Forte Family Lawyers Melbourne

Our Melbourne team of professional Family Lawyers give strategic advice and representation, drawing upon our extensive experience and knowledge. We provide pragmatic solutions and personalised service and care.

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Our advice is accurate and up to date. Our Melbourne lawyers pride themselves in being at the forefront of changes in family law.


Forte Family Lawyers is a leading Melbourne family law firm. Its partners, Jacky Campbell, Wendy Kayler-Thomson, Jason Walker and Jemma Mackenzie, are Accredited Specialists in Family Law. Our team of lawyers provide expert guidance and high quality services.

Forte Family Lawyers Partners
“I can’t thank you enough Jacky – you’ve been an amazing support and incredibly diligent and thoughtful and patient.”

Liz – Melbourne

“Thank-you for the great result today, please have a really enjoyable holiday.
On behalf of mum and myself we appreciate the hard work since you have taken over the file.”

Sam – Melbourne

“Thank you for your decisive and clear advice at all times during this process…you handled this both empathetically and professionally.”

David – Melbourne


We are mindful of the emotional issues often involved in family and relationship breakdown. We aim to help you reach a negotiated out-of-court settlement. But if court proceedings are necessary, you will be expertly assisted to achieve the best outcome possible.

Family Law Reforms

Australia’s family law landscape is undergoing significant changes that may impact separated parents. The Family Law Amendment Act 2023 (FLAA) is at the centre of these reforms, aiming to streamline and clarify certain aspects of family law.

These changes will impact parents, children, and legal professionals alike.

In this article, we are delving into the amendments, shedding light on what they mean for separated parents and families.

> Read Our Article


Forte Family Lawyers is experienced in all aspects of family and relationship law.


Reaching agreement on appropriate arrangements for the care of children after separation is a priority for separating parents.

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Most separated couples need a property and financial settlement following the breakdown of their relationship.

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Prenuptial and other Financial Agreements provide a couple with the comfort of knowing how their assets will be divided.

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Divorce is only one aspect of family law. It is the process of finalising a marriage and is quite separate from sorting out future parenting arrangements and dividing up property.

Family violence can affect the outcome of parenting disputes, and sometimes financial settlements. Victorian laws offer protection where there has been family violence.
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Child support and spousal maintenance can be important aspects of a financial settlement. We give advice and options as to the best approach and outcome
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In most cases the law that applies to same sex relationships about parenting and financial issues is the same as the law that applies to heterosexual couples. There are, however, complex laws in relation to parenting.
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We live in a world where people are more likely to move overseas for work and study, or invest overseas, than they did in the past. As a result, separating couples need advice about their rights and entitlements under both Australian and overseas laws.

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Some of the complex asset structures that we regularly deal with include family and unit trusts, companies, partnerships, joint ventures, businesses, property developments, self managed superannuation funds, share options and overseas trusts and assets.
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Separation and bankruptcy often coincide, or one may follow the other. We act for trustees in bankruptcy and the spouse of a bankrupt or potential bankrupt.

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Superannuation is treated as part of the property pool. Superannuation can be complex, particularly defined benefits and self-managed superannuation.
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There are many ways to resolve family law disputes. The options include negotiation, mediation, family dispute resolution, arbitration and litigation.

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Sometimes third parties become involved in the family law dispute between a separating couple. A person or a company might be owed money by the couple. Third parties might become involved in the dispute about a property settlement or about the future care of a child.

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Sally Gould


Caitlin Ferrier


Bridget Heagney


Frequent Topics

Evolving ‘Best Interests’ Factors For Post-Separation Parenting – What You Need To Know About Family Law Reforms in 2023

Australia's family law landscape is undergoing significant changes that may impact separated parents. The Family Law Amendment Act 2023 (FLAA) is at the centre of these reforms, aiming to streamline and clarify certain aspects of family law. These changes will impact parents, children, and legal professionals alike.  Please...

read more

Super-Size Me: Superannuation Splitting and Family Law

Introduction Most property settlements under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (FLA) involve a consideration of superannuation. Even the smallest property pools will usually include some superannuation. On 1 July 2022 the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions increased to 10.5 % of earnings. This is now the minimum...

