s

Our advice is accurate and up to date. We pride ourselves in being at the forefront of changes in family law.

OUR EXPERIENCE

Forte Family Lawyers is a leading Melbourne family law firm. Its partners, Jacky Campbell and Wendy Kayler-Thomson, are Accredited Specialists in Family Law and are recognised as leaders in the family law profession in Australia. Our team of lawyers provide expert guidance and high quality services.

We give strategic advice and representation, drawing upon our extensive experience and knowledge. We provide pragmatic solutions and personalised service and care.

OUR APPROACH

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.

Important Update

Working with you through the COVID-19 pandemic

Featured Article

15 tips for family law clients in a coronavirus pandemic

Services

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

Children and parenting

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

Property and financial settlements

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

Prenuptial and other financial agreements

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

Divorce

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

Family violence can affect the outcome of parenting disputes, and sometimes financial settlements. Victorian laws offer protection where there has been family violence.

Child support and spousal maintenance

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.

Same sex relationships

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.

International

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.

Complex financial structures

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.

Bankruptcy and insolvency

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.

Superannuation

Superannuation is treated as part of the property pool. Superannuation can be complex, particularly defined benefits and self-managed superannuation.

Dispute resolution

There are many ways to resolve family law disputes. The options include negotiation, mediation, family dispute resolution, arbitration and litigation.

Third parties

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.

Children and parenting

OVERVIEW

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

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We are not just experts in family law, we are also up-to-date on the latest research about children and how to minimise the impact of separation on them. We regularly act for grandparents and other people involved with the children.

We give advice on practical solutions, tailored to each family’s needs.

Property and financial settlements

OVERVIEW

Most separated couples need a property and financial settlement following the breakdown of their relationship. That settlement will set out the division of their assets, liabilities and superannuation. It is important for that settlement to be legally documented.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

The law about property and financial settlements is complex, and the outcome in every case will be dependent on the history of that couples’ relationship. We are experts in providing accurate and up to date advice to our clients about their property settlement entitlements. Wherever possible, we are able to achieve a negotiated outcome, that avoids the need for court action.

Prenuptial and other financial agreements

OVERVIEW

Prenuptial and other Financial Agreements provide a couple with the comfort of knowing how their assets will be divided if they later separate. Financial Agreements can be particularly useful where one or both spouses/partners want to protect assets for their children from a former relationship, or if one of them already has accumulated wealth.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

Prenuptial and other Financial Agreements will only be binding if certain strict requirements are met. The law about these Agreements is complex. We are experts at carefully drafting and advising on Financial Agreements to ensure that they meet all legal requirements.

We recognise that negotiating Prenuptial Agreements requires sensitivity. We approach this process with care, respecting our client’s ongoing relationship with their partner.

Divorce

OVERVIEW

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.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We encourage you to apply for your own divorce, as this is an area where lawyers are not generally required. We will advise you if there are particular traps in your case.

Family violence

OVERVIEW

Family violence can affect the outcome of parenting disputes, and sometimes financial settlements. Victorian laws offer protection where there has been family violence.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We are experienced in dealing with family violence and allegations of family violence.

We represent clients in State Magistrates’ Courts where intervention orders are sought. We also provide sensitive and practical advice regarding parenting and property disputes in the Family Law Courts where family violence is an issue.

Child support and spousal maintenance

OVERVIEW

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, including drafting and advising on child support agreements.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

Child support is usually resolved outside the court system. We will discuss child support with you to ensure that the correct amount is being paid, given your overall circumstances. We can assist clients to prepare for applications that will be decided upon by the Department of Human Services – Child Support.

We also advise clients about whether they can make a successful claim for spousal maintenance, or how to defend a claim made against them. We regularly draft Financial Agreements in relation to protection from future spousal maintenance claims.

Same sex relationships

OVERVIEW

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, including who is a legal parent, the rights of social parents and who is liable to pay child support.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We often act for clients in same sex relationships. Forte Family Lawyers has a long history of supporting the recognition of equality of rights for same sex couples. Happily, most of the complexities for same sex couples navigating the family law system have been removed.

