Top Family Lawyers Sydney

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are one of Sydney’s top family law firms.

Have you been looking for a family or a divorce lawyer in Sydney that you can communicate easily with? Are you thinking of getting a divorce? Have you spoken with some family lawyers but are not happy with the answers you received?

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are specialists in this area and can guide you through this stressful journey of divorce following separation.

We can help you by:

  • Advising you of your obligations and rights, entitlements and where you stand
  • Drafting parenting plans, consent orders, binding child support agreements, deeds of release and binding financial agreements
  • Representing you in family law mediations, round table conferences, collaborative family practice and arbitrations
  • Appearing in the Family Court of Sydney and Parramatta, the Federal Circuit Court and the Supreme Court of New South Wales
  • Preparing position papers, case outlines and affidavits
  • Running family dispute resolution sessions and if necessary issuing Section 60i certificates
  • Negotiating workable settlements for you
  • Advising you of your legal position including objecting to subpoena material or securing a just and equitable settlement.

What we do:

  • Financial and Property settlements
  • Spouse maintenance
  • Parenting
  • Relocation of children
  • Domestic violence
  • Collaborative family practice
  • Family dispute resolution
  • Divorce including separation under one roof
  • Paternity
  • Sole parental responsibility
  • Superannuation splitting
  • Out of time financial applications
  • Child support and departure from child support administrative assessments
  • Nullity

Some of our recent successes include:

  1. Urgently securing the return of a 12-month-old baby in circumstances where a parent had, contrary to interim orders, taken the child and placed the child at risk
  2. Securing a near-equal shared parenting application for a school-aged child in the face of adverse single joint expert psychiatric evidence
  3. Obtaining a costs order from the other party in circumstances where an interim spouse maintenance case with little merit was pursued.

See some of our testimonials here. And also read our Google reviews to see what people are saying about our family law service.

Did you know:-

Stay at home Mum’s

A Stay at home Mum makes contributions to the relationship, the family, the home and the children that are taken into account by the Family Court in a meaningful and not just in a token way.

In a relationship where one of the spouses is the main “breadwinner” and all or most of the assets are in one parties name an outcome reflecting this after separation is not a likely result.  Indeed, such an outcome is unlikely to be reflected in a final agreement especially in relationships of medium or long term duration.

In any separation, the Court and family lawyers negotiating in the shadow of the law must consider all the contributions, both financial and non-financial that have been made during the course of the relationship including contributions as homemaker even after separation and even in circumstances where the children are no longer under 18 years of age.


Inheritances can be quarantined from a settlement if both parties agree but otherwise are taken into account when determining a just and equitable division of property following the end of a marriage or a de facto relationship.

How does this occur?

Perhaps, unlike many other areas of family law, the treatment of inheritances by the court can be highly discretionary.  Each trial judge can take inheritance into account and make adjustments to parties as they see it appropriate to apply justice and equity to the particular facts.  Often trial judges consider both a global and an “asset by asset” approach in determining what is a fair outcome; at times utilising a 2-pools approach ie the matrimonial pool excluding the inherited assets and the pool of matrimonial assets comprising the inheritance.

This is a highly sensitive and difficult area of family law and it doesn’t just stop when an inheritance is received.  Prospective inheritances may also be considered however for this to occur certain elements need to be present and the way in which the courts treats a prospective inheritance may not be how you would like it to be treated.

Stock Options

Increasingly employees stock options feature as part of the matrimonial pool to be considered when couples separate.  Determining whether such options are property or a financial resource turns on whether or not they are yet vested.  Valuing such property or attempting to quantify a financial resource of this kind is challenging and may not result in a settlement that you are expecting.  The conditions and restrictions attached to those options which impact a valuation can usually be found in the particular staff contract or plan.

The treatment of the employee benefits in family law matters can be complex and ensuring they are appropriately managed in a settlement for both parties is crucial and requires experienced family lawyers to address these challenges.