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Recent Cases in Bankruptcy & Family Law

Bankruptcy issues frequently arise when parties separate - either contributing to the reasons for the separation or as an outcome of the separation. When bankruptcy and separation occur at the same time the question is: which legislation applies to determine whether the trustee in bankruptcy or the non-bankrupt spouse takes...

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How Much Child Support Should I Pay?

Either parent can apply for a child support assessment. Child Support issues an assessment setting out the amount of child support payable by one parent to the other. The assessment is based on a formula. The level of child support varies depending on such factors as: the number of children of the relationship; the amount of...

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Tips to Keep Your Family Law Costs Down

We appreciate that payment of legal costs can present a challenge for many clients. We will work with you to ensure your case is dealt with as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.  We will be transparent about our professional fees and the other out of pocket costs (referred to as ‘disbursements’) you may incur at...

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) support services
CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) support services
Child abduction
Child protection (DHHS)
Child support
Dispute resolution
Family violence
Financial matters / Property settlement
Financial statements
Financial counselling
Individual support (helplines)
LGBTIQ support services
Professional bodies
Superannuation and superannuation information request forms

These websites offer general information about family law and link to support services which may be useful to separating couples.

They are for convenience only. Forte Family Lawyers does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of the information on the websites.


Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency

An Aboriginal child and family welfare organisation offering numerous programs to strengthen families, provide parenting support, and respond to family violence.

Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women’s Service Inc

A service for Aboriginal women experiencing family violence. Services include counselling, court support, and a high security refuge.
Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support Services

Information about the range of services offered by RAV to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about family relationships.


Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

Telephone and onsite interpreting and document translation services. Telephone interpreting can often be provided immediately without a booking.

Immigrant Women’s Domestic Violence Service

Telephone service for women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds who are victims of domestic violence.
1800 755 988

inTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence

A state-wide service for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) people in response to family violence. Services include crisis support, phone service, therapeutic counselling, men’s behaviour change program, group work, children’s groups, women’s groups, family camps, and holiday programs.


Attorney General’s Webpage

This website contains information about international child abduction, steps to prevent a child being removed from Australia, guide for applying for the return of a child taken from Australia under the Hague Convention and contact details.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) – Family Law Watch list

This website includes information about the police and family law, the Family Law Watch List (airport watch list), how to place your child on the Family Law Watch List and what to do if your child is on the watch list.

International Social Service (ISS) Australia

An independent, not for profit organisation that provides assistance to families experiencing international parental child abduction. Includes downloadable general information brochure about international parental child abduction.

Australian Passport Office – Child Alert

This website includes information about making a Child Alert request with a link to the child alert request form.


Child protection (DHHS)

This website provides information regarding the role and services provided by the Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection unit.


Services Australia (Child Support)
Information on this website includes the child-support assessment process, child-support online estimators, options for the payment and collection of child support, issues when children or parents lived outside Australia and support for people affected by family violence.

New applications for child support can be made online from this page.

Child Support Forms
This page provides links to child support forms including Application to Change your Assessment – Special Circumstances, Application for Post Separation Income to be Excluded, Child over 18 in full-time secondary education, Child Support Agreement form, Estimate of Income for use in child support assessment, Non-agency payment details.

Child Support Guides
A parent’s guide to child support, containing a range of information to help parents understand the child support scheme:

A technical guide to the Australian child support system containing information about the scheme, child support assessments, registrable maintenance liabilities, the rules relating to objections, reviews, appeals and Court applications under the child support legislation, and options for collection of child support payments:


Family Court of Australia
Information available includes daily Court lists, online forms, downloadable brochures, Court filing fees, costs, judgements, legislation, contact details. Contains a wide range of useful information and resources for separated parents and couples, kids and young people and grandparents and other family members including issues arising upon separation, divorce, child related issues, family violence, property and financial matters and the Court process.

Federal Circuit Court of Australia
Information available includes daily Court lists, online forms, downloadable brochures, Court filing fees, costs, judgements, legislation, contact details. Contains a wide range of useful information and resources for separated parents and couples, kids and young people and grandparents and other family members including issues arising upon separation, divorce, child related issues, family violence, property and financial matters and the court process. Applications for divorce can be made online through the website.

Commonwealth Courts portal
Access to your family law matter online. From this site you can see a list of documents filed and Orders made, file court documents online, see upcoming Court dates.

Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
Information available includes daily Court lists, online forms, legislation, contact details. Contains a range of information regarding intervention orders, personal safety intervention orders and Court support services.


Family Relationship Centres
This website provides general information about ways you can reach agreement about your parenting and property issues without attending court. The Advice Line also provides phone information and referrals: 1800 050 321

Arbitration and Mediation
AIFLAM – The Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators
An independent body that promotes and offers training in both Family law arbitration and mediation. Jacky Campbell is a member of AIFLAM and is an arbitrator on this website.


Intervention orders
The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria can make intervention orders to protect people who have experienced violent or threatening or abusive behaviour.
Support services
A wide range of services are available to offer information and support for those experiencing or have experienced family violence.

1800 RESPECT National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Service

National 24/7 phone and online referral, information and support service for men, women and children.

Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria
Not-for-profit state wide resource centre that provides training, publications, research and other resources of those experiencing (or who have experienced) family violence, and practitioners and service organisations who work with family violence survivors.

Safe Steps
Emergency accommodation, 24 hour crisis line, referral, information and support services for women and children.

No To Violence – Men’s Referral Service
Confidential telephone service provided for men by men.

1300 766 491

Telephone and online support, information and referral for men with family and relationship concerns.

1300 78 99 78


Family Court Website
This website of the Family Court provides information regarding financial matters, including reaching agreement without going to Court, spousal maintenance and steps to be undertaken if you agree, or don’t agree, about property and finance matters.



Family Court of Australia website
This page on the website of the Family Court provides information regarding a party’s obligation to provide full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances and how to complete a Financial Statement, which must be filed with the Court if a party is seeking a property settlement, spousal maintenance, child support or financial enforcement.



Family Mediation Centre
Financial difficulties arise for a whole range of reasons including separation or inability to manage figures or face conflict. FMC’s financial counselling service is free, confidential and delivered by professionals.



Beyond Blue
This website includes information and support to help members of the community to achieve their best possible mental health. It provides contact information for targeted national helplines and websites as well as support groups and online forums.

This website provides information for those experiencing a personal crisis and gives access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. It also provides tool kits and referrals to online peer support forums.



This website provides access to legislation and Rules, including:

  • Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) – the main legislation covering family law disputes
  • Family Law Rules 2004 (Cth) – rules governing the court process in the Family Court of Australia
  • Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 (Cth) – rules governing the court process in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia
  • Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth) – legislation about the calculation of child support
  • Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1989 (Cth) – legislation about the collection of child support
  • Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Vic) – legislation dealing with family violence and intervention orders


Gender Help for Parents
Website to help parents find information and services for issues relating to children’s gender identity.

Drummond St – Queerspace
Services provided include individual, couple, and whole of family counselling, relationship and parenting support services, and assistance to victims of family violence for LGBTIQ people.

A national counselling and referral service for LGBTIQ people. It offers a support line as well as web-counselling through an online chat.


Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia
The Family Law Section is a professional association for family law practitioners. Their website provides general information for the public about family law and family lawyers.

Law Institute of Victoria
The Law Institute of Victoria is the peak body for the Victorian legal profession. Their website includes general information for the public about the law and lawyers in Victoria.

Australian Institute of Conveyancing
The Australian Institute of Conveyancing is the peak professional body representing licensed conveyancers in Victoria. Their website provides information regarding where to locate the services of an AIC member near you.

Australian Property Institute
The Australian Property Institute is the leading membership organisation for property professionals. Their website provides information with respect to qualified and experienced property professionals who can assist in your matter, for example by valuing your property.

International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL)
The IAFL is a worldwide association of lawyers who are recognised as the most experienced and skilled family law specialists in their respective countries.This website can help you find an experienced family lawyer in Australia or overseas.

Victorian Bar
The Victorian Bar is the professional association of barristers in Victoria. The website provides information about the role of a barrister and includes profiles for all Victorian barristers.


These website pages provide access to the Superannuation Information Kit, which provides the forms you need, being the Form 6 Declaration, Superannuation Information Request Form and the Superannuation Information Form, to obtain information from the Trustee of an eligible superannuation plan in order to value a superannuation interest.

Family Court of Australia website

Federal Circuit Court website

Note: many superannuation funds provide their own version of these forms and/or online fact sheets and booklets regarding the valuation and splitting of superannuation for family law purposes.