Because of our particular speciality in assisted reproductive laws, we can provide expert advice about the complexities of parentage law and how it applies to same sex couples.

International

OVERVIEW

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.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We regularly act for clients who live overseas, or who own assets in both Australia and overseas. We ensure that any overseas assets are dealt with in any Australian property settlement and, where possible, that any Australian orders are enforceable overseas. We also advise clients who are or have been involved in overseas court processes and want orders enforced or varied in Australia.

We also advise our international clients about child support and whether it should be determined in the country where the children live, the payer lives, or the payee lives.

We have international alliances through the International Academy of Family Lawyers and the American Bar Association. We have access to family lawyers in most countries. We liaise with overseas lawyers where necessary.

Complex financial structures

OVERVIEW

Many people’s financial affairs are complex, and they need expert advice about how to deal with these complexities as part of their family law property settlement. 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.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We provide expert and strategic advice about how to best deal with complex asset structures in a family law property settlement. We work closely with accountants, financial advisors and tax lawyers to ensure that property settlements do not trigger unnecessary tax consequences.

We assist our clients who have not been actively involved in the family’s financial affairs to understand those arrangements.

Bankruptcy and insolvency

OVERVIEW

Separation and bankruptcy often coincide, or one may follow the other. Amendments were made to both the Family Law Act and the Bankruptcy Act so that disputes are usually decided together in the same court—either the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We are conscious when resolving financial matters that the settlement may need to survive bankruptcy.

We act for trustees in bankruptcy, receivers, liquidators and non-bankrupt spouses in family law matters. We can help guide you through the inter-relationship of bankruptcy law, family law and insolvency, and assist you to decide on the correct strategy, the most appropriate court and the best time to act.

Superannuation

OVERVIEW

Superannuation is treated as part of the property pool. Superannuation can be complex, particularly defined benefits and self-managed superannuation.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We have expertise in giving advice and negotiating the fair division of superannuation. We take particular care to ensure that all of the complexities associated with superannuation are taken into account, including tax consequences.

We look at the nature, form and characteristics of each superannuation entitlement and provide advice regarding the specific circumstances of each couple.

Dispute resolution

OVERVIEW

There are many ways to resolve family law disputes. The options include negotiation, mediation, family dispute resolution, arbitration and litigation. Most of our clients, with our assistance, are able to achieve a negotiated outcome. If they cannot, we give strategic advice about litigation and are pro-active in the conduct of litigation.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We are experienced in all aspects of dispute resolution, and can support you through dispute resolution processes which do not involve lawyers (such as family dispute resolution), through to processes involving lawyers such as negotiation and mediation to litigation—if that is necessary.

Third parties

OVERVIEW

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. Extended family members and business partners may have rights which might be affected by a property settlement between the couple. Third parties might become involved in the dispute about a property settlement or about the future care of a child.

OUR EXPERTISE AND APPROACH

We regularly represent third parties such as creditors, trustees in bankruptcy, parents, grandparents and siblings, family trusts, companies and business partners. We provide expert advice and strategic options to best protect your rights.

TEAM

Jacky Campbell

PARTNER
ACCREDITED FAMILY LAW SPECIALIST

Wendy Kayler-Thomson

PARTNER
ACCREDITED FAMILY LAW SPECIALIST

Jemma Mackenzie

SENIOR ASSOCIATE
ACCREDITED FAMILY LAW SPECIALIST

Jane Bentley

SENIOR ASSOCIATE
ACCREDITED FAMILY LAW SPECIALIST

Matthew Beckmans

SENIOR ASSOCIATE

Vinh Nguyen

Associate

Natasha Mastroianni

Associate

Mark Di Donato

Lawyer

Frequent topics

01.

15 tips for family law clients in a coronavirus pandemic

02.

Working with you through the COVID-19 pandemic

03.

Will de-federation of the Family Court fix fragmentation of family law? An analysis of the ALRC’s final report on family law

04.

The Family Court: Restructure, Destruction or Fade Away?

05.

Financial Agreements: still worth the candle?

06.

Tomaras– is the Family Law Act an escape hatch to avoid tax?

07.

The Micawber principles: When bankruptcy and Family Law Collide

08.

