The Best Divorce Lawyers in Canberra

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Di Simpson from DDCS Lawyers

Di Simpson, family lawyer and partner at DDCS Lawyers. Photo: Region Media.

Going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially draining, so support from your specialised legal team is essential.

Your choice of a family law lawyer matters. First, you want a lawyer you’re comfortable with and who has the right experience – one who going to be with you all the way. You want a lawyer who specialises in divorce and family law. It’s also important to bear in mind that an unskilled divorce lawyer could cost you more if the process drags on longer than it might have with a more experienced legal team.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a divorce lawyer, and share where to find the best in Canberra.

What makes a great divorce lawyer?

The right divorce lawyer can help fast track your separation and take the stress out of what is already a challenging experience.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a divorce lawyer.

  • Knowledge and experience. The best divorce lawyers have years of experience. They’ve seen it all and know exactly how to deal with difficult situations.
  • Confidence. If anyone is confident in your plight, it should be your lawyer. Your divorce lawyer should be 100 per cent sure of their advice and what you’re aiming for.
  • Sensitivity. Divorces can be emotionally challenging, especially if children are involved. The best divorce lawyers balance strength and sensitivity.
  • Efficient. There’s no doubt about it – hiring a lawyer, including a divorce lawyer, is expensive. They often charge by the hour and need to conduct research and plan your case. You’ll want to engage a divorce lawyer who is experienced enough to be able to work as quick and efficiently as possible.
  • Honest. Divorce lawyers should have your back. That means being honest with you about the likelihood of certain outcomes. From the good and the bad to the ugly, they should be transparent so you can make the best-informed choices about your future.

The best divorce lawyers in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Snedden Hall & Gallop

Snedden Hall & Gallop

Snedden Hall & Gallop has provided legal services in the Canberra region for 60 years. The family law team, backed by extensive experience and expertise, supports clients to resolve their family law matters as swiftly and amicably as possible. Clients are guaranteed considered advice and strong representation, including on property (such as the division of assets and liabilities following separation), parenting disputes and family violence or protection order matters.

Most family law matters can be resolved without litigation because Snedden Hall & Gallop’s family lawyers focus on resolving disputes through alternative dispute resolution methods, including mediation and negotiation.

Snedden Hall & Gallop also offers law advice relating to superannuation; business and employment law; personal injury; wills, estates and elder law; and criminal law.

As Mary Pezzella wrote on Google, “I would like to publicly congratulate the team at Snedden Hall & Gallop for their ongoing professionalism and thorough knowledge of current legal matters.”

43-49 Geils Court
Deakin ACT 2600
Baker Deane & Nutt

Baker Deane & Nutt

Baker Deane & Nutt (BDN) is a full-service law firm providing expert advice with a personal touch, including with family relationships, divorce and custody. Reliable, trusted and experienced, the firm has been supporting clients for more than 150 years.

BDN lawyers understand that separation and divorce is difficult and guide clients through this complex, challenging, and sensitive time with care. Clear and close lines of communication reassure clients every step of the way.

Services include property settlements, parenting arrangements, consent orders, division of superannuation, domestic violence and same-sex relationships. Mitigation of financial risks and reduction of stress is the aim for every client from the outset. Whether using collaborative law or the Family Court, BDN provides expert advice, guidance, and representation through tailor-made legal services.

Ben Day wrote on Google, “Absolutely hand’s down the best lawyers in the business. Compassion, empathy and understanding. Professionals to the highest degree.”

Level 1, 1 Farrel Place
Canberra City ACT 2601
DDCS Lawyers

DDCS Lawyers

DDCS Lawyers are Canberra’s leading relationship lawyers, specialising in family law, including divorce, as well as wills and estate planning. With 11 members on the team and an award-winning reputation, DDCS Lawyers offer some of the best legal advice and representation in the Canberra region. The firm’s founding partners consistently rank as leading family lawyers.

The firm’s dynamic team of lawyers, with a breadth of experience and diverse backgrounds, has helped thousands of clients, whether starting or ending a relationship, needing advice for parenting agreements, or needing to protect assets and loved ones with estate planning.

