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Perth city entrance to the Family Court of Western Australia

Family Lawyers for Perth Families

Have you separated, or are thinking of separating and need advice from an expert family lawyer?

Our dedicated team of family lawyers in Perth can guide you through the process with expert advice on any matter of family law including divorce, property settlement, financial agreements and parenting arrangements.

We understand this can be an uncertain and stressful time for you. We are here to support you.

We also provide advice to those who want to strengthen their current relationships. From asset protection through to adoption and surrogacy, we are here to help you build a strong foundation for your family.

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Let's meet, and figure it out

For practical advice about what you should do next, please call to arrange a no-obligation initial consultation.


Family Lawyers Perth

DS Family Law is a reputable and well-established Family Law Firm with offices in Perth, Midland and Mandurah.

Practising exclusively in all areas of Family Law, our Perth-based family lawyers have years of experience in dealing with all issues arising from relationship breakdown, whether related to property settlement, parenting/child welfare or child support.

We are fully aware of just how traumatic the circumstances surrounding the separation process can be. Our team of family lawyers is highly qualified to assist you with understanding your rights during separation and help you move on with your life in challenging times.

If you are contemplating separation or, indeed, have separated already, we cannot over-emphasise the importance of being aware of your rights and entitlements under Family Law. In fact, any delay in obtaining proper advice may have adverse and far-reaching consequences.

On this page, you can find everything you need to know about our Family Law Firm, our family lawyers, our areas of expertise, the client appointment process, legal fees and more.

We would welcome the opportunity of providing you with comprehensive Family Law advice and sincerely hope that the information on this page helps you better understand the process of obtaining legal assistance from DS Family Law.


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Our Family Lawyers

At DS Family Law, all of our family lawyers have experience in the principal areas of Family Law – property settlement and parenting issues.

Our more junior lawyers work under the supervision of senior practitioners, some of whom have over 20 years of experience exclusively in the family law sphere.

The highly respected Doyle’s Guide has long recognised us as a leading WA Family Law Firm.



Our Point of Difference

DS Family Law is one of many Family Law Firms in Perth, and the number of firms practising in the Family Law arena has mushroomed in the past few years.

Nowadays, Family Law consumers can take advantage of free 15-minute consultations, 20-minute telephone appointments, or even informal chats at a local coffee shop for a marginal fee.

At DS Family Law we do not engage in these cut-price initial “deals”, which we consider to be merely marketing gimmicks. We also don’t engage in “fixed fee arrangements” because we believe every case is different and requires a unique, tailored and pragmatic approach. Therefore, forecasting the outcome of all but the simplest of family law settlements with any degree of certainty is all but impossible.


Family Lawyer Client Interview Form

Filling out a detailed questionnaire before your first appointment saves time for what’s really important.

A 15-minute, free consultation, however tempting, will almost never satisfy your need for informed, considered advice. It will not allow us sufficient time to get to know the relevant facts and circumstances of your case and consider those matters fully. Accordingly, it won’t result in the provision of meaningful advice.

At DS Family Law, prospective clients are required to complete a detailed questionnaire before the first consultation. That way, no valuable time is wasted on gathering basic information. If you then decide to come on board as a client, you will receive a thoroughly detailed letter of advice covering all aspects of your matter, including a range of likely outcomes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a family lawyer?

There is no mandatory requirement for people who are separating to engage a family

However, getting the right advice from someone specialising in matrimonial and de facto law
can prove invaluable when it comes to knowing your rights and entitlements when you’re trying to reach and record a binding, enforceable agreement regarding property, financial assets or child arrangements.

Sometimes people make an appointment to see us when an agreement has already been reached, Orders made, property sold or money paid. At this stage, it may be too late to change your mind based on our advice.

So, even if it’s only an hour’s consultation with a knowledgeable, experienced family lawyer, this can provide you with total peace of mind.

Moreover, it is sometimes unclear what you can and cannot do in your specific circumstances and/or under existing Orders. Therefore, you need to be certain what the outcome is likely to be before you act.

You don’t want to risk entering into an unfair or unworkable agreement or breaching Family Court Orders (and the penalties involved) all because you didn’t get expert advice.

How to choose a family lawyer?

