FAMILY LAWYERS

MGA law is a practice dedicated exclusively to family law. We provide essentially the same service as “large” family law firms, except in most cases our hourly rate and fees are significantly less.

If a settlement cannot be achieved amicably outside of the courtroom, we have the knowledge, experience and expertise to protect your interests robustly through the court process with a view to containing costs and securing the most favourable outcome.

WHAT DO WE DO?

At MGA Law, our Principal Solicitor, Maryanne Atalla, conducts your matter personally; rather than the practice in large firms of allocating your file to a junior lawyer. Why pay more for a lawyer with less skill and experience?

We deal with all areas of family law, including parenting matters, property settlements, divorce, spousal maintenance, AVO proceedings, binding financial agreements and de-facto relationships.

ABOUT US

Our Principal Solicitor Maryanne Atalla is a passionate and methodical family lawyer. Her clinical approach to her work, combined with her dedication and empathy towards each client, enables Maryanne to achieve the most favourable outcome possible in all of her cases. Her work ethic and determination means that she will always be in a position to provide a very high quality legal service to each client.

Maryanne was previously employed in highly sought after family law positions in private firms in the Sydney CBD, in government and in the community sector. With over 12 years experience in the profession, she has developed a wealth of experience and expertise in all aspects of family law.

Maryanne is admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. She is a member of the Law Society of NSW, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and is registered on the Legal Aid NSW panel.

LEGAL SERVICES

Separating is a traumatic and difficult time for any person. For couples with children, often the first thought is of the impact it will have on the children. The second thought is almost always to wonder what the law says about parenting arrangements and how the separation will affect future contact with the children.

The following are some of the issues that need to be dealt with:

  • Who the children should live with?
  • Who the children should spend time with?
  • Who the children should communicate with?
  • What maintenance needs to be paid?

We will undertake negotiations on your behalf to help you reach an agreement or if necessary commence proceedings in court to obtain parenting orders for you. We will guide you through of you options and assist you in each step of the way in order to secure the best possible outcome in your case and guide you through all your options.

We’ll tell you what steps you need to take and when you need to take them. We’ll also let you know what you should avoid so you don’t compromise your position.

In circumstances where there are concerns for the child’s welfare or safety, we will be proactive in assisting you to ensure protective measures are in place to avoid any risk of harm to the child.

One of the significant issues for people separating from their partners is how their assets, liabilities and superannuation will be divided. The Court has far reaching powers to adjust interests in property having regard to various considerations. These will include the length of the relationship and whether or not there are any children of the relationship.

Obtaining independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer before resolving property settlement issues is critical. You must understand your legal rights and entitlements in order to make an informed decision.

The law in relation to a property settlement is complex – you can’t afford to risk acting on the basis of bad advice. Bad advice will translate into increased costs, increased delays and a potential settlement of substantially less than you are entitled.

At MGA Law we are experts in family law property settlements. We take a methodical and intelligent approach to your family law property settlement to robustly protect your interests and secure the more favourable outcome possible for you and your family.

A Divorce is the official recognition of the end of a marriage. Divorce is dealt with separately from other matters relating to marriage breakdown, but there are time limits on bringing applications for property and spouse maintenance once a Divorce order is made.

A Divorce Application is filed in the Federal Circuit Court. You must wait one year from the date you and your partner separate before filing that application. Either of you can apply for a divorce or you can apply together.

Often Divorce Applications are very straightforward but sometimes they are not. Simple or complex, we can help you with the efficient finalisation of your divorce.

A binding financial agreement is an alternative way that parties can formalise an agreement reached in relation to property matters. Unlike Consent Orders, the agreement reached does not need to be approved by the Court. Married or de-facto couples can enter into these agreements before a relationship is entered into, during the course of the relationship or after a relationship has ended.

We can assist you in preparing a binding financial agreement on your behalf or advising you in relation to an agreement proposed by your partner.

Since 2009, de facto couples across Australia have similar rights and obligations as married couples. So in most cases, the same rules apply to de de facto relationship as for any separation or divorce.

Under the Family Law Act, a couple is in a de facto relationship if they are not married to each other, are not related by family and they have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

The Family Law Act also provides that a de facto relationship can exist regardless of whether it is same sex or different sex, and even when one of the parties is legally married to someone else or in another de facto relationship.

Why is it important to define the relationship?

People in a de facto relationship have the same financial responsibilities to their partners as if they were married.

If you are in a de facto relationship, the law will treat any dispute in relation to children or property in the same way as for a married couple. A Court will take into account:

  • How long you have been together?
  • The nature and extent of your common residence and whether there is a sexual relationship between the parties
  • Your financial involvement may also be considered
  • The ownership of your property
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
  • Whether the relationship is registered under a State law
  • The care and support of children
  • The reputation and public aspects of your relationship
  • We can assist you in preparing a binding financial agreement on your behalf or advising you in relation to an agreement proposed by your partner.

Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution is the process where a qualified mediator assists you and your partner in reaching an agreement in relation to parenting related disputes.

There is a significant focus in family law on parties resolving their issues without the need for intervention by the Court. Indeed, there is a legal requirement in most cases for parties in in parenting disputes to undertake mediation.

At MGA Law we believe mediation is a great opportunity to resolve the matter at an early stage to avoid the costs of going to Court and the possible delays involved. In some circumstances, however, mediation is not appropriate, and we will advise you if this applies to you.

Family violence can happen to anyone and can take many forms including physical, verbal, emotional and economic abuse. For those who are experiencing family violence there are a number of services available around Australia to help you recognise the signs and respond appropriately.

  • You have every right to take measures to protect yourself from violence in and around the home.
  • We can assist you in obtaining an apprehended violence order to protect you.
  • Alternatively, if allegations have been made against you we can assist you in disputing and defending them in Court.

In situations where there has been family violence, the safety of your children and your safety as our client will be a primary consideration for us. We will appropriately deal with your matter with the care that it requires and assist you in any referrals to other services that may need to be made.

THE LEGAL PROCESS


If you have separated from your partner we can assist you through every step of the process. We will always strive to secure the best possible result in the circumstances, whether it is by way of a negotiated outcome or a decision by the Court.

Initial consultation

We will meet with you for an initial consultation. We will advise you as to the appropriate action to be taken. Where there is urgency, we may advise you after an initial consultation to proceed immediately to Court.

Mediate & Settle

We will attempt to mediate your matter and negotiate an appropriate settlement. We will undertake appropriate inquiries in your matter prior to reaching any settlement. If negotiations do not resolve the matter, we will attend to filing an application in Court.

Application in Court

In some circumstances, mediation is not appropriate. If that is the case or if negotiations do not resolve your matter, we will attend to filing an application in Court. Where there is urgency, we may advise you after an initial consultation to proceed immediately to Court.

Level 21, 133 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Contact


Telephone: (02) 9188 9614
Facsimile: (02) 9188 9615
Email: info@mgalaw.com.au

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