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Family Law

Family law advice

The Family Court takes a staged approach to determining the division of matrimonial property. Those stages are generally:

  • Ascertain the pool of assets
  • Place a value in terms of percentages on the contributions of the parties to the acquisitions, preservation and maintenance of the matrimonial assets.
  • Adjust those percentages where appropriate to obtain a percentage distribution of the matrimonial assets to each of the parties.


In the large majority of cases the Court considers that two parties to the marriage make equal contributions to property. Short marriages or cases where a large contribution was made in the latter stages of the marriage may be dealt with differently. Contributions at home as primary parent and home maker usually equal contributions of the main breadwinner.

The Court will adjust the division of the property away from a 50:50 split to allow for the different needs of the parties. If one parent has sacrificed work skills and experience to remain home looking after the children or performing the majority of the domestic chores, that person often could not get a job in the future earning a similar income to the parent who has remained in the workforce. The needs of the parent who has fewer skills is therefore greater especially if there remain children under 18 to be cared for by that parent.

Many other factors must be considered by the Court when dividing property. It is also the case that only about 5% of matters are decided by the Judge leaving the large majority of cases to be resolved by agreement between the parties. Lawyers form an important part of the process leading to an agreement by advising their clients of their entitlements and negotiating on that client’s behalf.

When two parents separate often an immediate result is the child/ren remain initially with one of the parents for the majority of the time. The other parent will spend time with the child/ren regularly such as alternate weekends, a period of the school holidays and perhaps some time through the week. When it is not practical to spend time together the child/ren may still be in contact with the other parent by telephone, email, video transmission through the internet, letters or some other means.

The child/ren who spend the majority of time with one parent is/are said to live with that parent and spend time with the other parent as set out above. However, “Parenting Orders” are not confined to parents and may relate to grandparents or other significant people in a child’s life.

There are no set rules which state which parent the child/ren should be with the majority of the time or what amount of contact the other parent should have. Usually it is in the child/ren’s best interest as they grow to spend time with both parents and the parents are encouraged throughout the Family Law process to come to an arrangement themselves if possible, which promotes the best interest of the child/ren.

There is only one ground for Divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The Family Law Act provides that the test to be applied in determining the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is whether the parties have been separated for at least twelve months prior to the application being lodged.

Separation occurs sometimes with the parties both remaining in the home. This is called “separation under the same roof”.

It is rare for a Divorce to be contested. The Divorce hearings are conducted in an informal manner and only take about 5 minutes if the Application is in order.

A Divorce is granted in two stages. They are Decree Nisi at the date of the divorce hearing and a Decree Absolute one month later.

We would strongly advise you to obtain legal advice relating to your specific circumstances to ensure that you have all the information you need on your rights and obligations together with the options available to you to assist you in resolving any family law matter.

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Jayne Howarth

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Jayne has recently joined the team at Meehans Solicitors as a Solicitor in the Family Law Department working alongside Accredited Family Law Specialist Sean Cahill.

Jayne has over 10 years’ experience in the legal industry having worked in a range of fields including Criminal Law and Personal Injury.

During Jayne’s lengthy legal career she has developed her skills in communication, time management, and problem solving, all of which have shaped her as the experienced Solicitor she is today.

Jayne is kind, patient and understanding, and has a passion for helping people. Jayne has a young family of her own which has led her to follow her passion in Family Law to assist families just like her own.

Amy Pallister

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Amy Pallister joined our Meehans team as a solicitor in 2020 and is based at our Campbelltown office.

After working in the CBD for most of her career, Amy decided to join a firm local to her home to be able to provide legal services to the Macarthur community.

Amy’s core practice areas are Property Law and Wills & Estates, with experience in sales and purchases of residential and commercial properties, residential off the plan developments, commercial and retail leasing, drafting of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Enduring Guardianship documents and the administration of deceased estates. 

Amy’s approachability together with her legal knowledge & experience, enables her clients to access the advice they are seeking whilst feeling at ease and empowered.

Amy strives to provide exceptional standards of service to her clients and the community alongside the rest of the Meehans team.

Angel Georgieff

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Angel Georgieff joined Meehans Solicitors in early 2018 initially as a law clerk and staying on after being admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW as a Solicitor in 2018.  Angel holds a dual degree in Bachelor of Business and Commerce and a Bachelor of Law.  Angel is predominantly working out of our Ingleburn office working alongside our Principal Paul Meehan, which is providing him with a sound understanding and general knowledge in a variety of areas including Property Law, Wills and Estates, Criminal Law and Commercial Law.

Angel has grown up in the local areas and is well known, he participates and is an executive in the Ingleburn Chamber of Commerce and is carving a niche for himself in the business community in the local area, who are aware of his passion and dedication to provide them with legal services in a manner that empowers them and makes them feel at ease.

Angel believes that the local area has provided him with enormous opportunities and he is keen to give back and provide his expertise to the people of Macarthur.  He believes that Meehans having been in the area for over 30 years is the perfect platform for him to serve the community.

John Pacchiarotta

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Note – John is currently on extended leave.

John Pacchiarotta is a senior solicitor with over 30 years legal experience in private practice and the government sector.

He has a Master of Laws from the Australian National University, a Master of Arts from the University of Sydney and Bachelor of Science major in psychology from the University of New South Wales and financial planning qualifications.

John has extensive experience in sensitive commercial and litigious matters. He has represented local councils, sporting bodies and commercial enterprises. John’s current focus is in assisting clients with litigation, business related issues, estate planning, superannuation and property related matters, building disputes and local council applications. John compliments the Meehan’s team with his commercial negotiation skills and many years of experience in handling complex mediation and litigation.

