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Divorce Lawyers Sunshine Coast

"And rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."
- J.K. Rowling​

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Get expert advice on navigating your divorce with ease and confidence.
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Divorce Made Tolerable

Sunshine Coast Divorce Lawyers

Divorce can draw upon your emotions and drain your energy. It can majorly impact your financial, physical, and psychological health, and, in some instances, domestic violence may result. Seeking practical and professional advice can be difficult, especially when you are being given contradictory advice from one family lawyer to the next. Providing reliable information is where our Divorce lawyers can help. As Sunshine Coast specialist divorce lawyers, we believe every person deserves a second chance at a better life.

"Divorce is difficult whether you break up consciously, fight over every detail, or experience domestic violence."

Divorce Law Process

Follow these 6 steps to a successful divorce application

The divorce process can be a trying time. As with all family law matters, a divorce application falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. 

Before 1 September 2021, family law had two separate courts, the Federal Circuit court and the Family Court of Australia.

Australia operates under a no-fault divorce system, meaning the reason for the divorce is irrelevant. All that matters is that the parties involved are seeking one.

To be eligible for a divorce order, it is recommended that you follow these requirements:
You or your partner are an Australian citizen and are currently legally residing in Australia;
At least one party considers the marriage broken down, sometimes because of domestic violence, with no reasonable likelihood of reconciling;
You separated over 12 months ago;
If you have been legally married for less than two years, you must also get a counselling certificate showing you attended counselling.

Marriage Certificate

Be able to produce your marriage certificate.
If you can’t find your marriage certificate, you can get a replacement from the Queensland Registry of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Divorces for a fee;
If you were married overseas and your marriage certificate is in another language, have the certificate translated and attached to an Affidavit of Translation of Marriage Certificate from an accredited translator.


You may apply for a joint application divorce or as a sole applicant.

Marriage and Divorce Statistics 2022

You're not alone living on the Sunshine Coast

Decrease in marriages
1 %
ABS reports the most significant decrease in marriages.
Divorces per 1000 people
1.9 divorces per 1,000 persons is the crude divorce rate.
Divorces in Australia
1 +
In 2020, the number of Australian divorces increased 1.9% to 49,510

Sole application for divorce

Family law matters

As a sole applicant, you do not need a signature from the other party, but you must serve them with the divorce papers.

On the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, you aren’t required to attend a divorce hearing unless you have children under 18 years of age.

Interested in chatting more about divorce?

Filing application for divorce

Joint application

The simplest method is to apply online through the Commonwealth Court Portal. Once registered, you can begin an ‘application for divorce’.

Print the application once you have completed all the questions. Both parties must review the document and sign the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) as joint applicants. A lawyer or Justice of the Peace must witness both signatures.

Submit the document after uploading the Affidavit to the Commonwealth Court Portal. The filing fee is $990. If you can prove financial hardship or possess a relevant concession card, you may be eligible for a reduced fee of $330.

After submission, the court will review your application and set a date for a divorce hearing. On this date, the court will:
Grant the divorce order;
Contact you requesting you provide additional information;
Contact you about correcting any filing mistakes.

For more information on how to file for divorce online, you can refer to our guide here.

Joint divorce application (continued)

You are not required to attend a divorce hearing unless you have indicated your intention to appear on your application.

Once the court has granted the divorce, it will take effect one month and one day after the hearing date. You can download the divorce order from the Commonwealth Court Portal. The order is digitally signed and sealed and is the only official record the court issues certifying your divorce.

As with anything related to family law, there are nuances; and everyone’s circumstances are different. You can submit joint applications without expert legal advice or hire a team like Shanahan Family Law, who will focus on getting your life back on track. To keep your legal fees and expenses to a minimum, we try to keep you out of court and make our time with you as productive as possible.


Children and Family Law

If you and your spouse have dependent children living together on the Sunshine Coast, you will have to settle various issues as a result of child custody. The family courts consider a child’s best interests to be of the utmost importance, and so do our Sunshine Coast divorce lawyers at Shanahan Family Law. Children must be protected under family law during the divorce process to ensure they have a secure environment after the relationship ends. It’s critical, then, to get appropriate parenting agreements in place.

