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This booklet is for anyone who needs basic information on family law. It is for people who are thinking about separation or who have separated.
Family law covers all aspects of family relationships – breakdown, divorce, care of children, financial support of children and former partners, and property division. You will also find information here on ways to try to sort out your arrangements without having to go to court, and where to go for help.
To help you, we have explained some words in ‘Legal words and phrases explained’.
In Australia the law does not look at whose fault it is that the relationship broke down. The law’s main concern is what is best for the children. Where possible, children should have a relationship with each parent and other important people in their lives.
In dividing property the law looks at everything the couple owns and earns, and then divides these according to what it considers fair. It is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is about making arrangements for the future.
Any relationship breakdown is stressful. It can be especially hard if there are children involved. You might also find it difficult to cope financially. Making decisions at this time
is not easy, but there is help available. Getting legal advice and other support can help you understand what choices you have.
Talking to a lawyer does not mean you have to go to court, although lawyers can help you do this if you need to.
If possible, try to talk to your former partner about making arrangements for the future. If you can agree on a plan this can be better for everyone.
If you feel worried for your safety, intimidated, or feel that you cannot make decisions equally with your former partner you can get help.
You can get help to make an agreement from Legal Aid Queensland. Legal Aid Queensland clients and their families can be referred to our Family Dispute Resolution Service.
A Family Relationship Centre or other dispute resolution service can also help, but they cannot give you legal advice. These community services can also refer you for other kinds of help with your relationship with your former partner. See ‘Domestic violence’.
Interpreters can be arranged for legal advice, family dispute resolution or court.
To speak to a client information officer call 1300 65 11 88. You can get more detailed information about
family law from our website www.legalaid.qld.gov.au
Also see ‘Where to go for help’