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family and relationships

Child Custody Lawyer

Protecting your child’s future

As one of Melbourne’s leading family law firms, we work with you to identify what is best for your children, their rights and your rights, and how to achieve them when issues of parental responsibility arise.

Our family law lawyers can guide you through mediation, pre-court negotiations, or court action with compassion and professionalism. They have a proven track record of working through equal share care or 50/50 arrangements, focusing on making the process easier for you.

We also have decades of experience in handling complex cases related to child protection, parenting law, international or interstate relocation, and abuse or sexual abuse allegations. Ultimately, our top priority is to secure the best possible outcome for you and your child.

Our Services

Separation and Divorce

De Facto Relationships


Intervention Orders (Family Violence)

Property Settlements

Protection of Assets


Binding Financial Agreements (BFA)

Parenting Arrangements

The Role of a Child Custody Lawyer


Comprehensive Document Review

Experienced family law lawyers will meticulously review all legal documentation related to your family law dispute, ensuring accuracy and completeness. They understand what types of evidence will matter in the courtroom and how to anticipate and prepare for any arguments, giving you greater confidence and peace of mind.


Strategic Legal Counsel

Acting as your staunch advocate, family law lawyers provide strategic legal counsel tailored to your unique circumstances. They offer a comprehensive and objective understanding of family law and can explain the legal implications of your situation, ensuring that you do not miss out on key parental rights.

Negotiation and Mediation

Many family law cases can be resolved amicably through negotiation or mediation, especially to preserve relationships while sparing children from a protracted court battle.

Family law lawyers are often trained in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and can help establish agreements and parenting arrangements, as well as negotiating fair terms for any child support payments.

Litigation Representation

Should your case go to court, a family law lawyer will represent you professionally and ensure your voice is heard by the judge. Their experience with courtroom proceedings will be invaluable in protecting you and your child’s interests and to ensure that your voices are heard.


Post-Order Modifications

Life circumstances can change after a parenting order is issued by the court, and this can affect the wellbeing of the child. Family law lawyers can assist clients in navigating any developments such as changes in income, employment, or living arrangements to protect the child’s best interests and maintain parental rights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between child custody and parental responsibility?

In 1996, the term ‘custody’ was removed from the Family Law Act in Australia to change the idea that children are property to be won or lost, and to shift the focus back onto parenting in the best interests of the child.

As such, courts will make ‘parenting orders’ instead of granting custody, and parents will have ‘parental responsibility’ and must adhere by determined ‘parenting arrangements’.

What factors do courts consider in determining parental responsibility?

Courts consider various factors, including the child’s age, the parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, the child’s relationship with each parent, and any history of abuse or neglect.

How long does the process take?

    The duration of a case involving parenting orders varies depending on the situation’s complexity and whether the parties can reach an agreement. Our goal is to resolve your case as efficiently as possible while ensuring the best outcome for your child.

    Will the court consider the child's preferences in parenting arrangements?

      Depending on the child’s age and maturity level, the court may consider their preferences, but the ultimate decision is based on the child’s best interests. Our child custody lawyers can advise you on how to address your child’s preferences in court proceedings.

      Can parenting orders be modified?

        Yes, parenting orders can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent relocating or a change in the child’s needs.

        How does the court decide parenting arrangements in cases involving domestic violence?

          Courts prioritise the safety and well-being of the child and may restrict their communication or visitation with a parent that has a history of domestic violence. Protective measures such as supervised visitation or restraining orders may be implemented to ensure the child’s safety.

          How does the court determine child support?

            Child support is typically determined based on state guidelines, taking into account each parent’s income, the child’s needs, and the parenting arrangement. Our lawyers can assist you in calculating child support and ensuring that it is fair and equitable.

            What should I do if my ex-partner is denying me visitation with my child?

              If your ex-partner is denying you visitation with your child, it is essential to document the incidents and seek legal assistance. Our family lawyers can help you enforce your visitation rights and hold your ex-partner accountable for violating the agreement.