John was a Director on the Board of St. Patrick’s Ladies College from 2007 – 2015.

From 2008-2011 John was appointed to the Law Society of NSW Litigation Law and Practice Committee.

From 2014 – 2016 John was appointed to the Environmental Planning and Development Committee.

Susanne Namrawi

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

susanne@meehans.com.au

Susanne Namrawi is a senior solicitor with over 14 years experience, having joined our team at Meehans in 2006.

Susanne heads our Narellan office but like all solicitors, Susanne is available at all three office locations.

Susanne has a bubbly, energetic personality, which brings a fresh energetic and professional approach to her work.

Susanne’s main areas of work is conveyancing, retail and commercial leases, Wills, Probate and related matters.

Susanne is a proud resident of the Macarthur region.  She has a young family attending local schools and community sports and her husband runs a local trade business that gives her the life experiences to empathise with her local clients.

Susanne is a proud, loyal and committed member of the Meehans team and is committed to providing Exceptional Personal Service to clients of our firm and the local community now and into the future.

Sean Cahill

Solicitor/Public Notary

02 4627 3333

sean@meehans.com.au

Sean Cahill joined our team at Meehans in 2002. Sean has been an Accredited Family Law Specialist. since 2003 and has been a solicitor for 30 years. Sean says “Family Law can be a complex area of law that intersects with other areas of law including, Criminal Law, Corporations Law, Property Law, Wills and estates. Everyone’s circumstances are different and no two cases are ever exactly the same. This is where Sean’s experience in these broad areas of law ensures that you achieve the best possible outcome. If you need legal advice or representation then Sean will be able to explain the law to you in a language that you can understand.

Sean is also a Public Notary and assists clients with the witnessing of international documents. Sean’s unique sense of humour assist clients in developing a sense of perspective at a difficult time in their lives.

Bill Meehan

Special Counsel

02 4627 3333

bill@meehans.com.au

William (Bill) Meehan joined our team at Meehans in approximately 1994 after retiring as a Local Court Magistrate. As a senior member of our firm,  Bill assists in mentoring our solicitors in all facets of the law particularly in ethics, litigation and Court procedure due to his extensive knowledge and wisdom of the Court system and the ethics required of a lawyer.

Bill greatly assists his son Paul in the management of the business as the Office Manager.  Bill brings quality assurance to the firm my managing procedures and compliance.

BIll was instrumental in ensuring that Meehans were one of the first firms to achieve Best Practice Accreditation (Law 9000).

Bill has given greatly to the local Campbelltown community as well as the law.  He is the founding member of the Campbelltown Catholic Club and holds the prestigous member number 1 badge.  He has also been honoured by the Law Society for providing over 50 years of legal service:-

http://www.macarthuradvertiser.com.au/story/4118869/fifty-years-of-legal-service-recognised

He is a proud father and grandfather and enjoys working with his son and granddaughter and giving them the benefit of his experience.

Brittany Meehan

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

brittany@meehans.com.au

Brittany Meehan is the daughter of our Principal Paul Meehan and was born and raised in the Macarthur area. Brittany has been part of the Meehans Solicitors team for over fifteen years and during this time has gained valuable experience in various areas of the law including Family Law, Property Law and Wills and Estates to name a few. Brittany started working with Meehans Solicitors as a Law Clerk in 2009 whilst completing her studies in Law and Commerce at the University of Western Sydney, and was admitted to practice in February 2015.

Brittany prides herself on providing all her clients with the exceptional personal service Meehans is recognised for, and always goes above and beyond to ensure her clients feel comfortable and at ease. 

Property Law is Brittany’s passion, and something that she is engaged in on a daily basis. Brittany oversees the busy Conveyancing Department at our Campbelltown office, and is a well known face to many local real estate agents. It is her goal to ensure that the process of buying and selling property is both smooth and hassle free.

In addition to Property Law Brittany also practices in the areas of Wills and Estate Planning (including the drafting of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Enduring Guardianship documents, and the administration of deceased estates), as well as both Retail and Commercial Leasing. 

Brittany also assists in the day to day management of the business, and is always willing to lend a hand to anyone in the team. 

Brittany resides in the Macarthur area with her husband and young children, and is proud to follow in the footsteps of her father in her commitment to providing legal services to the Macarthur community for the next generation to come.

Paul Meehan

Principal

02 4627 3333

paul@meehans.com.au

Paul Meehan is the Principal of the firm having established Meehans in 1989 with his brother. He and his team at Meehans have been committed to providing legal services in the Macarthur area for over 30 years.

Paul has developed his expertise over the years advising a vast array of clients ranging from local mums and dads and their family to well known ASX listed Companies.

His passion and open style of communication, together with his extensive commercial and property experience puts his clients at ease. He is a skilled problem solver and negotiator, and he combines these skills with his knowledge and experience to achieve positive outcomes for his clients both in and out of Court.

Paul’s experience extends to the High Court where he acted for Master Education Services Pty Ltd in the case of MES v Ketchell (2008) HCA 38. This case is invariably referred to as the most significant Franchise decision in Australian history, and was the first case on the Franchising Code of Conduct to be heard in the High Court.

Paul’s experience and expertise is also sought after outside of the law given his role as a Non-Executive Director of a number of Companies including ASX listed Companies.

He brings all his experience and expertise to his clients and staff to achieve the best outcome.

Paul is the driving force behind the Meehans vision statement which is “to provide that exceptional personal service”.


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