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Melbourne’s Leading Family Law Lawyers

Strategic and compassionate family law support

Family is an important part of our identity, shaping our experiences and defining our sense of belonging. However, when issues such as divorce and parenting arrangements arise, it can be challenging to preserve familial relationships while navigating legal proceedings to ensure fair outcomes – which is where family law lawyers come in.

At Nevett Ford, our team of compassionate family lawyers in Melbourne understands the nuanced approach needed in family law affairs. Whether you require a family divorce attorney or expert family law advice on family disputes, we are ready to support you and your family through the legal journey with empathy and experience.

The Nevett Ford Approach

As one of Melbourne’s leading family law firms with high success rates, we take pride in leveraging our decades of experience and expertise to provide family law advice and support for individuals and families. Our approach revolves around compassion, transparent communication, and a deep commitment to achieving the best possible outcome for you.

Our family practice lawyers provide personalised service and advice on:

  • Guidance for divorce and legal representation during proceedings.
  • Parenting arrangements and establishing or contesting paternity.
  • Fair and equitable distribution of assets and liabilities.
  • Spousal maintenance matters and child support obligations.
  • LGBT relationship recognition, parenting rights, and dissolution of partnerships.
  • Crafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and binding financial agreements.
  • Obtaining family violence intervention orders.

We also specialise in issues related to same-sex marriages, civil partnerships and LGBTQ+ relationships. We believe in providing inclusive and compassionate legal support for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Family Matters

What is family dispute mediation?

Family dispute mediation is a type of family dispute resolution where a neutral mediator assists family members in resolving family-related conflicts, fostering communication, and reaching mutually agreeable solutions without going to court.

This is an important resolution method usually recommended by most local family law attorneys, especially in cases concerning children and parenting arrangements. A family dispute lawyer can assist during mediation to improve communication between the client, the mediator, and the other party. They can also provide information about the client’s legal rights and options.

Do I need legal representation in Family Court?

While it is not mandatory, having legal representation from family court lawyers can significantly benefit you by ensuring your rights are protected and you have expert guidance throughout the proceedings.

How can I obtain a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO)?

To obtain an FVIO, you can apply through the Magistrates’ Court. Our family law lawyers can guide you through the process, helping you understand your rights and the necessary steps.

Relationship Matters

What are the grounds for divorce in Australia?

Australia operates under a “no-fault” divorce system, meaning that couples can seek a divorce without assigning blame to either party. The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which can be evidenced by a period of separation or other specific circumstances.

You can find more information about divorces and divorce lawyers here.

How long does the divorce process typically take?

In Australia, the minimum time between filing a divorce application and the finalisation of the divorce is generally around four months. However, complexities such as property disputes or parenting arrangements can extend the process.

 Do I need to go to court to file for a divorce?

If you have filed a sole application or have children under 18, you may need to attend court to finalise the divorce. Otherwise, the application will be dealt with by a registrar in chambers.

Are there any differences between LGBTQ divorces and heterosexual divorces?

The amended Marriage Act gives LGBTQ marriages the same legal status as heterosexual marriages. Thus, same-sex divorce proceedings are the same as heterosexual divorces.

Our family law lawyers are trained to guide clients through property division, support agreements, and any parenting arrangements that may arise.

Child Matters

How is parental responsibility determined?

Parenting arrangements are determined based on the best interests of the child, considering factors like the child’s age, relationship with each parent, and any history of abuse or neglect.

What are the different types of parenting arrangements?

The Court aims to create a plan that ensures the child’s well-being and access to both parents. Our family lawyers can guide you through navigating the parenting arrangement process based on your circumstances.

What rights do non-custodial parents have?

Non-custodial parents typically have visitation rights, allowing them to spend time with their children. Legal rights may include decision-making authority on important issues.

Can parenting orders be modified?

Parenting orders can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances that affects the child’s well-being. It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced family law lawyer before requesting a modification.

Can fathers assume sole responsibility for their children?

Yes, fathers can obtain sole decision-making responsibility for the child if it is in the best interests of the child. Courts consider various factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent and their primary caregiver.

How is paternity established?

Paternity can be established voluntarily through an acknowledgement of paternity or involuntarily through court orders. DNA testing is a common method used to determine biological parentage. Take note that paternity can also be legally contested.

What if one parent wants to relocate with the child?

Relocation cases are complex and require court approval. The Court considers factors like the reason for the move, the child’s relationship with each parent, and the impact on the child’s well-being.

How is child support calculated?

Child support is calculated based on a formula that considers each parent’s income, the number of children, and the parenting arrangement. Parents can negotiate their own child support agreement, but it should still be within reasonable limits.

Legal advice from an experienced family lawyer is recommended to ensure fairness and compliance with legal standards.

