Family Law

Division of Property

Couples may enter into an agreement known as a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) which sets out how their property and financial resources must be divided after or in the event of a relationship breakdown.

A BFA must be made in accordance with Part VIIIA of the Family Law Act 1975 to be legally binding and may be made by the couple:

  • before;

  • during; or

  • after

a marriage or de facto relationship. Drafting a BFA can be complex. We can assist you negotiate and draft a BFA and ensure that it is legally binding.

Court Orders and Consent Orders

Although legally binding, in certain circumstances BFA’s may be set aside by the Family Court. Couples may therefore seek to have their agreement sealed by the Court entering Consent Orders instead.

If a couple cannot reach agreement on the division of property following breakdown, application may be made to the Court to decide. For marriage breakdowns, this must be done within 12 months of any formal divorce.

Family Law

When a relationship or marriage breaks down we face not only having to separate our intimate and emotional life with the other but also to divide the custody of any children of the relationship and the property once shared. This can be a very difficult and confusing time.

At Jude Lawyers we have the experience and knowledge to guide you through your separation. We can give you advice on your legal rights and obligations, your entitlements and how best to secure them. Even though your partner may have businesses, property, shares, Superannuation or bank accounts held solely in his/her name, you may still have a right to part of those assets by reason of your contribution to the relationship. We can help you assess your entitlements.

Although the best way to resolve matters may be through discussion, negotiation, exploration of compromise, mediation, and settlement. If Court proceedings are necessary, we can prepare your case and appear for you.

We are available to assist you at each step of the way and will vigorously assert and defend your rights and entitlements.

Children, Parenting Plans, Consent Orders and Court Orders

Before approaching the Family Court, both separating parents are normally required to have attempted resolution through mediation. If the parties are able to reach agreement regarding the children, they may enter into either a Parenting Plan or seek to have their agreement made into Court orders known as Consent Orders. Parenting plans are essentially voluntary written agreements between the parties. While they are not legally enforceable, they may be persuasive when the agreement breaks down and a Court is asked to make legally binding orders concerning the children. On the other hand Consent Orders made by a Court are legally enforceable and binding on the parties.

If separating parents cannot agree on what to do with the children, either party may apply to the Court for legally binding orders. In such case the Court has to consider a number of prescribed factors including two primary considerations:

  • the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child's parents; and
  • the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence

Of the two primary considerations, greater weight is given to the consideration to protect the child.

Grandparents may successfully apply to the Family Court for access to their grandchildren even against the wishes of parents.

We have the experience, skills and knowledge to assist you.

Please contact us. We are here to serve you and your legal interests.

Removed Children

In the Northern Territory any person who believes that a child is being, or has been, abused or neglected is required by law to report their concerns.

If there are concerns for the welfare of a child, the relevant state/territory government Child Protection Authority may remove that child from the care of his/her parents or guardian for a period or until reaching the age of 18 years old.

To recover custody of the child, parents or other family members may apply to the Local Court, for the children to be returned or placed in their care. Where the home of either parents is however unsafe for the child, the grandparents may apply for temporary or permanent custody in such circumstances.

If you wish to have access to or gain custody of your child or grandchild, we can help you. Call us for an estimate. Our rates are reasonable.

Domestic / Apprehended Violence Orders

We can advise and assist you on obtaining or defending against DVO and AVO applications.


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9-11 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800
Phone: (08) 8941 8229