Divorce & Family Lawyers North Shore

Divorce & Family Lawyers North Shore

May 3, 2022
  • By Lisa Wagner
  • Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers provide trusted divorce and family law advice and assistance to people on Sydney’s North Shore.

    Are you looking for an Accredited Family Law Specialist lawyer on Sydney’s North Shore? Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are pre-eminent family law solicitors you can rely on.

    For more than two decades our family lawyers have been assisting couples with their family law matters.

    Our family lawyers’ expert experience and skills are recognised by the Law Society of New South Wales through its Accredited Specialist Scheme.


    Our family law services are expertly placed to assist you in relation to all family law matters including:

    • Divorces
    • De facto relationship matters
    • Same-sex relationship matters
    • Financial/property settlements
    • Parenting matters (including pertaining to assisted fertility issues)
    • Child support & Child Custody
    • Strong court representation
    • Assisted reproduction technology and Surrogacy
    • Some of the Issues Our Clients Face
    • Do you know the difference between Divorce and separation?
    • What about the difference between a property/financial settlement and a Divorce?

    Believe it or not, although the words are often used interchangeably each of these matters is a very different legal issue with different ramifications. We can help you understand the differences and guide you through the family law process as it applies to your particular circumstances.

    • Did you know that until recently the law treated couples living in a De Facto arrangement very differently from couples who were married?
    • Did you know that the date of your separation can affect how the law applies to you?

    If you’re living with someone else and you’re uncertain about your rights, we can help you work out what you’re entitled to.

    • You’ve probably heard a lot in the media about the recognition of same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.
    • Did you know that in recent years there have been significant reforms to the Australian legal framework which have allowed better recognition of same-sex couples and their children?

    If you’re contemplating separating from your partner and you’re uncertain about your rights or responsibilities or how this may affect your children, we can help you understand your entitlements.

    • Have you used assisted fertility procedures to help you have a family?
    • Have you used a surrogate or donor to help you create your family?
    • Do you know what your rights and responsibilities are? Do you know theirs?
    • Do you know how your child legal rights may be affected by assisted fertility issues?

    Family Law Accredited Specialists are required to undertake continued learning specifically in respect to issues relating to family law. Our divorce solicitors are well-positioned to advise you in relation to all family law issues. We will provide appropriate legal assistance to you as you navigate this difficult new terrain.

    • Do you know what factors influence the calculation of child support by the Child Support Agency?
    • Do you know what changes in your or your former partner’s circumstances would allow for a change to the child support assessment?
    • Do you need a Binding Child Support Agreement?
    • Did you know you can be paid child support for a child aged over eighteen years of age if they’re still attending school?

    Our highly experienced family lawyers are well versed in respect of the “rules” pertaining to child support and can provide you with clear advice on your rights and responsibilities in relation to all aspects of child support.


    We understand that people are often worried about involving themselves in what they fear are complex and expensive legal processes.

    We will give you clear and concise legal advice and guidance.

    We are a specialist firm located conveniently in St Leonards on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. Visiting us is relatively stress-free and will help you avoid the congestion of Sydney’s CBD and the North Sydney Commercial Precinct. We are an easy 15-20 minute drive from Hornsby, Ryde, Gladesville, Chatswood and St Ives and there is ample street parking nearby. We are also only a short 2-3 minute walk from St Leonards train station. There are regular trains from Central, Hornsby and Epping. St Leonards station is a major stop for various local buses.


    And as a smaller firm, we don’t have the same overheads as some of the larger “city-based” firms.

    We understand that families facing a family breakdown are often facing added financial pressures as well. We do our best to keep your costs down by offering highly competitive rates. Our competitive fees don’t mean you will get anything other than top-quality legal advice and assistance because we promise that you will not just be a file in a cabinet to the family lawyers at our firm. We believe in giving all of our client’s personal care and attention.

    Also read: How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

    We also recognise that often clients may be confused about what the “real” or “live” issues are. Knowing how best to approach obtaining appropriate legal solutions in their divorce and separation is important. As a firm that only practices in the area of family law, our family lawyers have the level of experience that clients are looking for to assist them to face their separation, divorce and other family law issues with confidence. We can get to the “heart” of your matter quickly and won’t waste your time or money focusing on issues that don’t matter.

    We will guide you through every aspect of your family law matter, from the first stages of legal planning to the finalisation of your family law matter. It is our view that no matter how complex or simple your matter appears to be, it is essential to obtain early legal assistance from an experienced family lawyer (preferably an Accredited Family Law Specialist) so that you can get the answers you need. This will enable you and your family to positively move forward with your lives. It is very important that you have a clear legal plan prepared prior to engaging in any family law processes, whether it be approaching the negotiating table or filing an Application in Court. We can help you with developing your legal strategy and assist you throughout the family law process.


    We know that our help can put you in the best position to secure the optimal outcome that works for you and your family.

    Our Accredited Family Law Specialists are skilled at negotiating the often challenging family law setting. Their approaches, together with their sensitive and personal service and support, will put you in the best position free from uncertainty and unnecessary worry.

    Whatever your circumstances are, we promise you that we will handle your matter with your personal circumstances at the forefront of our minds. We will listen to you to ascertain your wants, needs and concerns so that any advice we provide to you is tailored to your specific needs. We are not afraid to adapt our methods and approaches to suit your family’s needs and can either provide a sensitive approach or strong court representation, depending on your needs.

    We have family lawyers who have had extensive experience in the collaborative law process and are collaboratively trained. By being able to engage in a more collaborative legal process in the majority of our family law matters we attempt to enable our clients to have the utmost input and control over their matter. This approach also allows independent professionals to contribute to the legal process to ensure that the parties will have the most appropriate, effective and positive outcome possibly achievable in their matter. And it also helps keep our client’s costs down because we will do our best to settle matters by alternate dispute resolution mechanisms such as negotiation, roundtable settlement conferences, mediations and arbitrations.

