DOOLAN WAGNER - family lawyers sydney

Our Team

Proven experience sets us apart

IT’S OUR JOB TO
MAKE IT EASIER

The Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers team specialise in the resolution of complex family law matters. Our Accredited Specialists have over 30 years of proven experience in the field of Family Law across all areas including, collaborative law, mediation, negotiation, parenting coordination and litigation. We understand that family law matters can be very difficult for the people involved, including your children. You can trust to provide high quality representation, considered advice and effective negotiation to deliver the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Lisa Wagner

Principal/Managing Director

Christine La Cava

Senior Associate

Stuart Colderick

Associate

Sara Arnold

Associate

Oliver Lacey

Associate

Melissa Miller

Paralegal

Sandra Mayne

Practice Manager

Anne Marie
Jonas

Client Services Manager

< back to the team
Lisa Wagner

Principal/Managing Director

Qualifications & Accreditations:

  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (University of Sydney)
  • Bachelor of Economics (Hons) (University of Sydney)
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (College of Law)
  • Graduate Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution
  • Accredited Specialist, Family Law (2001)
  • Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (2011)
  • Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW
  • Admitted as a Solicitor of the High Court of Australia
  • Independent Children’s Lawyer (2014)
  • Certificate in Parenting Co-ordination

Memberships:

  • Law Society of NSW
  • Member of the Collaborative Professionals (NSW) Inc.
  • Member of the Australian Association of Collaborative Professionals (AACP)
  • Member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia

Lisa Wagner has close to 30 years experience as a specialist family lawyer having built her reputation over many years working both in Sydney’s CBD and regionally, before becoming the founding principal of her own firm.

Having studied economics with Honours at the University of Sydney, Lisa is particularly adept at offering her client’s pragmatic commercial solutions. As well as property and financial matters, Lisa has extensive experience in parenting and child support matters and acts as a court appointed Independent Children’s Lawyer for children in difficult and complex parenting cases.

Lisa’s aim is to provide her clients with exceptional service, expert guidance and strong representation.  Lisa is an Accredited Family Law specialist and a nationally registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner – can issue S.601 Certificates.  Lisa is recognised by her peers as an experienced litigator and skilful negotiator in all family law matters.

Lisa is also focussed on giving back to the community. She has supported a range of community and pro bono initiatives, including the Manly Community Legal Centre and the North Shore Family Lawyers Practice Group.

Lisa believes that great law firms are focussed on service. Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers is a dedicated and specialised family law practice, reflecting the strong service and solution focus approach that Lisa has become renowned for.

lwagner@familylawyersdw.com.au

linkedin.com/in/lisawagnerdwfl

 

 


“I want to sincerely thank Lisa and the team at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers for all their hard work and exemplary service in guiding, and supporting, me through what has been a very difficult time in my life. Throughout my entire involvement, the communication has always been prompt, and the advice given always clearly explained, logical, and aimed at minimising conflict and protecting the children. Lisa’s court representation skills were outstanding, and she possesses an excellent network of professionals to call upon in related fields. Critically, her negotiating skills were key to avoiding the need for a final hearing, and the outcome achieved was sensible and fair for all parties concerned. I would have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Wagner to anyone in need of family law assistance.”
Tony D

 

< back to the team
Christine La Cava

Senior Associate

Qualifications and Accreditations: 

  • Accredited Specialist Family Law
  • Certificate in Collaborative Practice
  • Bachelor of Legal Studies (Macquarie University)
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (College of Law)
  • Admitted to practice in Supreme Court of NSW
  • Admitted to practice in the High Court of Australia.

Memberships:

  • Law Society of NSW
  • Member of the Collaborative Professionals (NSW) Inc.
  • Member of the Australian Association of Collaborative Professionals (AACP)
  • Member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia

Christine La Cava was admitted as a solicitor in 1988 and has worked exclusively in Family Law for the past fifteen (15) years. During a successful initial period with the NSW Attorney General’s Department, Christine held roles in Local Courts throughout NSW including as Chamber Magistrate, Clerk of the Court, Registrar and Coroner. Christine entered private practice in 1991 with a Northern Beaches firm.

