Welcome to Patford-Smith Legal Services

We are a boutique family and relationship law firm, striving to provide advice with empathy, compassion and a clear pathway forward. Family Law can be complicated and an emotionally stressful time.

Sometimes going to Court is the only way forward. We make it clear what the process is and what it means to your family.

What Do Our Family Lawyers Do?

  • Property settlements
  • Parenting and children
  • Separation and divorce
  • Family violence
The laws that affect property differ across various states and territories. Our family lawyers can help with the legal process of dividing property between you and your spouse after divorce or separation. Shared property often includes your house, investments, insurance policies, superannuation and even vehicles. A property settlement can also help you redistribute any debts you may share with your partner.

We want to reduce the stress children endure during the legal proceedings, and our family law solicitors can help draw up Court orders to protect your child and their best interests. Ms Patford-Smith is an Independent Children’s Lawyer qualified to intervene during high-conflict Court cases involving children. We can help separated parents negotiate to co-parent and create healthy environments for children.

We can consult with you before your separation from a partner or spouse or during the proceedings. We offer our legal advice to help remove the stress of dealing with the legal paperwork during a divorce. 

Family violence is a threat to your safety and your children’s wellbeing, and we can help protect you from dangerous home environments. We understand that you may hesitate to share your experiences with us as a victim, and we aim to make you feel safe and supported. Our family lawyers are trained to help you through abusive situations with practical legal advice to help you end the relationship.

The Terms You Need to Know

  • Consent Orders
  • Parenting Orders
  • Family Violence Intervention Orders
  • Parenting Plan

A consent order is a formally-lodged document that recognises any agreement as legally binding and is subject to Court approval. Your family lawyer can draft consent orders to legalise the informal arrangements you made with another family member regarding property, children, and spousal maintenance. You can request a consent order at any time during the legal proceedings.

A parenting order is a Court order that dictates how you and your co-parent plan to raise your children after separation. If you cannot agree on decisions about your children, a Judge may decide on your behalf based on the child’s best interests. Parenting orders often include information about the child’s living arrangements, how much time each parent gets to spend with them, and an allocation of parenting responsibilities.

An IVO protects you from a violent family member that is threatening your safety at home. Family violence includes physical, sexual, financial, and emotional abuse. If you need immediate protection, you can apply for a temporary IVO until you can attend a Court hearing to finalise the permanent order. If your children are under 18 years old, you can include them in the Court-ordered protection.

A parenting plan is a document signed and dated by you and your co-parent that defines how you plan to raise your children together. A parenting plan covers a range of areas such as living arrangements, birthdays and holidays, financial responsibilities, and long-term goals related to your children. It is different from a parenting order because it’s not a Court order, and not legally binding.

Contact Our Experienced Family Lawyers for Advice. Call 03 9727 7000.