DDCS knows what matters most. The team understands the emotional and financial stress of divorce and uses a unique blend of confidence, skill and compassion to guide clients. DDCS also recognises that families and couples come in many shapes and sizes, each with their own unique challenges. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution with divorce. DDCS has the experience and expertise required to navigate the unexpected and reach optimal results with minimal disruption.

As satisfied client Cedar Hernandez wrote on Google, “Di Simpson and her team were truly amazing. She articulates everything that is most important and fought for my best interests. I felt fully supported and found the Family Law process empowering even through the stress and emotional turmoil. I was involved in the process which was important to me. Di listened to me and understood the big picture I wanted her to understand. I felt validated. The expense was worth it.”

18 Kendall Lane
Canberra CIty ACT 2601

Robinson & McGuinness Family Law

Robinson & McGuinness Family Law is a boutique firm that supports clients with family law matters, including divorce, parenting, property, child support, financial agreements, spousal maintenance, adoption, superannuation splitting, family violence and more. The firm understands that every family is different which means solutions must be tailored to individual client needs.

Angela Jones wrote on Google, “I highly recommend Robinson and McGuinness. They are professional, friendly, supportive and provide excellent service and results.”

KJB Law

KJB is a modern, progressive law firm that has helped Canberra’s residents overcome family law and other legal matters for more than 30 years. Lawyers aim for the best possible outcome for clients while making the law more approachable and easier to understand. KJB Law helps clients make their divorce run as smoothly as possible.

As Teyarna Matheson wrote on Google, “Amazing team of people with high detail for quality service. They are friendly, inviting and happy to help whenever possible.”

If you’re seeking a less-expensive alternative to going through the court system or working with a divorce lawyer, you might like our article on the best mediation and conflict resolution services in Canberra.

Your experience with divorce lawyers in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the divorce lawyers listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a great family law lawyer?
It’s important to ask your lawyer what specific experience they have in family law and specific experience with your type of case. For example, you can ask how many divorce cases they have handled, how many of those cases they were able to settle out of court and how they handled cases.
How much does a divorce cost?
The amount will vary depending on your circumstance. Some cases take less time and are less complex. Others not so. If you have a set budget, be upfront and discuss this with your lawyer to see if they can help. Most lawyers, after an initial discussion with give you a written, personal quote.
How do divorce lawyers charge for services?
This varies from firm to firm. Don’t be shy about asking how they charge. Also ask if anyone else will be working on your case, such as more junior members of the firm’s team. You can also ask about payment terms and conditions (in writing).
How long will my divorce take?
It’s difficult to guarantee a precise time frame. If there are challenges in serving your spouse, for example, matters could take longer. If your spouse is difficult and won’t compromise, this could affect the time frame. Ask your lawyer about estimated time frames and any issues they think might prolong matters.
How do I avoid going to Family Court?
If you want to use mediation to help with your family law matter you should ask your lawyer if their firm has expert mediators or collaborative law specialists on the team. If so, check them out.

What's Your Opinion?


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150 Responses to The Best Divorce Lawyers in Canberra
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Monica Bryant-Norved Monica Bryant-Norved 12:48 pm 03 Jul 17

Avoid legal aid. Totally avoid Relationships Australia. Alliance Legal are excellent and will keep your costs low. I have tried a number of Canberra lawyers – the first two cost me thousands with no direct result and yes lawyers often forget to lodge paperwork – its called negligence – they should be reported to the ACT Law Society. Two years and virtually no contact with my kids aged 12 and 10. Parental alienation is child abuse. I was the breadwinner – my ex husband brainwashed my kids while I was busy supporting the family for a decade. The Family Law system is totally broken – even spending thousands of dollars – I may lose contact with my kids. I am not a criminal. I an tertiary educated. Had a top secret security clearance – I lost everything when I lost my kids. Good luck – I hope you get some good results. Our story is far too common. BTW – everyone stop responding to needhelp – massive personality disorder there and just a troll.