Hot Cases in family law – 2018

Resources

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

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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) support services

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.
vacca.org/services/early-intervention-and-family-services

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.
emhaws.org.au

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.
relationshipsvictoria.com.au/services/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-support

CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) support services

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)
Telephone and onsite interpreting and document translation services. Telephone interpreting can often be provided immediately without a booking.
tisnational.gov.au

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.
intouch.org.au

 

Child abduction

 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.
ag.gov.au/childabduction

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.
afp.gov.au/what-we-do/crime-types/family-law-kit

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.
iss.org.au

Australian Passport Office – Child Alert
This website includes information about making a Child Alert request with a link to the child alert request form.
passports.gov.au/passportsexplained/childpassports/Pages/childalerts.aspx

Child protection (DHHS)

Child protection (DHHS)
This website provides information regarding the role and services provided by the Department of Health and Human Services Child Protection unit.
providers.dhhs.vic.gov.au/child-protection

 

Child support

Department of Human Services (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.
humanservices.gov.au/individuals/separated-parents

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.
humanservices.gov.au/individuals/forms/child-support

Child Support Guides
A parent’s guide to child support, containing a range of information to help parents understand the child support scheme:
humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/parents-guide-child-support

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:
guides.dss.gov.au/child-support-guide

 

Courts

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.
familycourt.gov.au

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.
federalcircuitcourt.gov.au

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.
comcourts.gov.au

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.
magistratescourt.vic.gov.au

Dispute resolution

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
familyrelationships.gov.au/Services/FRC/Pages/default.aspx

Arbitration
The Alternative Courtroom
A fee paying arbitration service, offering separating couples an alternative to a Court determined outcome. Jack Campbell is an arbitrator on this website.
alternativecourtroom.com.au

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.
aiflam.org.au

Family violence

Intervention orders
The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria can make intervention orders to protect people who have experienced violent or threatening or abusive behaviour.
magistratescourt.vic.gov.au/jurisdictions/intervention-orders

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.
1800respect.org.au

 

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.
dvrcv.org.au/help-advice

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

No To Violence – Men’s Referral Service
Confidential telephone service provided for men by men.
1300 766 491
ntvmrs.org.au

Mensline
Telephone and online support, information and referral for men with family and relationship concerns.
1300 78 99 78
mensline.org.au

Financial matters / Property settlement

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.
familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/family-law-matters/property-and-finance

Financial statements

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.
familycourt.gov.au

Financial counselling

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.
mediation.com.au/how-we-can-help/financial-help/financial-counselling-2/

 

Individual support (helplines)

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.
beyondblue.org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites

Lifeline
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.
lifeline.org.au

Legislation

Austlii
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

austlii.edu.au

 

LGBTIQ support services

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

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.
ds.org.au/our-services/queerspace

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

Professional bodies

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.
familylawsection.org.au

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.
liv.asn.au

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.
aicvic.com.au

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.
api.org.au

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.
iafl.com

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.
vicbar.com.au

Superannuation and superannuation information request forms

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
familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/family-law-matters/property-and-finance/superannuation/

Federal Circuit Court website
federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/family-law-matters/property-and-finance/superannuation/superannuation

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.

Surrogacy

VARTA
The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) provides independent information and support for individuals, couples and health professionals on fertility and issues related to assisted reproductive treatment. This includes IVF, surrogacy and donor conception.
varta.org.au/about-varta

Contact

Level 2
535 Bourke Street
Melbourne 3000 Victoria Australia

PO Box 13172
Law Courts
8010 Victoria Australia

DX 364 Melbourne

Telephone
61 3 9248 5800

Facsimile
61 3 9248 5899

Email
enquiries@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Website
fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Jacky Campbell

Partner

University qualifications

Master of Laws, Monash University

Bachelor of Laws, Monash University

Bachelor of Arts, Monash University

Graduate Diploma of Professional Writing, Deakin University

Other qualifications
Accredited Family Law Specialist,
Law Institute of Victoria

Email Jacky Campbell
jcampbell@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Connect on LinkedIn

Publications
To read Jacky Campbell’s articles and papers click here.