What happens if a parent fails to pay child support?

Non-payment of child support can lead to legal consequences, including enforcement actions such as wage garnishment, suspension of licenses, or court orders to comply.

Can child support orders be modified?

Child support orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or the child’s needs. Discuss with a family law attorney before seeking modifications to ensure the changes are in the best interest of the children and that they comply with the law.

How can a Family Violence Intervention Order (FVIO) protect my child?

An FVIO can provide immediate protection by restricting the alleged abuser’s contact with the child. It may also include provisions for safe visitation arrangements if needed. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, it is crucial to report it to the relevant authorities immediately.

What is the role of child protective services in family law matters?

Child protective services investigate allegations of abuse or neglect, and their findings can influence family law decisions. In extreme cases, they may recommend the removal of the child from an unsafe environment.

Our family law lawyers in Melbourne can help provide the necessary support, guidance, and legal advice if your child has been removed by child protective services.

Asset Matters

What factors are considered in divorce property settlements?

Property settlements in divorce consider various factors, including the financial contributions of each party, non-financial contributions (such as homemaking and child-rearing), future needs, and the overall value of the assets and liabilities involved.

Mediation or court intervention may be required for complex cases. Our family lawyers in Melbourne can provide detailed guidance tailored to your specific situation, ensuring your rights and assets are safeguarded.

What rights do I have to financial support after a divorce?

Spousal maintenance may be awarded based on factors such as financial need, the capacity of the paying spouse to provide support, and any special circumstances.

Are de facto couples entitled to property settlements?

Yes, de facto couples have similar property settlement rights as married couples. The court assesses financial contributions, non-financial contributions, and future needs when determining a fair division.

What is a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA)?

A BFA is a legally binding document that outlines how assets, liabilities, and financial resources will be divided between parties in the event of a relationship breakdown. It can cover both married and de facto couples.

Our local family practice lawyers have years of experience and expertise in crafting BFAs and negotiating terms that are in your favour.

Can a BFA be set aside by the court?

Yes, under certain circumstances, a court can set aside a BFA. Common reasons include fraud, duress, unconscionable conduct, or a significant change in circumstances.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, often called a “prenup”, is a legally binding contract entered into before marriage, outlining the financial rights and responsibilities of each party in the event of divorce or death.

A prenup can also be contested under certain circumstances. Our family dispute lawyers are experienced in challenging or defending a prenup as needed.

How does a postnuptial agreement differ from a prenup?

While both serve similar purposes, a postnuptial agreement is entered into after marriage. It addresses financial matters, property division, and support in the event of divorce or death.

A postnuptial agreement can be modified, but both parties must agree to the changes and a Court approval may be required, depending on the jurisdiction.


Have More Questions?

Our Services

Separation & Divorce

Guiding you through legal separation and divorce with expertise, ensuring your rights and interests are protected.

Property & Financial Agreements

Skilful negotiation for fair and equitable property settlements and financial agreements tailored to your circumstances.

Parenting & Paternity

Navigating the complexities of parenting arrangements and establishing or contesting paternity.

Spousal Maintenance & Child Support

Providing expert advice and representation for spousal maintenance and child support obligations to ensure the financial well-being of all parties involved.

LGBT Matters

Offering supportive legal services tailored to the specific needs and challenges faced by the LGBT community.

Prenuptial, Post-Nuptial & Binding Financial Agreements (BFA)

Crafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, and BFAs to ensure clarity and security in your unique financial situation.

Family Violence

Assisting in obtaining Family Violence Intervention Orders (FVIO) and offering comprehensive legal strategies to ensure the safety and well-being of those affected by domestic abuse.


Professionalism, Hard Work and Dedication

“The last 3 years I been liaising with Nevett Ford and I can finally say it’s all over I could have hoped for. To Richard Hamilton and the entire team at Nevett Ford I can’t thank you enough for your professionalism, hard work and dedication.”



Professionalism, Quality, Value

“Firstly, I can’t begin to thank you enough Nevett ford lawyers, you have all done such a great job with my case, I personally want to thank Stacey and Richard Hamilton for all the hard work that you have done. You have changed my life and every dollar spent was well worth it.  You are very professional, responsive and compassionate. From the first day when I walked in, Richard gave me complete confidence unlike previous lawyers and with this, he was able to go above and beyond to help me and get fantastic results. Thank you Richard, and thank you to your whole team. I will definitely recommend you to everyone who needs your services.”


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!

Nevett Ford Is A Member Of The Following:

Who You’ll Work With

Richard Hamilton
Jenny Christofidis
Special Counsel
Erin Trantino
Maggie Wang
Catalano Clay
Stacey Raphael
Gurnoor Klair
Administrative Assistant

    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