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Is There a Difference Between a Family Lawyer and a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorce lawyers and family lawyers can both assist you during a divorce. Depending on the circumstances, the terms may be used interchangeably, however, there are nuanced differences between them. Divorce is in fact a subset of family law.

Author: Tom Ellicott 

10 January 2023

Access Law Group provides expertise in a variety of areas within family law for clients in Sydney, Wollongong, and Camden. Below, we detail the difference between a family lawyer and divorce lawyer.

What Do Family Lawyers Do?

Most family lawyers handle divorce along with other family law issues. This may include child custody, child support, spousal support, family dispute resolution, adoption, guardianship, paternity, orders of protection and more.

Some family lawyers also extend their practice to other legal areas considered to be related to family issues, for example, estate planning and administration, binding financial agreements, real estate transactions in accordance with family law property settlements, and business matters.

What Does a Divorce Lawyer Do?

In most cases, when you hire a divorce lawyer you’ll be dealing with a lawyer who has a broad range of expertise in the area of family law (and sometimes other areas). They’ll be acting as your divorce lawyer for the purposes of finalising your divorce. It is important to remember that a Divorce Order is separate from a property settlement or child custody agreement. Legal advice should be obtained prior to proceeding with an application for Divorce.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce?

In Australia, you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to get divorced. Many people do so without one, especially when the divorce is amicable and straightforward. Since 1975, Australian divorce has worked under a “no-fault” principle. The only requirement to be granted a divorce is the ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of the marriage, meaning you’ve been separated for 12 months with no likelihood of getting back together.

It’s important to note that you still need to resolve issues of child custody arrangements and splitting property separately to your divorce. If there are children of the marriage under the age of 18 when getting a divorce, the court must be satisfied there are appropriate parenting arrangements in place between the two parties.

Seeking Legal Advice for Disputes

If you cannot resolve, or foresee not being able to resolve, disputes about shared assets or arrangements for children, it’s a good idea to speak with a divorce lawyer or family lawyer. Appropriate legal advice is invaluable for guiding you through the family law process, while ensuring you’re aware of your rights, entitlements and obligations.

A family law firm may have specialised family dispute resolution lawyers to help mediate disputes over the division of assets or parenting arrangements and offer potential compromises and solutions.

Divorce and Family Lawyers in Wollongong, Camden and Sydney

At Access Law Group, our family law team includes divorce lawyers, family lawyers and other experts to assist you in managing legal issues across a broad cross section of areas, from applying for divorce to addressing property matters, parenting matters, and dealing with matters where there is a history of family violence. For advice in Wollongong, Camden, and Sydney, call us today on 02 4220 7100 or contact us online.