    If you’re still not convinced we can help you, perhaps reading some of our client testimonials will set your mind at ease…

    Take the Next Step…

    Facing issues in relation to intimate family or relationship matters can be stressful, daunting and worrisome. These matters have the potential to affect your emotional wellbeing, as well as have a substantial effect on the wellbeing of other family members and your finances. Obtaining timely specialist family law advice, guidance and support in relation to all family law matters will set you on the best path forward.

    If you live or work on the North Shore of Sydney and:

    • are experiencing a relationship breakdown; or
    • need advice regarding your family’s circumstances; or
    • want to know more about your rights and responsibilities; or
    • just need to know where you stand…

    We can help you because Lisa Wagner & her family law team is made up of highly experienced Accredited Family Law Specialists and highly regarded Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners. So, take the next step and call us on 9437 0010 or email enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au to find out how we can help you.

    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.

    Find out how we can help you

    Personalised advice with no obligation
    Call us on (02) 9437 0010

    Divorce Lawyers North Shore FAQ’s

    Do “spend time with” arrangements continue during school holiday periods?

    Unless a Court Order says otherwise ordinarily parenting arrangements to spend time with children on a daily or alternative weekend basis during school term time are suspended during school holiday periods.  Common sense and practicality should prevail and no better example of this would be a case where the parents otherwise share holidays equally.  If school term arrangements were not suspended in such an example it would mean that one parent has their half of the holiday time with their children interrupted by a continuing alternate weekend or other like arrangement.

    How can I separate when I can’t afford to move out of the house?

    You can be separated and continue to live under the same roof.  In order to prove separation, you much be able to provide evidence that you formed the intention to separate, that you communicated this intention to your spouse and also that there has been a change in your behaviour.  These 3 things must be present and are very possible to show even when you are remaining in the same house.

    Can I get a financial settlement when I’m not even divorced?

    The quick answer is yes and in fact most people work on a settlement soon after separation and a long time before they even start the divorce process.  Waiting 12 months to start negotiating a settlement is rarely wise and not necessary.

    What happens to our family dog now that we are separating?

    Pets are property and orders can be made about their ownership and possession in a family law settlement.  They are not treated like children and so you cannot have custody orders for your much loved furry friend but you can achieve a binding arrangement that includes how expenses are to be met as part of a financial settlement.

    How Do You Value Assets in a Separation during COVID-19?

    The value of any asset including stock, shares, a house, commercial property, business, company or artwork in separation is determined by a joint expert if you cannot reach an agreement with your ex about it.  It is often possible that an agreement can be reached, even in the midst of a pandemic.  Industry standards, comparable sales and a common-sense approach can be applied in a realistic way to avoid the need for costly experts.  However if this is not achievable then a well trod process is available to overcome these roadblocks and move forward towards a final outcome.

    My ex and I are Separating – How Do We Tell Our Children?

    There is a consensus on this question.  If you can tell the children together about your separation it is best.  However this is not always possible.  In any event do not blame each other for the separation.  “Finger pointing” is a big no no.

    Whatever you do:-

    1. Reassure the children that you love them
    2. Reinforce that even though you are no longer a couple you are still parents and committed to them, and
    3. Have a plan for the future (even if it is only a blueprint in your mind at this stage).
    Can I just wait until I’m ready to resolve property matters with my former partner?

    If you were married and you obtain a Divorce Order following separation you must make an Application for property adjustment within 12 months of your Divorce becoming final. If you were in a de facto relationship, you must make an application for property adjustment within 2 years of the breakdown of your relationship (i.e. the date of final separation). If you do not apply within these time limits you will need special permission of the Court, which is not always granted. Therefore, if you were in a de facto relationship or are already divorced, and are yet to resolve property matters with your former partner we recommend seeking advice from a family lawyer.

    Don’t I have a right to have a relationship with my child?

    Technically, you do not have a right to have a relationship with your child. Rather, your child has a right to have a relationship with each of their parents unless it is not in their best interests to do so. As such, it is important to recognise your role in your child’s life and the paramount consideration of what is in the best interests of your child when negotiating parenting arrangements or when making an application to the Court in relation to parenting.

    Is there really a need to formalise a property settlement, even when there’s no joint property and we’ve already agreed to each keep our own assets?

    In short, yes there is. This is because in circumstances where there are no Court orders as to a property settlement, the matter effectively remains ‘live’ which in turn can enable your ex-partner (or you) to make a claim against the other in the future. This does not mean, however, that you need to ‘go to Court’ and start proceedings.  You and your ex-partner can enter into Consent Order documents that provide you each retain all assets, liabilities and superannuation in your respective names. By documenting such agreement by way of Consent Orders, this can be a cost-effective and efficient way of finalising your property matter.

    What happens if my ex-partner and I can’t reach an agreement by ourselves about our assets? Is Court the only option?

    Though there may be some cases where commencing proceedings is timely and appropriate, Court is not the only option available to you. In the event that you and your ex-partner are privately negotiating with one another and are unable to quite ‘get it across the line’, you may wish to consider participating in mediation.

    Mediation is a form of dispute resolution which can be conducted with or without the assistance of lawyers, and involves a neutral third party (a Mediator). The Mediator’s role is to facilitate discussions between you and your ex-partner as to issues that are in dispute, and assist you both to reach a resolution. Where an agreement is reached between you both, such agreement can be documented by way of Consent Orders which is generally a more cost-effective way of finalising your property settlement especially when compared to the long and expensive Court process.