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  • Weston Creek, Woden, Canberra ACT.


Family Legal Services Canberra

Legal i Riordan | Family Lawyer Canberra.

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Family Law

Our focus is to assist families to navigate through a difficult time when going through a family breakdown. Our ability to help our clients through this process in a dignified and respectful way assist them to achieve solutions that contribute to beneficial outcomes for all involved.

We will listen to you and we will deliver results that provide you with the best options that suit your unique circumstances. We will focus on what is important to you. We promote honesty, integrity and  commitment in guiding you through your divorce and separation.  


Separation and Divorce

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out as we planned. If you were either married or in a de-facto relationship and are now separated or contemplating separation, we are here to help you. We understand emotions may be high at this time. We will simplify the process and  assist you by providing you options to finalise your property settlement. We encourage our clients to settle their property matters by agreement on terms that are legally binding and recognised by law.

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There are 2 options reached by agreement to consider: Consent Orders vs Binding Financial Agreements:


consent orders Consent Orders binding financial agreement Binding Financial Agreements
Filed in Court No Court
Details agreed by both parties Details agreed by both parties
Court discretion  – Just and Equitable Does not need to be fair or equal
May include parenting matters Cannot include parenting matters
May include property and financial matters May include property and financial matters
Do not need a Lawyer (but we recommend you obtain legal advice first) Each party MUST obtain their own separate Lawyer
Do not need a Lawyer to sign or witness Each Lawyer MUST sign a certificate to confirm they have provided independent advice
Court Orders enforceable by Court The agreement is a contract between the parties and enforceable by Court


Every family is different. Separation may be reasonably amicable where both parties are able to work out arrangements between themselves. Other families may have difficulty reaching an agreement or they may prefer to have a more formal arrangement. In the first instance we always encourage parents to work together to reach agreement on how to continue to make parenting arrangements together and to resolve any parenting conflicts. We encourage parents to use the legal system as a last resort. This includes when considering how to distribute the assets and property of the relationship.


Options to consider include agreement to obtain either a Parenting Plan or Parenting Orders. So what’s the difference?


A Parenting plan

A Parenting plan is an informal agreement reached between the parents. Parenting Plans may deal with a range of issues including;

  • Who the child can live with
  • The time the child can spend with each parent.
  • Decision-making powers between the parents about the child.
  • The communication the child is to have with each parent.
  • Education what school the child will attend, parents access to attend school events, eg. Sports.
  • Interstate or international travel – including specific information how/when the child may or may not obtain a passport.
  • Any aspect of the care, welfare or development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility for a child.

A Parenting Order

A Parenting Order is a set of orders made by a court about parenting arrangements for a child. Parenting Orders may be obtained via a formal application process to the Court, based on an agreement between the parties (consent orders) or after a court hearing or trial. Parenting Orders may deal with the same issues as above for Parenting Plans, when a Parenting Order is made, each person affected by the order must follow it. Parenting orders are enforceable by the Court.


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Parenting Plans may be considered more flexible than Parenting Orders, as they can be amended by creating a new agreement which does not require applying to the Courts. While Parenting Plans are not enforceable by the Courts, in the event the agreement breaks down the court may consider the Parenting Plan where it is in the best interest of the child, when making subsequent Parenting Orders.


Member of Family Law Section


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