mind. It is usually better to legally formalise child arrangements with court orders.
Family Violence Safety Notices and Intervention Orders under the Family Violence Protection Act Victoria
23 May 2013 -
In Victoria, legal protection is available for family members and their associates who need protection from a family member who is subjecting them to family violence. Family violence has a broad legal definition which includes abuse which is physical, sexual, emotional, threatening, economically abusive, or, in any other way controls or dominates the family member and causes that family member to feel fear for his/her safety.
Which Family Law Court in Melbourne?
8 April 2013 -
Clients are sometimes confused about which Family Law Court is appropriate to hear their case in Melbourne. This is understandable as there are three separate courts on the same street in Melbourne which have jurisdiction on Family Law related issues.
How long does it take to get a Divorce in Melbourne?
1 April 2013 -
Applying for a Divorce in Melbourne is a fairly quick process and, if handled efficiently, can be completed within three or so months of filing your Divorce Application with the Court in Melbourne. There are certain requirements before you are legally allowed to file your Divorce Application, these are:
Achieving a Fair Family Law Settlement for De Facto and Same Sex Couples in Victoria
15 March 2013 -
The Family Law in Victoria is now almost exclusively governed by the Family Law Act (Commonwealth) whether you are married, or in a de facto or same sex relationship. The State of Victoria previously had the power to make laws concerning couples who were not married, but referred those powers to the Commonwealth Government in 2009.
Can I move out of Victoria without a Family Law Court Order?
1 March 2013 -
Whether you are allowed to move out of your current home to a new place depends on a number of factors.
Can I apply for a Divorce in Australia if I was married overseas?
1 February 2013 -
An Australian Court has the jurisdiction to grant a Divorce if you were married outside of Australia, as long as at least one of the following pre-conditions apply:
Finding the Best Family Law Firm in Melbourne
15 January 2013 -
So your spouse has just announced, "It's over!" and you need to find a law firm to help guide you through one of the most stressful situations you are going to face. Where do you start? Do you go back to your local conveyancing law firm who looked after the purchase of your home?
Why are there more Intervention Orders in the Melbourne Magistrates Court?
14 December 2012 -
Over the past years, there has been a great increase in the number of Court Applications made to the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for the granting of Intervention Orders under Victoria’s Family Violence legislation. There may be a number of reasons for this.
Social Networks - a Divorce Lawyer’s Nightmare or Dream- depending whose side you are on!
11 April 2012 -
Watch Out- Social Networks- A Divorce Lawyers Nightmare (or Dream) What you say on FaceBook or Twitter may well end up as evidence in the Family Law Courts!
12 March 2012 -
Section 61DA of the Family Law Act requires a Court, when making a parenting order in relation to a child, to apply a presumption that it is in the best interests of the child for the child's parents to have equal shared parenting responsibility for the child.
Collaborative Family Lawyers - What Women (and Men) Want!
10 August 2011 -
Marriage is a strange phenomenon that happens to human beings. And the best part is, both the unmarried and the married are unhappy, though for radically opposite reasons, one for not being married, and the other for being married.
Finding out with Family Law: Parentage Tests
14 January 2011 -
Parentage tests determining the parent of the child may be needed for Family Law Lawyer matters such as child support payments, custody, access, inheritance and adoption. But with these matters, more matters arise including questions about processes and legal requirements.
Family Court Stops Mother Taking Children Overseas to live
30 July 2010 -
In the case of Cowley and Mendoza decided in the Family Court of Australia in July 2010, a mother of two young children aged 3 and 5 was refused permission to take those children back to her home-land of Brazil. The father was an Australian and he had met the mother whilst on a back-packing holiday.
It's Not Just a "New Mistress Law": Family Law Act Now Applies to De Facto Marriage and Same-Sex Relationships
15 April 2009 -
On 1 March 2009, new Commonwealth laws for spousal maintenance and the division of property for people in de facto relationships came into force. The Commonwealth Family Law Act 1975 now applies to both married and de facto couples as well as same-sex couples. Previously, de-facto relationships were covered by State Laws and disputes between de-facto couples were determined by State Courts such as the Supreme Court and County Court- Such disputes are now within the jurisdiction of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Magistrates Court, as are disputes concerning children of all relationships.
Family Court Pre Action Procedures
9 March 2009 -
Family Law Disclosure Rules
22 January 2009 -
A direct extract from Family Law Rules- Parts 13.1 and 13.2
Talk to us now for advice about your situation by phoning (+61) 03 9670 9677