The Top 5 Family Law Myths

Family law disputes can be emotional, confusing, and stressful. Unfortunately, personal anecdotes or advice from friends and family can make the family law process even harder. Whilst given with good intentions, this ‘backyard’ advice can lead to many misconceptions and can make it difficult to decipher between fact and fiction.

Ward Keller is passionate about guiding our clients through their family law matter with practical, accurate and sensitive advice. Here we break down some of the most common myths our team has heard during our combined 30 years’ experience.

Myth 1: I automatically get 50% of the assets, right?

Wrong. In Australia, there is no presumption that you and your former spouse will each receive 50% of the property pool when you separate. Being in a marriage or de-facto relationship with someone does not automatically mean you are entitled to half of their assets. Every matter is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

A family law property settlement must be ‘just and equitable’. When considering what outcome is just and equitable, we look at the following:

  1. The assets, liabilities, and superannuation of the parties.
  2. The contributions of the parties at the beginning of the relationship and during the relationship.
  3. The future needs of the parties; and
  4. Whether the proposed percentage split is just and equitable when having regard to these factors.

The more informed you are about how these factors can influence your property settlement, the better equipped you will be to achieve the best outcome for you.

Myth 2: I have a right to see my kids.

Under the Family Law Act 1975, parents do not have a right to see their children. Parents also do not have any legal ‘custody’ over their children. Instead, children have a right to a meaningful relationship with their parents, so long as that is what is in the best interests of the children.

Ultimately, the best interests of the children is the Court’s paramount consideration.

Myth 3: I worked while my partner was a stay-at-home parent, so I should get everything.

This is untrue. In fact, the Court equally considers all of the parties’ financial and non-financial contributions, including parenting and homemaking. Generally, if you were the breadwinner in the relationship while your partner was the carer of the children, their non-financial contributions will be given equal weight to your financial contributions.

Myth 5: Lawyers are expensive, and I don’t need one.

Separation does not need to be expensive and engaging a lawyer does not mean you and your former spouse will be going to Court. The family law system has continued to evolve to focus heavily on resolving disputes without the need for costly litigation. In fact, approximately 97% of family law matters will settle before going to trial.

However, family law can also be emotional, stressful, and complex. A lawyer can help you to understand your rights and obligations and guide you through this difficult time. Good lawyers will also prioritise resolving your matter outside of Court and will advocate for you to achieve the best results possible.

Ward Keller’s dedicated family law team are passionate about resolving your family disputes quickly, with compassion and understanding. We also know that certainty about your legal costs is important, so we provide a fixed fee service for all family law matters with an up-front costs outline to give you peace of mind.

We also understand how significant a face-to-face appointment can be, so we also operate out of offices in Katherine and Alice Springs. If you would like to make an appointment for an initial consultation, please contact our team on 08 8946 2936 or 08 8952 4200, or make a start online using our sophisticated online system.

For more information on our family law services please click the following link to see our family law page:

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