              Why Choose Us

              Decades of Experience

              Nevett Ford has decades of experience in handling parenting orders, parenting disputes and divorce, with hundreds of cases advised upon each year.


              Personalised Service

              We know that every case is unique, which is why we tailor our strategies to fit your individual needs and circumstances.

              High Success Rate

              Our child custody lawyers strive to provide a positive resolution and outcome for all parties involved.

              Standard Of Care

              We believe in more than just legal representation – we believe in building a partnership with our clients that results in a strong and meaningful bond.


              Fast Response

              Our family lawyers in Melbourne pride ourselves on being accessible and responsive to calls and emails.

              Initial Fixed Cost Consultations

              We provide transparent and affordable fees so clients know what the process will look like ahead of time.

              Nevett Ford Is A Member Of The Following:

              Who You’ll Work With

              Richard Hamilton
              Catalano Clay
              Jenny Christofidis
              Special Counsel
              Erin Trantino
              Maggie Wang
              Stacey Raphael

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              Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value

              “Friendly, professional service. Subject matter promptly dealt with. Will recommend them.”

              Professionalism, Quality, Responsiveness, Value

              “Ryan Curtis-Griffiths and Jacqui Azouz provided excellent legal work.  I am a lawyer in the United States so I expect a lot.  And I got it from Ryan and Jacqui.  They are knowledgeable, efficient and very easy to work with. I will use them whenever I have an opportunity. “

              Professionalism, Responsiveness, Value

              “I cannot find any words to describe the professionalism of thos firm. Everyone from the reception to financial services and not to say Mae who helped out was absolutely amazing. I had Richard Hamilton who was definitely someone I will always have to represent me if I need any further help. Keep up the fantastic work ?  “

              Reliable Lawyer and Good Expertise

              “Richard Hamilton is a very genuine lawyer with very good expertise, good values and ethics of responsibility. He is not one of the lawyers in the market who would deceive you with false hopes. I found him very reliable which is something you need when you are going through a difficult family court case. Richard is also very good in returning to calls and emails. I definitely recommend him.”

              Excellent services and advice

              “Ryan has been my migration lawyer of a number of years now and has been successful in obtaining PR and Australian Citizenship for me. His advice is clear, straight forward and tailored to an individual’s needs. He puts in the effort and time and always cares for his clients. Overall, I received a first-class service from him, and I highly recommend him to anyone looking for migration advice.”

              The best immigration service provider in Mel

              “In all respect to achieve your PR and the pathway for citizenship was done very professionally ! Special thanks to Rayan ( MD) who helped me in all the way throughout to achieve goal.”

              Best choice

              “Ryan Curtis-Griffiths knowledge of immigration law, a skills in preparing all documents, excellent communication skills, rapid response to my inquiries, thoughtful and good listener.”

              Professional Service with Attention to Detail

              “We engaged Nevett Ford Lawyers to prepare our 186 Business Nomination and Visa Application. Ryan provided outstanding service by assisting us with all his experience in the industry. It was the best decision to work with Ryan as he always listened to our instructions and assisted with timely advise. I would definitely recommend Ryan and his team to anyone looking for a Immigration lawyer.”

              Professional Service and Prompt Response

              “Ryan and his team made sure the process of 186 Business Nomination and Visa application were as seamless as possible. We always received prompt response and correct advise regarding the matter. I would happily recommend Ryan and Nevett Ford to anyone who wants assistance with 186 visas.”

              Best Lawyers in the business

              “Looked after me. Always made sure I knew what was going on and why, but also made sure my mental health was top priority.”

              Very professional team

              “Great professional team, best communicating with the customer.”

              Legal expertise, Client focused service, Courtesy

              “Nevett Ford Lawyers, including paralegals and administrative staff, displayed professional and reliable services. All staff with whom I interacted responded promptly to my queries and requests. Their polite and friendly manner was appreciated and reassuring.”