In 2020, Jacky was recognised as a leading family lawyer in Melbourne by Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Market as well as one of Melbourne’s leading family lawyers in High-value and Complex Property matters, and a recommended lawyer in parenting matters. Jacky was also a recommended lawyer in the Doyle’s leading family and divorce lawyers in Australia. Jacky writes extensively on complex aspects of family law and her up-to-date knowledge means that she is able to provide accurate information about the law. She combines this with offering strategic advice to clients and guidance as to the best approach to take in their particular circumstances.

Jacky wrote her Masters thesis on the relationship of bankruptcy and family law. She continues to have a special interest in matters involving bankruptcy, insolvency, liquidation and receivership.

Jacky received the Law Institute of Victoria Rogers Legal Writing Award 2004—for the article “Splitting the Super…and Selling the Home”. She is experienced with complex superannuation interests such as defined benefit funds and self managed superannuation funds.

Jacky is the consultant editor of Wolters Kluwer/CCH Australian Family Law and Practice and contributing author to Wolters Kluwer/CCH Australian Family Law and Practice to the Property, Spousal Maintenance, Financial Agreements, Maintenance Agreements, Procedure and Precedents tabs. She writes several chapters of the Wolters/Kluwer CCH Australian Master Family Law Guide, and is the author of the family law chapters in the Thomson-Reuters Australian Financial Planning Handbook and in the CCH Australian Master Superannuation Guide.

Jacky is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers, a board member of the Asia Pacific Chapter of that Academy, and an Associate of the American Bar Association. She acts for many clients who are overseas or where there is an international element such as overseas assets and international child abduction under the Hague Convention. She is also experienced in Australian and overseas surrogacy arrangements and in disputes about the role of a sperm donor. She is a member of the Maintenance and Property Committee of the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and Victorian Women Lawyers.

Jacky is keen to assist clients to resolve matters before trial through alternative dispute resolution processes including mediation. She is a trained arbitrator and is an arbitrator with The Alternative Courtroom.

Wendy Kayler-Thomson

PARTNER

University qualifications

Master of Laws, Monash University

Bachelor of Laws, University of Melbourne

Bachelor of Commerce, University of Melbourne

Other qualifications
Accredited Family Law Specialist, Law Institute of Victoria

Email Wendy Kayler-Thomson
wkaylerthomson@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Connect on LinkedIn

Wendy Kayler-Thomson is a partner of Forte Family Lawyers and has practised as a lawyer specialising in family law for more than 25 years. Wendy is recognised as one of Melbourne’s leading family lawyers in Doyle’s 2020 Guide to the Australian Legal Market.

Wendy is the Immediate Past Chair of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, the peak body for Australian family lawyers, and has been a member of the Executive of the Family Law Section for more than 10 years. The Family Law Section is regularly consulted by the Federal government and the Courts about changes to family law and court procedures. As a result, Wendy is able to offer her clients the most up to date advice on family law and strategies to take advantage of future changes.

Wendy’s time as Chair of the Family Law Section (from 2016 to 2018) coincided with a period of great controversy and unprecedented attention on the reform of family law and the family law system. This included the Victorian Royal Commission into family violence, the Federal Parliamentary enquiry into the family law system and family violence, the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Family Law Review and the Federal Government’s proposal to restructure the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court.

Wendy was a member of the Advisory Committee to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Family Law Review, the most comprehensive review of family law and the family law sector in 40 years.

Wendy was also a member of the Advisory Committee to the Law Council of Australia’s 2018 Justice Project, chaired by former High Court of Australia Chief Justice, the Hon. Robert French. The Justice Project is one of the most comprehensive, national reviews into the state of access to justice in Australia in the past 40 years.

Wendy develops close and trusted relationships with her clients and the wide network of professionals that refer her work. Wendy’s approach is tailored to each individual client’s needs, recognising that for most people, the breakdown of a relationship is one of their most stressful and challenging experiences. Wendy brings a high attention to detail, strategic advice and a depth of expert knowledge about family law. Wendy has a commercial background and has acted for many clients with complex financial arrangements. She works closely with her clients’ accountants and other professional advisors to ensure that all the complexities of those arrangements, including tax impacts and restructuring, are dealt with as part of any settlement.

