Family & Relationship Property Law

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Safeguarding your future with compassionate legal support

Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts are widely recognised as leading practitioners in family law. We advise and represent clients on a wide variety of family matters, from simple, amicable separations or parenting disputes through to highly contentious cases involving complex family trusts and business interests. Our firm has extensive experience handling complicated family law disputes and regularly receives referrals from colleagues on matters requiring in depth family law knowledge and experience.

We pride ourselves on taking a purposeful and goal-oriented approach

Family law disputes must be handled in a way which causes the least possible harm to important ongoing family relationships. We strongly encourage our clients to participate in alternative dispute resolution methods, such as private mediation, where appropriate.

We distinguish ourselves from other family law firms by being selective about when to advise litigation rather than defaulting to this option in every case. While our team is made up of excellent litigators, we pride ourselves on taking a more purposeful and goal-oriented approach to each case.

In the event that litigation becomes necessary, we will leverage our extensive experience as litigation lawyers to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients through the Court process.

Care of Children

Separation can be difficult, particularly when there are children involved. We take a conciliatory approach to minimise stress on you and so that the focus is on the needs of the children. We can assist you with any disputes relating to your children's care, custody, and upbringing including day-to-day care arrangements, contact, relocation, guardianship disputes, Hague Convention or adoption matters.

Our lawyers are registered providers of the Family Legal Advice Service (FLAS). We can assist you before you attend Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), the process now compulsory before you may apply to the Family Court (except in urgent cases or where there are safety issues).

If your matter proceeds to Court, we can represent you right through the Court process. Our Family Team has a wealth of court experience, including senior lawyers who are regularly appointed by the Court to act for children.

Complex Matters

Our senior family lawyers at TDSL have extensive experience handling the divorces of high-net-worth individuals.  These cases usually involve assets held in complex structures, requiring thorough consideration and the appointment of financial experts. The divorce process will often work through legal and valuation complexities that are absent in typical divorces. Name suppression and careful reputation management may be required. It is crucial that high net worth or high profile individuals seek guidance and representation from experienced and specialised solicitors when dealing with sensitive family matters. We offer tailored and strategic guidance throughout any legal process.

Contracting Out Agreements (Pre-Nupital Agreements)

The law allows couples commencing a relationship to enter into a legally enforceable agreement (often called a ‘pre-nuptial agreement’) which records how certain identified assets, and sometimes liabilities, will be distributed in the financial settlement if their relationship comes to an end.

It is now common for couples to sign a pre-nuptial agreement, particularly if one or both of them have developed significant property before the relationship began, or if the couple simply does not wish to intermingle finances, and they wish to have certainty about how assets will be dealt with if the relationship ends.

It is important that pre-nupital agreements are properly drafted and appropriate for the parties. Poorly drafted or improper agreements may be ineffective or set aside by the Court following a separation.

At TDSL our specialist relationship property lawyers have been carefully drafting and assisting clients with pre-nuptial agreements for over 30 years. We are able to prepare bespoke legally binding documents tailored to your precise needs.

Division of Relationship and Family Trust Property

Working out how to deal with your family property at the end of a relationship can be a confusing and sometimes worrying process. The Property (Relationships) Act 1976 has far-reaching implications for those in a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship. Advice from and representation by a skilled relationship property lawyer is essential if your rights and expectations around your property interests are to be protected through separation or divorce.

Section 182 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980 provides the court with jurisdiction, upon dissolution of a marriage, to resettle assets held in a family trust if those assets were settled for the benefit of either or both spouses.

At TDSL our specialist relationship property and family trust lawyers will carefully assist you with the steps required to successfully realise or to protect your property interests at the end of a relationship.

Domestic Violence

If you are a victim of domestic violence who is experiencing physical, emotional or psychological abuse, we can help you. This may include an application for a Protection Order to promote your safety.

If you have been served with a Protection Order we can explain your options and assist you in defending the proceedings.