Navigating Family Law: Resources and Support Services

family law services

Your family breakup will have been an unexpected twist in your life plan. No one finds a partner and has kids, knowing that separation or divorce is on the cards.

So, when it happens, we have absolutely no idea what we are doing. And the immediate reaction is to find a lawyer in the hope that they will sort everything out on our behalf.

But stop! It is very possible that you will not need legal services for your separation, especially if you are still amicable with your ex-partner.

Getting divorced is primarily an administrative and financial process rather than a legal one. And it has been known for lawyers to aggravate and lengthen the process, as well as create unnecessary costs.

And, in case you’re wondering who I am …

I’m Lucy, a single mum and the founder of the website you are on. I spend my time helping other single mums embrace independence, redefine their paths and be the best they can be, all whilst being brilliant single mums. You can get more in-depth, personalised support from my “You’ve Got This” Single Mum eCourse, which has already been downloaded by 2k+ single mums from around the world.

What you need to know about hiring a lawyer for family law services

The thought of trying to work things through with your ex-partner may seem as appealing as jumping off a cliff. However, it is 100% the best way forward. Whether you need some mediation sessions or not, resolving issues without a lawyer is way more favourable. Here are important family law matters you need to consider.

You will need to hire (and pay) for a lawyer each

What many people don’t realise is that when you use a lawyer for your separation, you need to hire one each.

This means there will be two lawyer bills to pay from your joint asset pool and, in some cases, two (possibly hefty) retainers. Lawyers can also charge per action, i.e. phone call, email, letter, etc, and these rates can be staggering, especially if you are already concerned about your financial future. Having said this, many lawyers now offer fixed costs and payment plans.

(Of course, if a pro bono lawyer can help and give you legal representation, great!)

A lawyer will fight your corner

This is what lawyers do … they represent you and play the game to try and get what you want. And this is perfect, right? Well, not always.

Instead, it might create further friction in an already delicate relationship between you and your ex. Scary lawyer letters written on your behalf and referring to you formally as Mrs (Surname) will create even more distance between you and the man with whom you once shared your life and now need to co-parent with. Is this really the way forward you were looking for?

And don’t forget your lawyer cannot guarantee an outcome, but they will charge you for just trying. The worst thing is for a couple to fail to resolve their family law disputes after pouring all that money.

Have you thought about co-parenting?

It is understandable that you are all consumed at the moment during divorce proceedings. It is hard to see past the end of the day, let alone think about the long-term future.

If you are planning to co-parent with your ex, then you should be laying firm foundations for a solid co-parenting relationship in which your kids can thrive.

If your separation is a bloody battle of lawyer correspondence and costs that you both resent or worse still, ends up in Family Court proceedings, it will be hard to circle back and work together as co-parents.

The people who suffer the most from this are your children. What happens now will affect them for years to come.

family law services

Court is not always the answer to your prayers

Many ex-couples try everything but are still unable to reach a resolution, even with lawyers, and the only option left is Family Court.

If your case were to end up in court, the costs could rocket sky-high.

You may be eligible for National Legal Aid. But if you are not, be prepared for the possibility of losing everything in your asset pool, plus more.

Also, remember that Australia's Family Court will listen to both sides of an argument and decide based on what they think is in the best interests of your child. It will not necessarily go the way you want, and it is ultimately a total stranger deciding the future for you and your children.

Not all lawyers are equal

If you do need a lawyer, make sure you take the time to find the right lawyer for you.

Arrange a ‘no cost’ chat with them to see if they are the right fit and make sure you feel listened to and understood. Consider whether their values align with yours, and make sure they don’t overwhelm you with ‘law talk’. Always ask about fees, which should be presented to you clearly.

Oh, and steer away from a lawyer who promises you outcomes … they are lawyers, not miracle workers.

Stop! Just because you’re splitting doesn’t mean you need a lawyer

Before I continue, I will point out that I am not anti-lawyer. I work with many incredible lawyers who I have the upmost respect for. Lawyers have a valid place in the separation process in some cases. But if you can avoid communicating with the person you once loved and had kids with through a total stranger, would that not be a better solution?

Here is what you need to know if you are considering using a lawyer for your separation.

Focus on your own situation

As mentioned, you didn’t plan this. Hence you have no idea how to proceed, especially whilst you are dealing with your own emotions and your children.

