Have you separated, or are thinking of separating and need advice from an expert family lawyer?
Our dedicated team of family lawyers 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.
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.
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.
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.
Quality Assured Family Law Practice
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.
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.
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.
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.