Family law services in Port Macquarie

Hannaway Lawyers is an experienced family law firm, with the added bonus of having an accredited specialist in the area of family law.

We can assist clients with a range of matters relating to family law, including:

  • Divorce
  • Initial advice if you are thinking about separating & aren't sure about how that will impact you financially or what happens with the children
  • Private & legally aided mediations
  • Getting a recovery order if your child has been taken
  • Filing in court to sort out the parenting arrangements for the children (custody)
  • Responding to an application in court about parenting arrangements when your ex-partner filed first
  • Property matters - for both married & de facto couples (how to divide your assets after separation)
  • Representing you in court

Putting together your documents including:

  • Affidavits
  • Notice of risk
  • Initiating applications & response documents
  • Applications in a case
  • Case outlines
  • Subpoenas
  • Parenting plans
  • Consent orders
  • Application for divorce (joint or separate)
  • Private child support agreements
  • Application to appeal

Please note: Douglas Hannaway is very experienced in complex parenting matters and property settlements with many years of experience in the division of property and other assets including, superannuation, inheritances and personal injury payouts. If you feel that your case is more complex than an ordinary solicitor can handle, you may need a more experienced solicitor like Douglas. That may be where there has been wastage of assets, running down of a business, large gifts or loans made by family members, hidden assets or extreme family violence which has affected your capacity to work or care for children.

Our services
Our lawyers, Douglas and Gabrielle, provide services for simple and complex family law matters. Some cases are able to be settled informally and without the intervention of the court. Other cases involve complex issues, risk of harm posed by the other parent in family law or difficult ex-partners which necessitate the need to go to mediations or court. We thoroughly break down and analyse each case because each matter is unique. We investigate claims of abuse, domestic violence, fraud, lies and other accusations. We then prepare each case carefully and concisely so that your story is told to the court with precision.

A key aspect of effectively running each case is narrowing down the issues for the court so that it can focus on the important issues.

For example:

Parenting Cases:

  • Is there an unacceptable risk of physical or psychological harm to your children
  • The right to & benefit of a meaningful relationship between the children & the other parent
  • The wishes of the children
  • The parenting capacity of the parents
  • Family violence
  • Whether the proposal of either party is reasonably practicable for the parties & the children
  • Other factors that can be found in S60CC of the Family Law Act 1975
Property Cases
  • Assets brought in by each party at the beginning of the relationship
  • Contributions made by each party during the relationship
  • Assets owned by both parties at the time of separation
  • Value of the assets now
  • Wastage by either party (i.e. running down business, gambling, manic spending)
  • Serious domestic violence, causing parenting/working capacity to be affected

Specialist Solicitors

Douglas Hannaway is an accredited specialist in family law. He is the only private practitioner in Port Macquarie with that specialist accreditation. Only 13.3% of all lawyers in NSW have specialist accreditation in family law.

Douglas is also an independent children’s lawyer (ICL). He is the only private practitioner in Port Macquarie who is an ICL.

Gabrielle is undertaking further training to obtain a masters degree in family law and to become an independent children’s lawyer.

Douglas and Gabrielle are appointed on a special domestic violence legal aid panel which enables them to assist women needing advice and representation through the WDVCAS service.

Douglas and Gabrielle are appointed to a specialist cross-examination panel for family law matters. Where a party is self-represented and they have a domestic violence conviction, or where they have gone to hearing on an AVO and lost, they are now unable to cross-examine their ex partner at a final hearing under a new law made by the Federal Government. A very small pool of lawyers can accept these cases to represent the person.

Applying for Parenting Orders
If you have attended mediation and it has failed, or if mediation is not appropriate, you may need to file in court to get parenting orders. Mediation may not be appropriate because of serious violence, or because you need to apply for a recovery order.
Parenting orders are legally binding arrangements which cover the following:
  • Parental responsibility (who can make major decisions for the children, i.e., school, name change, medical decisions, etc.)
  • With whom the child will live
  • The time with which a child will be allowed to spend or communicate with the other parent
  • Other ancillary orders, such as allowing a parent to attend school functions, drug testing, getting a passport for the children etc.

A parenting order may be applied for by:

  • A parent;
  • grandparent or;
  • any other person concerned with the care & welfare of the child (e.g., a non-biological parent, aunt, uncle, siblings, etc.)

The Judge bases their decision on what is in the best interest of the children. More information about how the court makes its decision can be found in section 60CA, section 60CC and section 64B of the Family Law Act 1975.

Child Support

Child support is not determined by the court in parenting matters. The Department of Human Services governs it. You need to contact them if you wish to apply for child support or vary it. The decision about the amount of child support to be paid is based on each parent’s income, the number of children and their living arrangements. If you don’t agree with the decision you can apply to the Federal Circuit Court for a review of the decision.

You can also enter into a private agreement about child support with your former partner. We can assist you with that.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence in Australia is more widespread than is commonly perceived. It is thought that only a small proportion of domestic violence cases are reported in Australia. Douglas and Gabrielle are both on the legal aid domestic violence panel. To get on the panel, you must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of domestic violence, family law and criminal law, and have experience acting for clients who have suffered from domestic violence. We are expertly able to assist you in family and criminal matters involving domestic violence, whether you are a victim or the accused.

Care Matters in the Local Court

Hannaway Lawyers can also assist privately with the following issues of care and protection:
  • Care application
  • Temporary care arrangements
  • Consent orders
  • Preliminary conferences
  • Hearings
Want to make an appointment?

Give us a call today to make an appointment or email us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.