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Family Lawyers

Gold Coast Family Lawyers

Move towards a better future with the Gold Coast’s best family lawyers.

At Bell Legal, we stand with our clients during life’s most difficult moments. We’ve been helping people just like you since 1955 – longer than any other family law firm on the Gold Coast.

Our professionalism, our experience and our exceptional reputation, mean we’ll make sure you receive the best possible outcome for your family law case. Separation, asset division, parental custody – we’ll stand with you, through all of it.

My Community Legal    Member of QLD Law Society    Family Law Practitioners Association

Margaret Miller

Margaret Miller

Margaret provides considered, strategic advice to her clients with a sense of empathy and understanding.

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Why do I need a family lawyer?

  • Hiring a family lawyer can be intimidating. You’re concerned about the cost of legal fees.
  • Your partner has told you they “don’t want lawyers involved”, and you’d like to keep things amicable between you.
  • You’re worried about how going to court could impact your children.
  • Although each one of these concerns is valid, retaining a lawyer is the best way to help you and your family move forward to a better future.

97% of separated parents don’t go to court

Instead settle their parenting arrangements through verbal agreements, parenting plans, legally binding agreements, arbitration and mediation. You don’t need to go to court if you don’t want to, and having a lawyer can ensure that any agreements you make are fair, equitable and legally enforceable.

Of the 3% of separations that end up in court

54% involve domestic violence, 85% involve emotional abuse, 59% involve mental health issues, and 42% involve substance misuse. In situations like these, you need a skilled and knowledgeable family lawyer by your side to save your children from an emotionally destructive and possibly dangerous environment.

In 73% of separations, mothers are the sole or majority carer for their children.

With just 21% of separations resulting in shared care-time, and only 5% of separations ending with the father having sole or majority care for their child. A family lawyer can help you receive parenting arrangements that are fair for both you and your children.

Fathers struggling to get access to their children may have a better chance in court than through mutual arrangements.

19% of family court cases, fathers win majority care of their children, as opposed to just 2% in the normal population.

Most divorces don’t end in court-decided property disputes

Many couples settle asset division through mediation, arbitration or solicitor-to-solicitor negotiation. Having an experienced family lawyer by your side is essential for quickly and affordably navigating a separation, especially if your lawyer can help you avoid complicated court battles.

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Explore your options either in person, by the phone or video call.

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Family Law FAQs

Do I have to tell the courts about family violence?

Not necessarily.  The family courts have processes in place to deal with domestic violence and to protect anyone, including children, who may be at risk.

If you’re in a situation where you’re experiencing or are at risk of domestic violence, or you know someone who is, contact us immediately so we can help prevent harm to you and your loved ones.  We’ll only disclose family violence to the courts or the police if you instruct us to. However, if a person’s life is at risk, we have a duty to inform the police.

 

If you believe someone is in imminent danger, contact the Queensland Police immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).

If you have suffered or are suffering domestic violence and want someone to talk to, call a free and confidential domestic violence helpline.

Do family lawyers help with divorce too?

Yes, we do. Divorce is the legal ending of a marriage, which many people choose for a range of different reasons. After a year of separation, a Divorce Application can be made by you alone or together with your former partner.

We recommend seeking family law advice no matter how simple or complex your divorce circumstances are, to ensure your rights and interests are protected.

How much should a family lawyer cost?

The exact amount you’ll pay for a family lawyer depends on how complex your family law dispute is, and how long it takes.

As a client, you should be provided with a costs agreement before your lawyer starts doing any work.  A costs agreement outlines which family lawyer will be assisting with your matter and specifies their hourly rate.

Depending on their experience and seniority, a family lawyer’s hourly rate can range from $350–$650. All lawyers should seek the approval of the client before doing any work on their behalf.

Normally, law firms will also provide clients with a cost estimate for each stage of the matter. A good lawyer will ensure you understand the cost of the work before they begin, so there are no surprises when the bill arrives.

It is also important to note that, normally, you and the other party bear your own costs for any family law dispute, although the court can make a costs order if the circumstances require it.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps you and the other conflicting parties resolve the issue by coming to a mutually acceptable solution.

Unlike family court, which involves a judicial officer (a judge or registrar) eventually making a judgment and imposing a solution, mediation involves both parties meeting somewhere in the middle with the help of an impartial mediator.  Mediation can be significantly less expensive and stressful than going to court, and is often a good approach for emotional situations like divorce or child custody.

Does my family law matter have to go to court?

To get a divorce or to formalise a parenting or financial arrangement, you need to apply to the court. If you can’t reach an agreement with your former partner, you’ll have to attend court so a judge can decide the outcome.

In many cases, family law matters are settled without having to go to court. The law encourages people to settle their matters quickly and inexpensively. Mediations and arbitrations are highly effective ways of having your matter settled without the need for court.

What happens to my children?

The family court’s first priority is ensuring the safety and wellbeing of your children.  As long as there are no child safety issues, the court encourages children to maintain positive relationships with parents, grandparents and other relatives during and after family law disputes.

Custody agreements and parenting plans depend on your individual circumstances, so, if you’re worried that your partner might be trying to prevent you from caring for or seeing your children, book a family law consultation with us for legal advice.

How do we formalise an agreement?

To formalise an agreement, you need a legally binding agreement.  This is a document that makes verbal or written agreements between you and your partner legally enforceable, which means there may be consequences if either of you breaks the agreement.  If your agreements aren’t legally enforceable, either party can apply to the courts for a completely new arrangement.

The parties in a family law dispute have two options when obtaining a legally binding agreement for each party.

 

Binding Financial Agreements

A binding financial agreement (BFA), also known as a prenuptial agreement or ‘prenup’, is a contract between you and your partner that details how your assets will divided if you ever separate.  Both de facto and married couples can enter into BFAs.

To ensure your BFA is legally binding and free from loopholes, it’s important that it is drafted by a qualified lawyer who has reviewed both your and your partner’s assets, which may include companies, trusts and self-managed super funds.

 

Consent Orders

If both parties agree on an arrangement, they can make an Application for Consent Orders. A judge can only make the proposed order if he or she believes they are just and equitable (for financial matters) or in the best interests of the child or children (for parenting matters).

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