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Over 15 Years Experience
in Family Law*
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Focused on getting the quickest and best resolution for you

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Resolving a family law case? Focus on moving on with your life without the added stress of upfront legal fees.

We Can Help You Reach A Fair Resolution

You have, or your partner has, commenced property and child-related proceedings in the Family Court already. You may be representing yourself, or you may have a lawyer but are seeking a second opinion. Regardless of which stage of the court proceedings you find yourself at, we can provide you with guidance, advice and legal representation.

How To Fairly Divide The Assets Of The Relationship?

Unlike in other countries, the division of the assets and liabilities of a relationship in Australia is not automatically 50/50.

Family lawyers and the Family Court use a four-stage process for determining the division of assets and liabilities.

The first stage is determining the net asset pool. This means:

  • Tallying up all the assets of the relationship – i.e. your assets, your partner’s assets, and jointly owned assets, if any.
  • Tallying up all the liabilities of the relationship – i.e. your liabilities, your partner’s liabilities, and joint liabilities and debts, if any..
  • Subtracting the total value of all liabilities from the total value of all assets, to determine the value of the net asset pool.

The second stage involves determining each party’s contributions, specifically: contributions at the commencement of cohabitation, or what are known as initial contributions; commencements during the relationship; and commencements since the date of separation.

There are three types of contributions:

  • Financial contributions. These include things such as lump sum payments (e.g. paying the deposit on a house), and ongoing payments for things like home loan repayments, utility bills and groceries.
  • Homemaker and parent contributions. This means raising children under 18, and various homemaker tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing and gardening.
  • Non-financial contributions. This means contributions that are neither financial contributions nor homemaker and parent contributions. Examples include undertaking renovations and improvements to the family home, or working in a spouse’s business for no wages.

Based on each party’s contributions, the Family Court or a family lawyer will determine an appropriate percentage division of the net assets of the relationship.

The third stage involves determining what each person’s needs will be after the end of the relationship. These are commonly referred to as “future needs” factors. “Future needs” factors include things such as: a person’s age and health; a person’s income, earning capacity and financial resources; care of children under 18; and whether a person is receiving child support.

If one party has greater future needs than the other, they will get a percentage adjustment in their favour.

For example, a percentage division of net assets based on the parties’ contributions might be 50/50. However, the wife may then get a 10% adjustment in her favour, because she has greater future needs than the husband. This would result in a final percentage division of net assets of 60/40 in favour of the wife.

The fourth and final stage of this four-stage process is to make sure that the proposed percentage division of net assets is just and equitable. This is because the Family Court has a duty to make property and financial orders that are just and equitable.

We can help you understand what a fair division of net assets looks like in your situation.

The Family Court’s paramount consideration when determining parenting arrangements for children under 18 is the best interests of the child.

The Family Law Act 1975 sets out two primary considerations when determining a child’s best interests, as well as various additional considerations.

The two primary considerations are:

  • The benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both parents.
  • The need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.

Additional considerations include the following: a child’s views and how much weight should be attached to those views; the extent to which a parent has taken, or failed to take, the opportunity to spend time with the child; the extent to which a parent has fulfilled, or failed to fulfil, their obligations to maintain the child; and the capacity of a parent to provide for a child’s emotional and intellectual needs.

How Your Case Could Settle

SETTLING A PROPERTY CASE IN THE FAMILY COURT

The fact that you are in the Family Court does not mean that your matter cannot or will not settle. The good news is that the vast majority of cases in the Family Court settle before they ever get to a final hearing or trial. The Family Court also actively encourages the parties to reach a resolution before they reach the trial stage.

In a property case, one very important court event is the Conciliation Conference. This is the Family Court of WA’s one and only attempt to mediate the property dispute between you and your ex-partner. Conciliation Conferences are often successful in helping the parties reach a final agreement.

A Conciliation Conference is essentially a mediation-style conference with a Family Court Registrar or Magistrate, who does their best to encourage the parties to reach an agreement and avoid further court proceedings. It involves sitting in a conference room with your ex-partner and your lawyer (if you have one). The court normally allocates about 2 hours for a Conciliation Conference. If the parties reach an agreement, then the lawyers can draw up your agreement in a document called a Minute of Consent Orders.

The fact that you are in the Family Court does not mean that your matter cannot or will not settle. The good news is that the vast majority of cases in the Family Court settle before they ever get to a final hearing or trial.

You and your ex-partner can reach an agreement at any time during the child-related proceedings. For example, you and your partner might come to an agreement after an interim hearing, or after the release of the Single Expert Witness’s report.

You and your partner can formalize your agreement by filing a Minute of Consent Orders in the Family Court.

What To Do NEXT

1.

Call Us For Free
Initial Discussion

Call us to have an initial free discussion.

2.

Meet With A
Lawyer

Have a meeting with a family lawyer discuss your rights and make a plan forward.

3.

We Help You With The legal Proceedings

We attend all court hearings and read all court orders carefully, so you can comply with the orders and meet all court deadlines for filing documents and performing other tasks.

4.

We Help You Get To A Settlement

We always explore options for settlement, as the vast majority of cases in the Family Court of WA settle before they ever get to a trial.

5 BenefitS of Getting Legal Advice Early

1.

Speaking to an experienced family lawyer is often the first step to get clarity about your rights, your options, and what to do next.

2.

We have a wealth of experience representing people in your situation at Family Court hearings and conferences. We are familiar with most of the judges, magistrates and registrars at the Family Court of WA, how they operate, what they look for, and how best to present your case to them.

3.

The Family Court process can be stressful and confusing. There is also a lot of paperwork involved. We can help demystify the process for you and also help you understand all the various court forms and documents you are likely to come across.

4.

The good news is that most cases in the Family Court of WA settle before they ever get to a final hearing or trial. As experienced negotiators, we can help you negotiate a final settlement with your ex-partner or ex-partner’s lawyer. Our priority is always to solve problems and reduce conflict, rather than escalate it.

5.

A good family lawyer is child-focused and committed not just to ensuring the best possible outcome for you, but more importantly, the best possible outcome for your children. “Child-focused” means focusing on what is in the best interests of the children, rather than on the best interests of other people such as the parents or grandparents.

You Are In Experienced Hands

Jeff Hewitt is head of MKI Legal’s family law team. Jeff is a senior family lawyer with over 15 years’ experience.

Jeff practises exclusively in family law, and has extensive experience in property and financial matters, parenting and childern’s matters, de factor property matters, family law matters affecting same sex couples, superannuation splitting, spousal maintenance, divorce, child support, child support agreements, binding financial agreements, and consent orders.

Jeff is an experienced nefotiator who takes great pride in resolving disputes and keeping people out of court as much as possible.

In his spare time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, reading, meditation, and supporting his beloved footy team.

Jeff is a member of the Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Western Australia.

What Our Clients Say About Us

CHLOE

I've followed everything you've said and it's worked so far, so thank you"

Family law client of MKI Legal

SHARON

Thank you again for being amazing. You go above and beyond for people and that is a rare quality to find in someone these days."

Family law client of MKI Legal

REBECCA

THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the hard work and being the only lawyer in the room with a clue. It still hasn't hit home that it is so close to being over and we are nearly there... Thank you again, Thursday was life changing.

Family law client of MKI Legal

Get IN TOUCH

Suite 1, Level 4, 200 Adelaide Terrace EAST PERTH WA 6004

info@mkilegal.com.au

(08) 9470 2777