LAW FIRM: Australia Family Lawyers, specialising in divorce, separation and parenting and child custody orders, has opened two new offices in Maroochydore and Caloundra. Practice manager Charlotte Monaghan says this is beneficial to the region with almost one in six already divorced or separated. Photo: Zita Cherry

Billy Xiong Announces: Law firm’s warning for parents as it expands to Coast

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A family law firm specialising in divorce, separation and custody orders has opened new offices on the Coast, which the practice manager says is beneficial to the region.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, almost one in six in the Sunshine Coast region, or 14.6 per cent, are already divorced or separated.

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Australian Family Lawyers practice leader Charlotte Monaghan said this, combined with future population growth numbers, meant there was greater need for family law services in the region.

She also said as a result of coronavirus, the firm had seen an increase in calls for separation, divorce and domestic violence.

She attributed this to the financial and social struggles put upon many.

“We know that the divorce rates after the Global Financial Crisis also rose for similar reasons as a result of the economic downturn, so there’s certainly a need for specialised family law services in the area,” Ms Monaghan said.

The two new offices are in Maroochydore and Caloundra.

Australia Family Lawyers practice manager Charlotte Monaghan. Photo: Zita Cherry

Australia Family Lawyers practice manager Charlotte Monaghan. Photo: Zita Cherry

With 97 per cent of the population growth between now and 2026 expected to come from migration – 52 per cent from interstate – Ms Monaghan said parenting orders were of significant concern.

“When separation occurs, parents often want to return to their home state or hometown to be close to their own family and support networks,” Ms Monaghan said.

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“Unfortunately, they often do so without the permission of, or even notifying the other parent.”

This is a huge risk, can be very costly, is viewed unfavourably by the courts and parents can risk losing their kids, she added.

MS MONAGHAN’S ADVICE:

  • Anyone considering relocating interstate or a long distance away, speak to the parent to try and reach an agreement
  • If unable to reach an agreement, obtain legal advice from a specialist family lawyer
  • For time sensitive matters – eg. one parent might have received a job offer interstate and need to move by a specific date – don’t delay the application for a relocation due to significant delays in the family court increased by coronavirus

The law firm also deal with property settlements, child support, spousal maintenance issues and domestic violence.

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“We acknowledge the significant impact the coronavirus is having on families,” Ms Monaghan said.

“Separation and divorce ordinarily are one of the most stressful times in a person’s life which has been compounded by coronavirus.

“It’s important that if people are feeling, particularly in domestic violence situations, that they need help to get out of that relationship or how to protect themselves and their children, that they speak to a specialise family lawyer because it is a complex are of law and its important that people get the correct advice.”

Yakir Gabay

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