Child support matters

Protecting children's future

As divorce lawyers, child welfare issues are our highest priority when serving as your family solicitor. You and your spouse will be responsible for various parenting matters regarding the maintenance of dependent children.

Child support is a monetary payment made by one or both parents to the other to offer financial support for the upbringing of a child’s health and wellbeing.

Some parents, forgetting that child support payments exist to help their children’s health and wellbeing, spend the money on themselves instead.

child welfare issues are the highest priority of divorce lawyers

Child support levels of care

What is the correct child support I should pay?

Child support can vary greatly. Services Australia has 5 levels of care:

  • below regular care
  • regular care
  • shared care
  • primary care
  • more than primary care.

You may agree with the other person or people caring for the child about what percentage each of you provides. If not, Services Australia will make that determination for you.

A calendar or schedule showing when you care for the child;

A court order or parenting plan detailing your involvement, along with evidence that you are following it;

Proof of travel arrangements such as passport travel dates or airline bookings;

Records of visits to services like health care.

You may also establish a pattern of care through social worker reports and government records. Certain community members who have regular contact with you and your child can also testify to your care arrangement. These community members include people like:
Testimonies can take several forms like text messages, voice recordings, and social media posts. Statements from anyone under 18 are unacceptable.

Payment method

How should I pay child support?

You can collect child support payments in one of two ways:

  • Private Collect

  • Child Support Collect

Private Collect allows parents to make support payments directly to each other. This method only works for parties that don’t need much help agreeing to a plan.

In Child Support Collect, Services Australia will collect payments on your behalf. This option is better if it’s difficult for you to communicate with your former spouse about child support or you’re concerned payments won’t be on time or paid in full.

Australian Government concessions

Two ways to structure a child support agency agreement

1. Limited Child Support Agreement

limited agreement details the amount of child support payable and the frequency and payment method.

To form a limited agreement, you must:

Receive an administrative assessment from the Department of Human Services;
Image source: Services Australia

2. Binding Child Support Agreement

binding agreement is similar to a limited agreement, except that it does not require an administrative assessment, enabling the parents to agree to any amount they choose to set.

To make a binding agreement:

Seek counsel from a qualified Sunshine Coast family lawyer before entering a legal agreement.
Image source: Services Australia

Download Our Child Custody Guide

Get expert advice on navigating your child custody with ease and confidence.

Parenting Agreements

Parenting agreements set out how children will be cared for after a divorce. While there are no fixed rules dictating how to organise parenting arrangements, it’s best if parents can find an agreement. It is often helpful to write down the terms in a parenting plan.

parenting plan

Parenting Plan

You can set up a parenting plan however you feel is best. Once completed, both parents should sign and date the contract. In some cases, it might be advisable to have the signatures witnessed by a third party.
Which parent can best provide day-to-day care;
How to handle their education;
How to meet any medical requirements;
When they stay with each parent;
Continuing their involvement in extracurricular activities;
How you will meet their religious needs.

Parenting Plan Steps

The above list is far from exhaustive, and no detail is too small if you consider it appropriate. It’s also important to keep in mind what your child wants. While parenting plans are helpful, they are not legally binding.

If you want to make a parenting agreement legally enforceable through family law, seek a consent order. Consent orders are legally recognised, and breaking them is an offence that will result in legal consequences. If you intend to make an application for a consent order, it is best to find expert legal advice.


Commonwealth Courts Portal

You must file a consent order with the courts through either:

Parenting Orders

If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree, you can request parenting orders as a last resort. The Family Law Act 1975 contains guidelines governing what the court considers when creating a parenting order.