Southmouth Southmouth 5:03 pm 10 Sep 15

Fgd.com.au. Try very hard to stay out of court and don’t try getting more than 50/50 shared care of kids. Or budget 50k, and end up with the same outcome. If you try and represent yourself against a lawyer, you will lose

MarkE MarkE 3:09 pm 10 Sep 15

The average cost of a defended Family Court matter is now over $50,000 per side. My father was a Family Court Judge for 28 years. He told me 3 things of interest here:

1. The legal system if run solely for the convenience of the legal profession.
2. Any similarity between justice and the law is purely coincidence.
3. I asked him how to hire a lawyer without getting ripped off, and he told me: “I don’t know.”

My advice is represent yourself.

MERC600 MERC600 2:44 pm 10 Sep 15

Sorry but

First divorce lawyer: “You’re an unmitigated liar.”
Second divorce lawyer: “You’re a lowdown cheat.”
Judge: “Now that the lawyers have identified themselves, let us proceed.”

Why should divorce lawyers be buried 100 feet deep? Because deep down, they’re really good people.

Masquara Masquara 1:09 pm 10 Sep 15

If you aren’t VERY rich, better to seek an amicable settlement. If you’re experiencing revenge angst, get counselling and settle that before you engage a lawyer. You risk an outcome where you have to pay a lawyer for a settlement that doesn’t assuage any pain or relieve any feelings that the settlement has been unjust. If you have kids and only one house between you and your partner, don’t expect to get your equity out of the house until the kids have finished uni.

rubbercup rubbercup 11:17 am 10 Sep 15

capn_pugwash said :

my SIL had a good experience with Olivia Gesini. She’s known as the best in town apparently

Hi Guys,

I found this thread when i was looking for the best family lawyer in town and tried to get in touch with Olivia Gesini as a result. I contacted the law firm Farrar Gesini Dunn (www.fgd.com.au) and was told she was unavailable, but i was able to see Kasey Fox and I couldn’t be happier. Highly recommended!!

greenman greenman 3:20 pm 10 Apr 15

After a long and drawn out divorce – my ex and I are amicable – and wish to locate a property in the Canberra region – where we live with our kids – but not with eachother. for example top floor/bottom floor – separate living – even an A and B type set up. I know a couple of split families who’ve tried this in Melbourne and it seems to work well. Does anyone know of any such properties here in Canberra ? Rent or Buy ? Any info is appreciated…

Greg

THEFORCEOFDIVORCE THEFORCEOFDIVORCE 3:07 pm 10 Nov 14

I can help you there….I have just collated a divorce SURVIVAL KIT. ($120 free delivery anywhere in Australia)…VITAL information that everyone needs when going through a divorce. It also has a copy of my book in it. see website for more details or contact me; http://www.theforceofdivorce.com.au

Monomyth Monomyth 4:27 pm 22 Jan 13

obrijo said :

Woops correction: Women’s Legal Service is at Havelock House.

Ah, wondered why my Google-fu was rusty, thanks 🙂

Monomyth Monomyth 4:26 pm 22 Jan 13

eyeLikeCarrots said :

Sooooooooooo, you’ll be back on the market soon ?

Hahaha you crack me up 🙂 Thank you 🙂

obrijo obrijo 3:19 pm 22 Jan 13

Woops correction: Women’s Legal Service is at Havelock House.

eyeLikeCarrots eyeLikeCarrots 2:13 pm 22 Jan 13

Sooooooooooo, you’ll be back on the market soon ?

Monomyth Monomyth 11:32 am 22 Jan 13

Thanks Starrie, I was afraid it would have to be more complicated than that, glad to hear it’s not!

Thanks for the tip obrijo, i’ll check them out – might help to have something in my back pocket.

Starrie Starrie 11:12 am 22 Jan 13

Forms are here: http://www.familylawcourts.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/FLC/Home/Forms/Divorce+forms+and+kits/

Fill them out, sign them in front of a lawyer or JoP, send them to your ex to sign also in front of a lawyer or JoP, lodge them online, pay the fee and the courts will do the rest for you. You don’t even need to turn up.

obrijo obrijo 11:01 am 22 Jan 13

Try the Women’s Legal Service at Gorman House (pro bono duty solicitors at restricted times) or the duty solicitor at the Family Court can help. Legal aid is probably inaccessible to most people due to its income restrictions.

