On Thursday 20 October 2022, several of our Sydney family lawyers had the privilege of attending day one of the Fundamentals of Family Law Workshop, hosted by Law Inform of the New South Wales Law Society.

Ms Fiona Kirkman lead the interactive workshop in an engaging and informative manner, sharing her own unique experience as an Accredited Specialist in Family Law and Mediator. Ms Kirkman provided a practical digest of several fundamental principles underpinned by the Family Law Act, as well as providing practical pointers to be considered by solicitors in their aims to resolve their clients’ disputes.

Day one can be broken down into 3 digestible fundamentals which our attending team of expert family lawyers will explain further below.

Dispute Resolution

Our top family lawyers noted that Court is a last resort, and so the consideration of alternative methods of resolving a dispute between separating couples is essential. The methods of negotiation, mediation and arbitration should be considered, as well as the increasingly common utilisation of Collaborative Practice. This unique method of ADR is like a mediation, however while the separating couple can choose to abandon the process and proceed to litigate at any time, the divorce lawyers who represent them during the process cannot, thus encouraging participants to settle their dispute without the need for court.

Moreover, the merger of the Federal Circuit and Family Court in September 2021 pressed a greater impetus for parties to engage in alternative dispute resolution methods, before and throughout the Court process. Through this, saving them significant expense and time in resolving their matter.


Further, our divorce lawyers noted that the aftermath of the covid pandemic, the increased cost of living, and consistent interest rate rises mean that couples are more commonly living under the same roof after they have separated. Further, it is reported that a more recent tightening of lending criteria is making it more difficult for a person on a single income to obtain a home loan, leaving many separated couples no choice but to continue living under the same roof.
If separation under one roof applies in your case, an affidavit prepared by an independent witness will need to accompany a divorce application, whether this is jointly or solely applied for. This should provide evidence to show that a couple has separated despite living under the same roof, including:
> Any changes in sleeping arrangements,
> A reduction in shared activities or family outings,
> A decline in performing household duties for each other or,
> A division of finances, for example a separation of bank accounts.


Our top family lawyers have great insight into, and regard for, the social science principles which underpin many factors considered by the Court in parenting matters. One of the core psychological theories referred to and considered by our family law specialists and within the family law sphere is attachment theory. This is particularly with regard to ensuring the best interests of children as required by the Family Law Act. The theory was formulated by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby, and its social science principles are embedded in Australian Family Law, particularly with respect to parenting.
A core tenet of this theory is that the normal social and emotional development of children is best evidenced when they develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver.

Further, a child’s proximity to an attachment figure in stressful situations is crucial to their development, in so far that infants will become attached to a caregiver who is sensitive and responsive in social interactions with them, and who remain as consistent caregivers for majority of the time from about six months to two years of age.
This is an important consideration for parents to consider when seeking parenting arrangements for their children after separating, particularly for a parent who is a primary caregiver.

Consult The Top Family Lawyers In Sydney

At O’Sullivan Legal, our team of family law specialists take great pride and privilege in attending such events to ensure their continual professional development and continued betterment in the approach and execution of representation.