Once you have decided that your interests will be best served by consulting or engaging a
suitably qualified family lawyer, the next question is: Which one?

First of all, we recommend choosing a lawyer that practises exclusively in family law, rather
than one who deals with criminal matters on a Wednesday, conveyancing on a Thursday, and commercial matters on a Monday.

Family Law is a highly specialised field and services from a lawyer merely “dabbling” seldom provide the best results.

Secondly, ask around and get a recommendation from other school mums or dads, gym buddies, work colleagues, etc. Do a Google search and look at the ratings and reviews of local family law practices appearing in the search results.

Your choice will also depend on the kind of lawyer you want/need. An aggressor, whose
“gloves are off” from the get-go? Or rather someone with a more collaborative approach who tries to resolve issues outside the Courtroom?

Regardless of reputation, it’s really only by meeting your lawyer that you will determine if they share your values and whether you feel comfortable with them and their proposed approach.

You may not always receive the advice you wanted to hear but beware of “yes people” who will gloss over difficulties in your case only to present a picture of “a bed of roses”.

Your lawyer needs to provide sensible advice, have a sound understanding of all of the
issues, be realistic and make you aware of the likely risks and costs of litigation.

Feel free to “interview” your prospective lawyer – make a list of questions to take to your
consultation and get a “feel” for how they might operate.


Quality Assured Family Law Practice

Icon for Approved Quality Practices by the Law Society of Western Australia

DS Family Law is a ‘Quality Assured Practice’ as certified by the Law Society of WA. This status recognises Firms that have developed and adhere to prescribed internal processes dedicated to maximising efficiency, client satisfaction and avoiding wastage.

To maintain this Quality Practice Standard we are subject to an annual audit to ensure our ongoing compliance with standards that go beyond the requirements of the relevant legislation. DS Family Law has been certified as a QPS practice since 2008.


Areas of Expertise

DS Family Law has a 15-year history of providing legal advice and assistance to (mostly) separating couples and helping them move on with their lives.

Generally speaking, people recognise the stock standard ‘divorce’ situation where couples go their separate ways after many years of building the family nest.

Therefore, property settlement and parenting issues are the family lawyer’s ‘bread and butter’, and probably consume a good 90% of all the time we spend on files.

But what about the other 10%? The remainder includes anything from pre-nuptial agreements to adoptions, child maintenance cases, even surrogacy issues and more.


Legal Library with Family Law Books and Judge Gavel

Our team of family lawyers practises exclusively in matters of family law.

Family Law has advanced leaps and bounds since the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975. Over the last 15 years, we have provided legal advice in countless disparate cases including same-sex marriage (or same-sex divorce!), superannuation splitting, surrogacy,  and de-facto relationships.

Even the definition of the words ‘family’ and ‘parent’ have undergone a massive transformation in the last half-century, culminating in the recent High Court decision in Masson v Parsons (sperm donor and parental status).

Situations considered unthinkable when the Act was introduced are now considered the ‘norm’, and the question is often asked – is the Family Court creating new norms or simply catching up with them?

Rest assured that DS Family Law remain abreast of the most recent developments in Family Law and if a pathway to resolution exists, we will help you find it regardless of how ‘unconventional’ your problem might be.


Regional Expertise

Through 15 years of practising exclusively in Family Law, DS Family Law has gathered a wealth of experience in many specific niche areas, largely through dealing extensively across numerous regional locations known for particular industries.

In addition to our current Perth, Midland and Mandurah offices, the Firm has for lengthy periods operated practices in Darwin, Geraldton, Karratha, Kalgoorlie and Esperance. As a result, we are ‘across’ many of the intricacies involved in farming, mining and cray-fishing disputes and settlements.

This includes, for example, how to value a growing crop, the significance of the timing of such valuation and the importance of preserving the main, income-producing asset.

We are also acutely aware of the dangers of taking the value of cray-fishing enterprises straight from the balance sheet – cray boats are often ‘written down’ to minimal value but retain a market value of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Additionally, the mining industry usually involves different superannuation schemes and long, 12-hour shifts or ‘fly-in/fly-out’ rosters, making parenting arrangements much more complex.


Regional Farmer with Livestock

Our expertise includes understanding and analysing complex valuations of income-producing assets.