gregz gregz 11:32 pm 19 Aug 12

Myself: DINK (dual income, no kids) but retired senior social worker; “uncle” real” & de-facto to many distressed children. It’s a cultural thing. Sorry – but I’m not white, even though I’m 5th generation Aussie born Asian (i.e. not an Abrahamite – Jew, Xt’n, etc).
Unknown to most single mothers (most cultures), a GOOD father-figure & father-bonding is more important than any isolated, ignorant dictator. There are formally organized groups for the children of divorcing & divorced children. Locate them, with or without the participation of the isolated ‘carer’. Also normally children at about age 9 can use the internet. Soon he will ‘meet’ you on his face-book pages, without his guardian’s knowledge, at the school, local or internet-cafe computer.
Give him a mobile phone/ plan with SMS on it. If you can afford SMS via a low-cost phone plan will work. There are many smartphones (second-hand in his case; kids damage/ lose them easily). If you get a smartphone with add-ons that tell you his geographical address when he phones-SMS, it maybe more comfortable for both. Smartphones (not Apple) often take memory cards. Children like the many free games, music, etc that can be loaded onto these memory cards.
One ‘comfort’: each re-marriage means that later re-marriages also happen often & easily.
In my retirement years, I watch the solo-workers (lawyers, counsellors, medicos, psychiatrists, psychologists, etc …) who ignore that we humans are group creatures, not solo, culture-independent cacti. “They” are cactus’s, and these isolates treat everyone around them as another cactus. That’s why I enjoy the bad remedies devised by Channel’s 10 “Dr Pil”, middays during the week.

LSWCHP LSWCHP 9:17 pm 19 Aug 12

Flossie said :

What a terrible situation.
I just wanted to mention that if the stress is getting to you, please remember that lifeline is there 24/7. They won’t tell you what to do, but they will listen and support.
Their number is 131114.
Sometimes the wee small hours are the hardest.
Good luck

I’ll second that. I spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling at 3 in the morning wondering WTF I was going to do, how I could maintain contact with my kids, how I’d cope financially etc.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Masquara Masquara 8:53 pm 19 Aug 12

Just a recent tale to give you hope, and demonstrate that the Lone Fathers can be a bit pessimistic: Early in 2011 a mother I know took her two kids to Queensland from western NSW, claiming domestic violence (very unlikely), and without the father’s permission. He had no job, but was a caring parent and the two kids are attached to him. She is the breadwinner. His family were amazed when, after nearly six whole months in Queensland with the mum, and the kids “settled” in a new school, and living near the mum’s particular immigrant community, the court found in the dad’s favour and told the mum that if she wanted to be around her kids she had to return and stay in ******* (country town) even though it was a place where she would be unlikely to find a job. Her mistake was racking off with the kids, and assuming that it would be a “fait accompli” that the kids were settled in their new home. Everyone who knew the couple were delighted and amazed by the outcome – it was totally unexpected, as everyone thought “providing” is the main thing. Justice providing recognised the strong emotional bond with the dad, and although he is pretty piecemeal financially, he doesn’t drink or do drugs, and manages pretty well on their small income. The kids have been back with dad for several months now, settled back in school. The mum has to either live in ******* or travel down from Queensland every couple of weeks to see them. I suspect the Beak was pretty pissed off about the domestic violence story – said father has NO history of violence in ANY context, and it did seem like a tall tale.

Flossie Flossie 8:09 pm 19 Aug 12

What a terrible situation.
I just wanted to mention that if the stress is getting to you, please remember that lifeline is there 24/7. They won’t tell you what to do, but they will listen and support.
Their number is 131114.
Sometimes the wee small hours are the hardest.
Good luck

Masquara Masquara 6:54 pm 19 Aug 12

YeahBuddy said :

Masquara said :

Most importantly, GET TO LEGAL AID NOW so they are representing you and not your partner! They can’t represent both sides in a dispute, and once your ex is their client, that cuts you out. legalaid.nsw.gov.au or maybe the ACT legal aid website can help too.

Urban Legend – Legal Aid can and do fund both sides in Family Court matters

They can FUND two parties but they cannot REPRESENT two parties. Get it right willya!

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