Wendy has undertaken extensive training in a wide range of social sciences that impact on families and their children, including family and domestic violence, parental alienation, personality disorders, drug and alcohol addiction and high conflict. Wendy’s clients benefit from her knowledge of the most up to date approaches by child psychologists and other experts to managing the post-separation care arrangements of children. Wendy has particular expertise in cases where one parent wants to relocate with the children interstate or overseas.

Wendy is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators and Victorian Women Lawyers.

Jemma Mackenzie

Senior Associate

University qualifications

Bachelor of Laws (Hons) Monash University
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Monash University

Email Jemma Mackenzie
jmackenzie@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Other qualifications
Accredited Family Law Specialist,
Law Institute of Victoria

Connect on LinkedIn

Jemma is a Senior Associate at Forte Family Lawyers. She has worked predominantly in family law since being admitted to legal practice in December 2009.

Jemma obtained Specialist Accreditation as a Family Lawyer from the Law Institute of Victoria in 2015. Accreditation recognises the high level of knowledge and practical skills Jemma brings to each family law matter.

Jemma is mindful that the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship can be a stressful and often overwhelming experience for clients. She works with her clients to identify appropriate pathways for resolving both parenting and property matters.

Jemma prides herself on her ability to effectively communicate what can be complex legal principles and to provide realistic, up to date and accurate legal advice at each stage of a matter.

Jemma has experience in a wide variety of family law matters including division of property, maintenance (including urgent applications), Financial Agreements (including Agreements made prior to marriage), care and living arrangements for children, child support and family violence – including Intervention Order proceedings.

Prior to joining Forte Family Lawyers, Jemma worked in a Bayside family law firm and a boutique firm in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. She has conducted litigation in both the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne and interstate.

In addition to her daily work with clients, Jemma has made presentations to financial advisors and medico-legal professionals about the family law system in Australia and what clients should know about family law prior to separating.

Jemma is a member of Victorian Women Lawyers, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria.

Jane Bentley

Senior Associate

University Qualifications

Masters of Applied Law (Family Law), College of Law

Bachelor of Laws, Victoria University

Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne

Email Jane Bentley

jbentley@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Other Qualifications

Accredited Family Law Specialist, Law Institute of Victoria

Jane is a Senior Associate at Forte Family Lawyers. Jane is an Accredited Family Law Specialist as a recognised by the Law Institute of Victoria. Accredited Specialists demonstrate superior knowledge, experience and proficiency in their specialist area of law.

Additionally, Jane has undertaken a Masters of Applied Law in Family Law.

Prior to joining the firm, Jane has worked in both the private and community sectors where she worked on both complex parenting and property matters, regularly appeared in the Family Law Courts and through her work at a commercial firm Jane was able to build and enhance her commercial skills. Throughout her career, Jane has worked collaboratively with commercial lawyers providing advice where both family and commercial law intersect, as well as working directly with professionals on family law matters including psychologists, mediators, accountants and financial advisors.

Jane has a wide range of experience in different family law matters including financial agreements, family violence, parenting, IVF issues, matters involving grandparents, Hague Child Abduction Convention, child support, property and spousal maintenance.

Jane prides herself on her ability to communicate effectively with her clients during an emotional and challenging time. Jane builds strong relationships with her clients as she recognises that the legal system can appear complex and daunting and works with her clients to guide them through the process.

Jane is a member of the Courts Practice and the Property and Maintenance Committees of the Law Institute of Victoria which ensures that she is appraised of recent developments in family law and at the Family Law Courts. Jane is also a member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia.

Matthew Beckmans

Senior Associate

University qualifications

Bachelor of Laws, University of Western Sydney

Email Matthew Beckmans
mbeckmans@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Connect on LinkedIn

Matthew commenced his legal career practising in a medium-sized rural law firm. Matthew is able to draw on his broad experiences over a number of practice areas, prior to practising exclusively in family law, to offer clients a well-rounded approach to tactically resolve complex legal issues.