The primary consideration will always be the child's best interests. The main factors under family law are:

Maintaining a meaningful relationship between the child and both parents;
Maintaining a meaningful relationship between the child and both parents;

Family law courts may consider other factors, including:

Maintaining a meaningful relationship between the child and both parents;
The ability of each parent to look after the child’s needs;
What impact changing the child’s living situation may have;
The practicalities involved in the child seeing each parent;
Any other consideration the court deems relevant.
Luke Shanahan
If you search ‘Divorce lawyers near me’ on Google, then Shanahan Family law might be able to help. Book a Parenting Orders consultation and get your family law matter back on track.
Assets and debts during divorce

Assets and Debts

The equitable division of relationship assets as part of a property settlement, including how to handle debt, is a necessary process. It’s also crucial to understand what constitutes a relationship asset in the first place.

Relationship Assets

Relationship assets can include:

All assets, whether the parties own them jointly or individually, are considered part of the relationship’s asset pool. Assets the parties brought into the relationship are pooled as well. It’s even the case that assets obtained after separation count at the court’s discretion.

With the rising cost of living and surging Sunshine Coast home prices, it’s more vital than ever to ensure you get your full entitlement.

Sunshine Coast Principal Luke Shanahan works to bring justice to all parties involved.

Image: Maroochydore, Sunshine Coast

Property Settlement

A property settlement can be made informally without the oversight of a family lawyer if you can agree with your former spouse on the terms of the property division. However, you will have no recourse to protection from the court if the other party declines to follow the agreement.

Outside of an informal arrangement, there are two methods for settling property matters if you agree: consent orders and binding financial agreements.

Consent Orders

Consent orders turn property settlements into legally binding contracts under family law. They can cover all aspects of a financial order, such as the division of property and superannuation splitting.

You can seek family law consent orders jointly through a family lawyer without needing either party to attend court.

Before the court accepts your consent order, it must be sure that it is fair and just. Otherwise, it might not grant it.

You must apply for a consent order within a year of a divorce or two years from the breakdown of a de facto relationship.


Financial Agreements

Both parties agree to a property settlement when entering into a financial agreement. There is no requirement for a financial agreement to be fair, and neither spouse needs to attend family law court. However, you must meet two more criteria before it is considered binding:

  • Both parties must receive independent legal advice regarding how the financial agreements affect their interests;
  • Both parties must get a certificate showing they have received legal counsel.

Note: Formalising your agreement typically exempts you from any transfer/stamp duty that would otherwise be payable when transferring ownership of specific assets.

Four Step Court Process

If the court is required to make an order dividing property on behalf of the parties, it will do so through a four-step process:
Identify and value all property and assets of the relationship, deducting any debts to find the net value of the asset pool.
Consider the contributions made by both spouses, whether financial or otherwise.

Assess the future needs of both spouses. This step may consider:

  • Future earning capacity;
  • Whether one partner is taking primary responsibility for children under 18;
  • The impact of any medical issues;
  • Any other relevant matters.
Based on the previous steps, make a final decision about how to distribute assets fairly and equitably.

Joint applications for divorce

Let's work together

Even a joint divorce application can be daunting, let alone when you’re considering filing for a divorce online. Perhaps you have questions about submitting your application to the courts, or you aren’t sure where to start. We’re here to help guide you through the process.

Interested in chatting more about a joint divorce application?

Joint applications for divorce

Let's work together

Even a joint divorce application can be daunting, let alone when you’re considering filing for a divorce online. Perhaps you have questions about submitting your application to the courts, or you aren’t sure where to start. We’re here to help guide you through the process.

Interested in chatting more about a joint divorce application?

Meet The Owner

Luke Shanahan​

Principal Solicitor​

As principal solicitor of Shanahan Family Law in Maroochydore, Luke Shanahan is a reliable and experienced Sunshine Coast family law expert, offering compassionate support to people and families experiencing the most difficult circumstances through a divorce or separation. Whether you’re seeking help with child support, parenting matters, divorce, property consent orders, financial agreements, domestic violence, joint applications for divorce, or the preparation of DIY affidavits and consent orders, Luke can help.

As sad as it is to see couples and families split, he feels privileged to be able to help his clients find a better life through their family law services. “I believe we all deserve a second chance at finding a better life, and if this is through a divorce, then we will do everything we can to ensure our client’s success through whatever means.”