              Professional, Efficient & Supportive

              “A Positive outcome of Permanent Residency from a Ministerial Intervention is what we achieved through Nevett Ford Lawyers. David Stratton and his Team have been highly efficient and professional along the entire journey through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and Ministerial Intervention. The Team managed our file with great care and patience while supporting us through the entire process during the past four years. We would highly recommend Nevett Ford Lawyers for their Professionalism and Task Accomplishments.”

              Ryan and Shalini worked extremely hard for us

              “Ryan and Shalini’s communication skills were what really stood out to us. They replied to emails most of the time within minutes and did a good job on helping us stay realistic about expectations as our case was extremely difficult and had a high chance of failure, they did a brilliant job of getting the visa through for my partner.”

              Service provided was professional & prompt

              “Great communication, friendly interaction with all staff (including reception), prompt and did what they said they would do.”

              Navigating a tricky workplace case

              “Generous with their time. Fair and pragmatic advice from which I was able to make an informed decision.”

              Mlam Camou (MlCam)
              Mlam Camou (MlCam)
              I will recommend definitely this services to anyone who wants a clear and positive outcome for his immigration case. Professionalism and experience are also 2 very important points to consider when you decide Nevett ford to represent you. I am satisfy with their work to be honest.Thank you Nevett Ford Lawyers for your excellent work.
              Lisa-Marie Hinton
              Lisa-Marie Hinton
              My visa application was the most challenging time of my life. It was so much pressure, lots of tears and emotions. Ryan and the wonderful Team guided our family and secured my husband and children Citizenship and my PR. I think Ryan has a beautiful heart and is very kind. He listened to me when I was at my wits-end and could only cry on the phone. I would choose Ryan again. It has been a difficult journey but he never gave up on helping my family in the fight of staying together. Forever grateful. The Hintons xxx
              Vivien Karabinas
              Vivien Karabinas
              The expertise and service received by lawyer Sophie Stickland was efficient, caring and reasonably priced. I would highly recommend her. Thank you.
              Jervin Paul Dhas
              Jervin Paul Dhas
              Had the pleasure of working with Lili for my PR application and I had a very good experience. She was very responsive and guided me and provided updates in every step and the entire process was smooth and quick. Highly recommend their services and one of the best. Thanks again Team
              Tom Simpson
              Tom Simpson
              During the period between 2020 - 2023 i was applying for a permanent partner visa and hired Ryan to assist me.I had spoke to 7 other immigration lawyers prior to Ryan, and the general feedback i would get back was negative (installing doubt into my mind about the likelihood of obtaining a visa in my circumstance). Ryan was the only lawyer who had a positive attitude and was optimistic about my situation and gave me a lot of free advice about what i could do even before i hired him, this was a major green flag to me so i made the decision to hire him.I couldn't of asked for a better lawyer, i would highly recommended his services to anyone. Good communication, fast responses, never hesitant to answer any queries, pleasant to speak to and most importantly a good lawyer that gets the job done.I recently obtained my PR after a 3 year process and I cannot thank Ryan (and the team) enough for their service.
              Hieronim Wiatrowski
              Hieronim Wiatrowski
              Lili Sibic was ery professional and helpful. Highly recommended ????
              Jessica Liu
              Jessica Liu
              Awesome and extremely professional and patient. Highly recommended!!!
              Experienced, organised and friendly, Ryan is always helpful and reassuring during the entire visa application process. The entire duration has made him more than just a lawyer but a friend.
              Hiro Kamisugi
              Hiro Kamisugi
              Nathan and Jean as team helped me for my first home purchase. Even though I knew nothing of this matter, they made my whole journey nice and comfortable. Everyone around myself tells me that purchasing home is a very stressful journey, but I was totally fine with their help. Don’t think I can ever ask anyone else for my next home in the future!

                Contact us

                *If you are overseas, please call our office on +61 3 9614 7111.

                Nevett Ford Melbourne Pty Ltd

                ABN: 80 144 697 790

                Level 16, South Tower, Rialto Building, 525 Collins Street
                Melbourne, VIC 3000