First response: Turn to a friend who has ‘been through it’ and is already texting you her lawyer’s number. Yet, although your friend has also split, her situation could be entirely different. Your friend can provide advice and assistance, but that doesn't mean it applies to you.

Be wary of well-meaning advice from friends - including family and online social spaces. Take on board what people say, and then recalibrate and think about what will work for you. In many cases, a lawyer is not the next step.

family law services

So, what is the next step? Alternatives to traditional family law services

Before you start using dramatic phrases such as ‘you’ll be hearing from my lawyer’ or ‘I’ll see you in court’, the best result is resolving issues without going to court.

In cases where the family law system need not be involved, here are your options:

Commonwealth Courts and E-Filing

Commonwealth Courts and E-Filing offer a range of services that can help with Family Court of Australia matters. Information and services are available on the Commonwealth Courts Portal website, run by the attorney general's department.

This includes resources for navigating parenting and property issues, as well as technology to suggest a split. Independent children's lawyers and duty lawyers can also provide assistance. For those in need of immediate support, the advice line is a national telephone service offering legal and social advice.

Family Relationship Advice Line:

The Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321 is your go-to source for all things family-related, from family law issues to arrangements for children and young people. Not only do they provide legal assistance, but they also offer free support services to people affected by family violence.

Open Monday to Friday, the Australian Family Law Services and Support hotline is a lifesaver for anyone in need of help with domestic and family violence. They have a team of specialist family lawyers who provide free legal and family advice. So, if you're feeling overwhelmed by your family situation, don't hesitate to give them a call.

(You can call the hotline from 8 am to 8 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays. It's available throughout Australia.)


Need legal advice or assistance with family relationship issues? Look no further than Amica's 1300 hotline. They provide law services and support fact sheets to help guide you through the Family Court of Western Australia process.

Whether you need to visit the family court or are seeking information to help on arrangements for children after separation, Amica has the service that helps. They are also available to family members and friends who may need assistance.

Information and social support services are readily available through this organisation, a free service available to all. Accessible in every state and territory, Amica uses artificial intelligence to be your go-to for all things legal help.

Family Advocacy and Support Service

FASS is here to help with all your family relationship issues, whether you're navigating the Family Court of Western Australia or just in need of some guidance. It's a free service developed by National Legal Aid and supported by State and Territory Legal Aid Commissions.

Don't let family issues overwhelm you – there are plenty of resources and support available. Whether you need information about family law services and support or just want to talk to a friendly organisation about your situation, FASS is here for you.


Family dispute resolution and mediation is like having a referee in the middle of a boxing match between a separated couple. Only, instead of throwing punches, they help the couple come to a resolution on things like who gets the flat-screen TV, who gets stuck with the bratty kids on weekends, and who has to keep paying for that fancy gym membership. Not only is it a more peaceful and wallet-friendly option than ducking it out in court, but it also lets the couple call the shots on how things get settled.

Collaborative Law:

In the world of collaborative law, every player brings their own legal representative to the party. But they all decide to put their big boy pants on and work together like grown-ups to sort out their differences without causing a courtroom showdown.

It's like a fancy dance where everyone sits around a table and tries to hammer out a deal that makes everyone happy. This approach is all about finding solutions instead of getting into a messy legal brawl, with the goal of keeping the peace and avoiding unnecessary drama.


Arbitration is like a turbocharged version of Judge Judy where an arbitrator, basically a legal ninja, settles the beef between two parties and whatever decision they make is final. It's a fast and furious alternative to going to court, giving the parties more say in who plays referee and when the whole shebang goes down.

Family Relationship Centres (FRCs):

FRCs are basically like relationship superheroes, swooping in to save the day when couples are at each other's throats. These centres offer all sorts of services to help sort out family drama, minus the federal circuit and family court. They can assist parents in developing a parenting plan for their children.

And the best part? They won't break the bank, with many services being totally free. So next time you're ready to strangle your (former) significant other, just remember there's a safe space to hash it out.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Separation Agreements:

Who needs expensive lawyers or court battles when you can hammer out your own separation agreement? With resources and templates on family relationships online, you can DIY your way through this process.

This approach not only saves you money but also gives you complete autonomy over the terms of your separation. Just make sure both parties are well-versed in their legal rights and parenting responsibilities to ensure a fair and binding agreement.

Each of these alternatives offers different advantages and may be more suitable to your situation. It’s often advisable to seek initial free legal advice to determine the best approach to establish parenting arrangements after separation.

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