Family Court Website
This website of the Family Court provides information regarding financial matters, including reaching agreement without going to Court, spousal maintenance and steps to be undertaken if you agree, or don’t agree, about property and finance matters.

Customer Reviews

David T.
I would personally like to thank Jacky and Matthew for their assistance during a difficult period in my life. They made the ordeal seem seamless and kept me up to date with all aspects of my matter. I would not hesitate to recommend their services to anyone who requires a family lawyer.
Gunter L.
Jackie Campbell and her associates provided our family the highest quality service in a very difficult matter. At all times Jackie shared her professional experience with compassion, expert clarity and focus to follow process in order to allow settlement in the best interest of the younger family members who matter most in family disputes. If ever required we would not hesitate to utilise her services again and highly recommend Forte Lawyers to others seeking a high quality expert family lawyer.
Christopher S.
Legal Minds retained Jackie Campbell (Partner) of Forte Family Lawyers to prepare an expert witness report that was relied upon in complex litigation in the NSW Supreme Court involving six parties. The matter concerned the drafting and procedures required for entering into a purported financial agreement. Jackie was focused, punctual and delivered a comprehensive analysis that all parties considered making it possible to settle without the cost and imposition of ongoing protracted litigation. We are grateful to have had the benefit of Jackie's professional knowledge and expertise to assist us and would not hesitate to retain her services again.

Contact Forte Family Lawyers Melbourne


Our professional Family Lawyers in Melbourne are ready to listen.

Level 2
535 Bourke Street
Melbourne 3000 Victoria Australia

PO Box 13172
Law Courts
8010 Victoria Australia
DX 364 Melbourne

61 3 9248 5800



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Family Lawyers Melbourne

Frequently Asked Questions

Hidden First Field
How long do family law matters take to resolve?

Timeframes for resolving family law matters vary, depending on many factors. If both parties agree in most areas, it can be a simple and straightforward process, avoiding the need for family law proceedings. Each family law matter has unique factors, but most parenting problems and property settlements can be negotiated between parties and their lawyers to achieve a fair and equitable outcome.
It’s always helpful to seek legal advice before committing to parenting arrangements or binding financial agreements, as both have long-term consequences. Forte Family Lawyers in Melbourne is a specialist family law firm. Talk to us today about how we can help you to resolve your matter.

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is often offered as a part of family law services, to find common ground between parties. This may be done to resolve specific issues, avoid the court process, and minimise legal costs associated with lengthy negotiations or extended Federal Circuit Court and Family Court of Australia proceedings.
Mediation may involve just the parties or may be lawyer assisted. We can advise you on the various options and services including Family Dispute Resolution and private mediation.
As Family Law specialists, we can give you practical advice before Mediation and act on your behalf during the Mediation process.

How much does a family lawyer cost in Australia?

The costs for a family lawyer in Australia can vary greatly, depending on the matters being dealt with. Law firms generally charge on a time basis.
Choosing the best family lawyers for your matter can seem daunting. Still, it is best to look for a professional family lawyer who has an interest in any particular areas that are relevant to your case. All family lawyers understand the Family Law Act, but different practitioners specialise in different areas. Forte Family Lawyers have 6 accredited specialists in Family Law and handle all family law matters from the simplest to the more complex, including international disputes, complicated financial structures, bankruptcy and intractable parenting disputes.
Whether you are looking for skilled divorce lawyers or a lawyer experienced in domestic violence matters, we can help. As highly regarded Melbourne Family Lawyers, many families trust us to work with them due to the experience and compassionate approach of our highly skilled team.

How are child support disputes usually resolved?

Generally, the best way to resolve a dispute relating to child support payments is to come to an agreement with the other party. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. The amount of child support payable will depend on whether a Services Australia Child Support Assessment is in place or there is a binding child support agreement.
Private collection is an agreement between two parties, whether through the Child Support Scheme, or two individuals, and disputes will need to be resolved by mutual agreement or court order. If a Services Australia assessment is in place, disputes on non-payment will generally be determined by Child Support but may require engaging legal services if one or both parties want to depart from the assessment with the child support system or with a Binding Child Support Agreement or if there is a Binding Child Support Agreement which is no longer appropriate.