In 2009 Christine’s expertise and demonstrated proficiency was recognised by the Law Society of New South Wales when she was awarded accreditation as a specialist in Family Law.

Christine’s extensive experience, combined with her strong listening and communication skills and sensitive yet practical approach, will help make your family law experience as easy as a difficult situation can be.

Christine will help and support you with a full range of family law issues including divorce, complex parenting issues and financial issues. For those matters that require Court intervention, Christine is experienced in the Court process having regularly appeared before Judges and Registrars in both the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Wherever possible Christine will aim to resolve your matter through a negotiated settlement.

When she is not at work, Christine enjoys socialising with family and friends both here and overseas, home renovation, music and reading.

clacava@familylawyersdw.com.au

linkedin.com/in/christinelacava

 

 


“I commend Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers on the process of finalising my financial separation and divorce. Lisa and her team were highly professional and detailed as well as empathetic and caring throughout the process. At each and every step I was given informed recommendations and a clear and concise understanding of the legal process I was facing. I felt supported and very comfortable knowing I had Doolan Wagner handling my affairs. Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers were recommended to me, and I definitely recommend them to others needing assistance in family law matters.”
Ingrid

< back to the team
Stuart Colderick

Associate

Qualifications & Accreditations:

  • Bachelor of Arts (University of NSW)
  • Bachelor of Law (University of NSW)
  • Admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW
  • Admitted as a Lawyer of the High Court of Australia
  • Certificate in Parenting Co-ordination

Memberships:

  • Law Society
  • Family Law Section of Law Council of Australia

Stuart holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales and has experience in a range of complex property and parenting matters both in documenting settlements and to final hearing stage.

Stuart’s meticulous eye for detail and ability to prioritise many competing tasks ensures that each of his clients receives prompt and considered advice and his friendly and caring attitude ensures he diligently supports the senior family lawyers of the practice and is always available to assist where he can.

Stuart conscientiously works tirelessly to help separating parties reach out of court settlements.

We are confident you will find Stuart helpful and approachable in all your dealings with him.

scolderick@familylawyersdw.com.au

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stuart-colderick

 



“Stuart and the team at Doolan Wagner were indispensable and dealt with my matter with absolute professionalism, patience and empathy. They are truly specialists in their field and were consistently thorough with all explanations. It was very clear throughout our engagement that they had only my best interests in mind, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend their services to anyone.”

Cecile

< back to the team
Sara Arnold

Associate

Qualifications and Accreditations:

  • Bachelor of Laws (UNE);
  • Bachelor of Business Management (UWS);
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (College of Laws);
  • Admitted as a Lawyer to the Supreme Court of New South Wales;
  • Admitted as a Lawyer of the High Court of Australia.

Memberships:

  • Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia;
  • Greater West Family Law Practitioners Committee;
  • Law Society of New South Wales.
  • Member of NSW Young Lawyers – Family Law Committee.

Sara holds a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Business Management and is currently completing her Master of Laws (Family Law).

Sara is experienced in providing advice in respect of property and parenting matters, as well as more complex matters involving Hague Convention Applications and relocation.

In additional to practising family law, Sara is an experienced legal practitioner and has also undertaken legal work in commercial litigation where Sara assisted her clients with navigating and resolving their commercial disputes.

Sara’s commercial background compliments her practising as a family lawyer. Her commercial experience allows her to identify various issues and provide the most practical and cost-effective solutions and advice for her clients in respect of settlements involving businesses as well as other financial matters.

Given Sara’s litigation experience, Sara strives to obtain the best possible outcome for her clients and strongly believes that all aspects of alternative dispute resolution be explored to try and resolve the dispute in an efficient and cost-effective manner prior to resorting to litigation.