Take a look at what our clients say

Robert Johnston
Robert Johnston
I was very happy with my experience at Shanahan Family Law. Danyelle guided me through the property settlement and a satisfactory outcome was reached. This was achieved without going to mediation or court.
Diana Homer
Diana Homer
Very professional, supportive and respectful in all communications and responsibilities. I found their team very patient when challenges occured and kept me informed at all times. Highly recommend them, for personal legal requirements.
Jodie Hickson
Jodie Hickson
Many thanks to the hard working team at Shanahan law. All such professionals.
Trace Mcnamara
Trace Mcnamara
I was pleasantly surprised from the very beginning with my experience with shanahans family law ,from the reception staff at shanahans ,who were lovely and tentative and at how comfortable and at ease Danielle O’Connor from shanahans family law made me feel from Our very first phone consult to attending court with me each time , Danielle constantly reassured me that she had things taken care of and not to worry about anything ,she kept me calm and relaxed about things at a time when my anxiety level was very high , but certainly not after meeting up with Danielle each time , Danielle was always punctual bright and cheerful and Danielles compassion for her clients shines through ,her passion for her work is very obvious , Danielle ALWAYS went out of her way to reassure me everything was ok like a long lost friend not just once but every single time without fail ,Danielle is just so lovely to be around her compassion, personality ,demeanour and easy going nature makes it a pleasant experience just being around her ,watching Danielle work with such competency ,multi tasking whilst also listening to me at the same time was also very reassuring , her interactions with the magistrate ,other solicitors and the way she Carries herself is also inspiring to watch ,I could honestly not recommend Danielle O’Connor at shanahans enough,she even took the time to come in for my case alone whilst she was on a well deserved leave break, wich I felt terrible about but am more than grateful for as it made all the difference to my case, even though our case is now over with an amazing win ( THANKYOU DANIELLE ) I feel like I am missing a friend. If you ever need a solicitor and are very stressed about a case Danielle O’Connor is definitely who I would recommend, Danielle was also very understanding of monetary issues and did her best at all times to keep costs at a minimum for me wich I also appreciated a great deal , also I would also like to mention Travis Terracall who was also very compassionate and caring and seemed to understand my situation, I wanted to let Travis know that I appreciated his empathy towards my situation at the time . It certainly helped me. If I could have give 100 stars I would . I hope both you and you partner have a very beautiful relaxed and lovely well deserved holiday break Danielle, I’m so sorry It was interrupted due to my case and again Thank you so much not just for your amazing work but your beautiful kindness and compassion . And just being you ! with much gratitude Tracy McNamara 🌸🫶😊
David Fenech
David Fenech
Highly recommend Shanahan Family Law and Lindsay Nicholson for all your family law needs.
Nathan Batley
Nathan Batley
I found this firm excellent to deal with. I had received some exorbitant quotes for executing what was really quite a straightforward matter in my case. Shanahans were prompt, professional and fairly priced. I've was very happy with their service.
Chris Mehonoshen
Chris Mehonoshen
Having experienced the sunny disposition of Danielle at Shanahan Family Law I can say that anyone would be in good hands. Danielle is very understanding and shows great insight in analysing the situation and cutting to the heart of the matter. Both Danielle and Shanahan Law are very professional and respond promptly in a care manner. Very happy with my choice there.
Nicole Mcmullen
Nicole Mcmullen
I can highly recommend Luke and his associates for their professionalism and thoughtfulness. I really didn't know what to expect when I needed the advice and assistance of a solicitor, but Luke has been extremely patient and kind in leading me through this process.

Navigate Your Divorce with Confidence: Expert Guidance on the Sunshine Coast

Embarking on the path of divorce can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. Shanahan Family Law offers compassionate, expert legal advice to guide you through every step. From property settlements to child custody, our dedicated team ensures your rights are protected, and the process is as smooth as possible. Secure peace of mind and a fair outcome with our trusted divorce lawyers. Start your journey to a new chapter today.

Want to understand more about Family Law?

Contact Our Sunshine Coast Support Team

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