In our Darwin office, which operated from 2009 to 2018, we particularly advised clients involved in the Northern Territory’s three largest industries: Government/Civil Service, the Military and Resources.

The valuation and splitting of Government/Military Superannuation Funds is something we still deal with routinely. Having worked intensely in those sectors provides us with a significant advantage over competitors who may be unfamiliar with the nuances of such industries.


Family Law in Perth and Western Australia

Family Law is, broadly speaking, applied uniformly throughout Australia, but there are important differences that can arise between WA and the rest of the States and Territories.

For example, despite years of promises from the State Government, it is still not possible for de facto couples separating in WA to ‘split’ their superannuation entitlements. This can be of great significance if superannuation is the principal asset of a long relationship.

Furthermore, Western Australia has its own State Act for ex-nuptial children – namely, the Family Court Act 1997. Whereas this broadly reflects the Family Law Act under which all other Australian children fall, there are differences.

And unlike the rest of Australia, de facto relationships in WA are defined as “a marriage-like relationship between two people for a minimum period of 2 years” – Section 13A Interpretation Act WA 1984.

‘De-facto’ in other States and Territories, however, requires a couple to “live together on a genuine domestic basis”. Even if the broad intention of the legislatures was the same, case law has demonstrated that these definitions can result in different outcomes, and parties can live together on a genuine domestic basis without necessarily living in ‘marriage-like’ relationships.


Family Law Beyond Perth and WA

In addition to servicing the wider Perth metro area, we have years of experience assisting regional or nationally-based clients resolve a myriad of parenting or property matters.

Although we can only advise on Australian law and procedure, we have helped countless Australians living overseas deal with the Family Court in Perth, including clients residing in the UK, Canada, US, South Africa, New Zealand and throughout Asia. These clients have benefited from our advice and expertise over many years, readily assisted by our willingness to embrace the new technology of the past decade or so that makes international communication so comparatively easy.

Although the majority of our clients do reside in the Perth metropolitan area (as well as in and around Midland and Mandurah, where we have conveniently located offices), we will willingly take on matters worldwide if required, so long as the legal connection to WA is clearly established.


Legal News


De Facto Superannuation Splitting in Western Australia

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How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

  How much does it cost to get a divorce from start to finish? The total cost of a Divorce Application varies on a case-by-case basis, but will ultimately be determined by the following...

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How to Enforce Family Court Orders

  Obtaining Family Court Orders can be a long, drawn-out process lasting many months if not years, so it can be particularly galling if the other party either consistently breaks these...

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Parenting Orders and Contravention in Times of Coronavirus

  60–Second Summary The challenges faced by the Community amid COVID-19 are many, and often unforeseen as country after country imposes “lockdown” measures which increasingly restrict...

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Sperm Donor Laws - Who are the legal parents?

  60–Second Summary In our day and age, it is not uncommon for individuals to want to become a parent despite not being in a committed relationship (or if in a committed relationship and...

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COVID-19 - Notice to Clients

  Please be advised that DS Family Law is closely monitoring and complying with the latest government guidelines concerning the recent impact of COVID-19 on our community. We have outlined...

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Relocation with Children

  What is relocation in Family Law? After a separation, one parent (or sometimes both) will need to find somewhere else to live. It is not uncommon in these circumstances for a parent to...

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Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce in Australia

60-Second Summary After the majority of Australians voted in favour of changing marriage laws to allow for same-sex marriage, the corresponding legislation was amended in December 2017. As a...

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Separated Under One Roof

60-Second Summary Living separated under one roof occurs when you and your former spouse/partner are no longer marital or de-facto partners but nonetheless continue to live in the same...

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17 Things You Need To Know About The Divorce Process

The Divorce Process in Australia Clients often come to an initial consultation with us stating that they “want a divorce” when what they really mean is that they want to resolve a property...

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De Facto Relationship Law – Is My Partner Entitled To Half The House?

Believe it or not, Family Lawyers are actually human and often partake in a drink or two at their local watering hole.  Whilst participating in such a favoured past time, I am often brought into...

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Consent Orders - Everything You Need To Know

Consent Orders – Is my Agreement Final? Family Law is often in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: the cost of legal representation, month upon month of delay, the uncertainty of outcomes,...

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