However, where litigation cannot be avoided, Sara is adept at representing her clients at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

sarnold@familylawyersdw.com.au

linkedin.com/in/sara-arnold

 


 

“Sara and the team were incredible and very helpful during a very stressful time for me. They showed great professionalism and expertise. They understood what was important to me and I’m very pleased with the outcome. Thank you, Sara.”
AL

< back to the team
Oliver Lacey

Associate

Qualifications and Accreditations:

  • Bachelor of Arts/Laws (University of Newcastle)
  • Admitted as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW
  • Admitted as a Solicitor in the High Court of Australia

Memberships:

  • Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia
  • Law Society of New South Wales
  • NSW Young Lawyers

Born and raised in the Hunter Valley, Oliver studied a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws at the University of Newcastle before being admitted as a solicitor in 2015.

After admission, Oliver worked at a leading CBD law firm where he specialised in commercial disputes involving equity, trusts, business valuations, complex corporate structures, insolvency, mortgages and commercial finance before transitioning these skills into family law.

With a special interest in high-value and complex property matters, Oliver applies a commercial mindset to financial disputes, priding himself on providing in-depth legal advice to achieve real world outcomes for clients. He opposes a “one-size fits all” mentality to family law, applying a tailored approach to meet his client’s needs, especially in matters involving children.

Whilst favouring early dispute resolution outside of Court, Oliver also has significant experience acting in matters involving significant interpersonal conflict and managing clients throughout this process.

Oliver is currently undertaking a Master of Applied Law (Family Law) at the College of Law.

olacey@familylawyersdw.com.au

linkedin.com/in/olaceydwfl

 

 


 

“Oliver Lacey represented me in a legal matter that had lots of aspects to it. The attention to detail, the time taken to explain to me all of the important points and possible pitfalls of the case, and the personal attention and reassurance was exceptional. Calls and emails were responded to promptly, which can be rare these days. Having a very good Solicitor who fully understood all of the issues and brought his experience to the table made the difference in getting a really good outcome. Prior to being referred to Oliver the issues had escalated and become very stressful. It was really good to get a swift and favourable settlement of the matter.”
Val Butler

< back to the team
Melissa Miller

Paralegal

Qualifications & Accreditations:

  • Certificate 3 in Children Services (Karben Training Solutions, NSW)
  • Certificate 3 in Business administration (TAFE NSW)
  • Diploma in Event Management (Martin College, NSW)
  • Bachelor of Law from University of New England (currently completing)

Melissa has been working in the legal industry as a Personal Assistant and Paralegal for the last four years, and gained experience working in Estates and Family Law before joining Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers. She is our Paralegal and is currently completing her Bachelor of Law at the University of New England.

Having had the opportunity to see how the court system works and how hard it can be on families, Melissa has developed her skills in connecting with families and helping them through this difficult time. Melissa works alongside the family lawyers in helping manage your matter and assist with any task that is required.

Outside of Doolan Wagner, Melissa spends time with family and she also represents NSW in various Ten Bin Bowling competitions.

< back to the team
Sandra Mayne

Practice Manager

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Commerce & Administration (Victoria University, New Zealand)
  • Bachelor of Science (Psychology) (Victoria University, New Zealand)

Born and raised in New Zealand, Sandra is the Practice Administrator for Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, focussing on operations, communications, and staff well-being.  With over 15 years of experience working for a range of large international firms, government entities and small businesses in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, Sandra brings a variety of expertise to the collective.

Outside of work Sandra enjoys spending time with her daughters, and going cycling.

< back to the team
Anne Marie
Jonas

Client Services Manager

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts (University of Canberra)

Anne Marie is our Client Services Manager and is the voice on the phone when you ring Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers. She has a wealth of experience in customer relations, having worked in executive client services for over 25 years.

With her warm and empathic nature, Anne Marie is your best point of contact as she will be able to direct your call and get you in contact with your lawyer, as well as help you feel at ease when you come to see us during this very complicated time.

When not at work, Anne Marie likes to go sailing, dining out and the Arts.