Perth Family Lawyers

Separations can be confronting, emotional and difficult. Perth Family Lawyers MacDonald Rudder are here to help you navigate this challenging time.

Perth Family Lawyers Macdonald Rudder has been proudly serving the West Australian community since 1987.  In this time we have acquired extensive knowledge of and experience in family law, whether marriages or de facto relationships.  Family law also applies to same-sex relationships.

Firstly, it is important to understand that divorce is a separate and distinct issue from dealing with parenting issues and financial issues.  Getting a divorce means that you will no longer be legally married to your former partner, but a divorce application does not resolve parenting issues or financial issues – these matters will need to be addressed separately.

Secondly, an agreement on financial matters (such as property division) is not final and binding unless the agreement is either confirmed by Court orders, or formalised in a special type of document known as a “Financial Agreement”.

The real problems start if both partners are not able to reach agreement through discussion. In that case, you have two problems:  Your child/children (the most important) and financial issues (including property division).

If the matter has not been resolved in a reasonable manner or is heading to Court, you will need an experienced family lawyer to represent your interests.

A team you can trust.

We understand that separations are emotionally stressful and challenging for both parties.  With a wealth of experience in family law, our family lawyers will treat your situation with sensitivity and understanding while striving to find the best outcomes for you.

If you have separated or are about to separate and are unaware of your entitlements, we recommend seeking family law advice.


A divorce application can appear an uncomplicated process, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.

You must meet some requirements to be able to submit a divorce application:

  • Are you able to show the Court that you have been separated at least 12 months and that you and your former partner have not lived under the same roof in that time?  If not, additional evidence may need to be lodged with your application.
  • Have you been married for less than 2 years?  If so, additional evidence may need to be lodged with your application.

If you are unsure about where to go from here, book an appointment with our Family Lawyers, they will be able to provide you with the right legal advice for your situation.

Financial issues

When a couple separates, there may be two financial issues to be dealt with: property division (property settlement) and spousal maintenance.  Property settlement is usually the more important issue.

A contested property settlement can see the bulk if not all of your assets consumed in legal fees if you are not careful.  The starting point is to reach a reasonable settlement.

If both parties negotiate in a spirit of compromise, you can reach a property settlement quickly and inexpensively. If no agreement is reached, there are strategies to minimise costs.  Bear in mind that, even if an agreement is reached, then as stated above the agreement will not be final and binding unless it is either confirmed by Court orders, or formalised in a “Financial Agreement”.

Financial Agreements

A sound and happy relationship may require a Financial Agreement (previously known as a “prenuptial”), which outlines how financial matters will be resolved if you and your partner later separate.

Binding Financial Agreements are an effective way to regulate and protect your financial affairs.  A Financial Agreement can be made before marriage/entering a relationship, during marriage/a relationship, or after separation.  Changed circumstances may demand a financial agreement during your relationship.

Schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Family Lawyers on 08 9328 9788 to discuss your Financial Agreement requirements

Parenting Issues

Children are without a doubt your most important consideration when it comes to family break-ups.  Separation can be extremely stressful for children, and both parties should make an effort to reduce this stress.  At Macdonald Rudder, our Family Lawyers can help you in all parenting issues, which include but not limited to:

  • Child residence (which parent the child will live with), child contact (what time a child with spend with a parent)
  • Parental responsibility for major/long-term issues (such as what religion or culture the child is to be brought in, what education or medical treatment the child is to receive)
  • Child support
  • Child paternity
  • Grandparents
  • Recovery orders


The Family Law Act encourages the resolution of family law disputes by mediation where possible. Mediation is where the parties sit down with a mediator in an attempt to resolve their issues, whether they are parenting issues or financial issues.

While out of court settlements are always encouraged; the law recognises that there will be circumstances where mediation will not be appropriate.