Matthew has developed a special interest in complex disputes involving companies and trusts, insolvency and bankruptcy, taxation, and international/domestic relocation.  He also has a particular expertise in child support.

Matthew is aware and mindful of the financial challenges and restraints when attempting to resolve family law disputes, and sets out to achieve negotiated and cost effective outcomes which avoid court where possible. Matthew recognises the emotional issues attached to the breakdown of a relationship, and draws on his strong communication skills in demystifying the family law process, and to identify and explain possible options for resolution in a concise manner.

Matthew was a member of the steering committee of the Riverina Family Law Pathways Network, secretary of the South West Slopes Law Society, and a mock trial magistrate for the Law Society of New South Wales.

Prior to practising law, Matthew was rookie listed by the Sydney Swans, where he enjoyed a brief career.  He now plays for the Monash Blues in the VAFA.

Matthew is a member of the Family Law Sections of the Law Council of Australia and the Law Institute of Victoria.  He is on the Court Practice Committee of the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria.

Vinh Nguyen

Associate

University qualifications

Bachelor of Laws, Deakin University

Bachelor of Commerce, Deakin University

Email Vinh Nguyen
vnguyen@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Connect on LinkedIn

Vinh first worked at Forte Family Lawyers as part of his Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the Leo Cussen Institute for Law in 2017. He joined Forte Family Lawyers as a lawyer after his admission into legal practice in October 2017 and has, since then, worked solely in family law.

Prior to his admission as a lawyer, Vinh worked as a paralegal in a community legal centre and in a property and commercial law firm, where he gained valuable experience in property transactions.

Vinh is a member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, the Law Institute of Victoria and the Asian Australian Lawyers’ Association. Vinh also volunteers at the Darebin Community Legal Centre.

Vinh is fluent in Vietnamese.

 

 

 

Natasha Mastroianni

Associate

University Qualifications

Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Latrobe University

Bachelor of Arts, Latrobe University

Masters of Applied Law (Family Law), College of Law

Email Natasha Mastroianni

nmastroianni@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

 

 

Connect on LinkedIn

Natasha Mastroianni has experience in a range of family law matters, including property settlements, financial agreements, parenting matters (including interstate and overseas relocation issues), child support and intervention order proceedings.

Natasha was admitted to practice in August 2014 and commenced her career in a generalist practice where she gained experience in family law, property law, wills and estates. Natasha worked in a boutique family law practice prior to commencing at Forte in February 2020.

Natasha has a Masters of Applied Law (Family Law) from the College of Law and speaks conversational Italian.

Having practical experience in other areas of law assists Natasha to understand the interrelated issues involved in her clients’ family law matters. She regularly appears on behalf of clients at Duty List Hearings and other Court events in the Federal Circuit Court, Family Court of Australia and the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria. Natasha also appears as a solicitor agent for interstate or rural practitioners when required.

Natasha prides herself on being able to understand and manage her clients’ expectations whilst providing realistic and practical advice. She acts with empathy and compassion when striving to achieve the best possible results for her clients.

Natasha is a volunteer lawyer with the Women’s Legal Service and is the Vice President of the Northern Suburbs Law Association. She is also a member of the Courts Practice Committee of the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria, the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia and Victorian Women Lawyers.

Mark Di Donato

Lawyer

University Qualifications

Bachelor of Criminology and Justice, Navitas College of Public Safety

Juris Doctor, Monash University

Email Mark Di Donato

mdidonato@fortefamilylawyers.com.au

Connect on LinkedIn

Mark started work at Forte Family Lawyers as part of his Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the Leo Cussen Institute for Law in 2019. Mark was later admitted into the legal practice in September 2019 and transitioned into a lawyer role with Forte Family Lawyers in February 2020.

Prior to his admission as a lawyer, Mark volunteered as a paralegal at Darebin Community Legal Centre and interned at a commercial law firm, where he gained valuable experience in property transactions and in intellectual property. Mark also completed a Professional Placement whilst completing his law degree where he provided legal advice on various family law matters through the Monash Law Clinic.

Mark is a member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, and the Law Institute of Victoria. Mark volunteers at the Darebin Community Legal Centre and has provided advice on a range of issues including family law.