Prohibition departure orders

Were you aware that your freedom to travel in and out of Australia may be restricted if child support payments are not up to date?  This consequence can hugely impact a separated family in many unintended ways and acts as a sage reminder to ensure everyone is fully aware of their rights and entitlements following separation.

Succession Act Release

Importantly entering into Consent Orders dealing with your property ends any claim your ex has against your current assets however it does not prevent him or her from making a claim against your estate when you pass away.  Some parties are understandably concerned by this possibility occurring while other parties feel such an outcome is acceptable.  Knowing what is best for you and what can be done to protect your estate when you separate is sometimes overlooked.  Ensuring that all legal consequences of your separation are taken care of is critically important.  Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers situated at St Leonard’s deal on a daily basis with these issues and can quickly help you secure a settlement of all aspects of your matter following a separation.

How Doolan Wagner are different

  1. We are a small team specialising in family law and related matters and as such we are very good at what we do.
  2. A large number of our clients are referred from past and current happy clients and other local professionals. We do not operate on large advertising budgets nor incur significant overheads that are passed onto you in higher fees.
  3. We invest in our people. Each of our professional staff holds degrees in associated disciplines or have completed or are studying a Masters course in family law.  We have solicitors trained in collaborative practice and family dispute resolution and this benefits you, our client.
  4. We are centrally located north of Sydney’s CBD making it convenient for you to meet with us. Street parking is readily available and we are a block away from St Leonards train station.
  5. The founding principal Lisa Wagner is an accredited specialist and has been successfully acting for families on Sydney’s north to northern beaches for almost 30 years. We have long standing relationships with specialist family law barristers, accountants, property valuers, forensic specialist including handwriting experts and lawyers practising in the overseas jurisdiction.  This helps keep you ahead and ensures you achieve the best outcome at all times.
  6. We only agree to take on cases that we can genuinely manage. Your lawyer will be available and not overrun with so many matters that you can never speak to them.  We pride ourselves in being service focused and delivering personal legal advice, support and assistance.

Our fee structure is:

  1. Transparent
  2. Fair
  3. Highly competitive

It is natural to feel concerned about the costs of engaging a family lawyer.  It is important to ask questions about what your lawyer will charge.

We offer a no-obligation reduced rate fixed fee initial consultation.  Your first meeting with us is likely to be the most important meeting you have and as such we do not offer this service free of charge.

We believe that at your first meeting with us you need to have more than a “meet and greet”.  Proper legal advice takes time and if it doesn’t you should be concerned.  You need to be confident that your family lawyer has all the important facts so that the advice they provide you with is reliable.

Ask yourself:

  • Will my family lawyer take the time to understand my situation?
  • Is my family lawyer providing the best family law advice for me?

Whilst not every family law matter is unique most family law matters have unique elements that when put together require specialist family law advice.  Sometimes simple small matters are very complex involving emerging and conflicting or unsettled case law.  At times what appears a complex family law matter may in fact be resolved simply.  A good family lawyer would be able to see through the background facts and quickly get to the heart of what your matter is about and how best to help you.

No matter is too big or too small.

If you have questions about your separation, get in touch today.

Talk to me; Lisa Wagner ( principal of Doolan Wagner ) if you would like more information on divorce or want a resolution of your parenting or property matters or just want some preliminary advice.  We are happy to take your call on (02) 9437 0010. There is no obligation. Or if you have a moment visit us at

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Our Principal, Lisa Wagner, is an Accredited Specialist in family law. Lisa has been recognised by the Law Society of New South Wales and her peers as possessing the necessary skills, experience and practical “know-how” in this increasingly specialised area of law.

This singular focus enables us to channel our resources into maintaining a top knowledge of Family Law, as well as being able to provide comprehensive advice regarding the range of legal options and solutions available to you.

We have also experienced family law litigators, with the honed skills and invaluable years of court experience to expertly present your case. While going to court can be often avoided, if and when the need to do so arises -you’ll be glad that you are represented by a confident and experienced litigation team.