Family Violence and COVID-19

Staying at home has been touted as the solution to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but this also increases risk for victims of family violence. Yesterday, the McGowan Government acknowledged this heightened risk by passing amendments to restraining order legislation.

These amendments allow the Family Court to make interim restraining orders on an ex-parte basis (i.e. without the person you are seeking the order against being present). Restraining order applications can now be lodged online, and the penalty for a breach of a family violence restraining order has been increased to $10,000.Click here to read the McGowan Government's media release about the amendments for more information.

I’m Thinking About Separating – What Happens If We Separate?

These are difficult questions to think about. In fact, most of us would rather think of anything but separation. Thinking about separating doesn’t necessarily mean you will separate. Strange as it may seem, at Kavanagh Lawyers we are big fans of marriage and de facto relationships. However, if separation is on your mind it’s better that you get sound legal advice. Usually one hour’s advice will give you all the information you need to make informed decisions, in your own time. One of the true joys of being a Family Lawyer is seeing the relief on a client’s face as she/he realises that their worst fears will not happen. Most clients say they wish they had come to see us years earlier.

General information only

Here are some of the questions we are regularly asked. We hope you that you find our answers helpful. We caution that this is general information only and should not be treated as legal advice. Experience tells us that each case depends on individual circumstances and you should see a lawyer before you make any significant decisions.

Will I ever see my kids again?  

Yes, you will. It is only in the rarest of cases that a parent never has contact with his/her children after separation. This is a question we are asked more often by fathers. Whilst you are unlikely to see your kids as often as you did before separation, most parents come to reasonable arrangements with children. Does this happen immediately? No. However, in most cases with time, good legal advice, (mediation if necessary and litigation as a last resort) most parents arrive at a reasonable arrangement.

I’m afraid I won’t have enough money to support myself and the kids?

This is a very real fear and a question we are most often asked by female clients. It’s also the main reason many women stay in controlling and abusive relationships. There is no simple answer to these very real fears. A few things are worth noting:

  • If there are assets to divide (e.g. money, land, houses, cars and possibly superannuation) then each party will receive a fair share.
  • Child support must be paid until a child is 18 and the Child Support Agency plays a vital role in deciding the amount to be paid and ensuring payment.
  • Spousal maintenance may be awarded for the support of a partner where one party proves they need financial support and the other party has the capacity to pay.
  • All parties must disclose their true financial position and there are major financial penalties for failing to do so.
  • Orders can be made obliging one party to pay the other party’s legal fees.

This can be a complex area of law. The main message is that your partner cannot lawfully financially control you to your detriment.

Can separation get ugly?

Yes. Not always though. People sometimes behave badly. Separation is very often a very emotional process and we are rarely at our best when relationships, emotions, children and money are involved. In our experience separation is a little like the stages of grief: denial, anger, negotiation and acceptance. It’s a question of time. When both parties are ready and are well advised an agreement is reached. It’s not always the agreement you want- but the objective is to reach an agreement you can live with.

“It’s all very amicable”

If we had a dollar for every time we heard that. People regularly say “it’s all very amicable” but in fact it rarely is. This is not to say that every case is litigated and becomes an emotional nightmare. Statistically only a small percentage of cases go to trial. The good news is that the vast majority of cases are resolved with time, patience and good legal advice.

Can’t we just sort it out ourselves without lawyers?

Absolutely. Many people represent themselves at the Family Court or file their own separation papers at the Court. It’s entirely a matter for you.

Should I try mediation?

Absolutely. It is far better to have ownership of a mediated settlement than have little or no control over a court determination. There are many options available to suit your budget and your timeline. We suggest you obtain legal advice before mediation so you can mediate knowing what your legal rights and responsibilties are.

Do I need Court orders?

In most cases yes.

  • Whilst Parenting Plans are very desirable they are not legally enforceable. So, you could spend 6 months negotiating a parenting plan only to find that the other party breaches the agreement and you are powerless to force the agreement.
  • Without court orders in a property settlement there is no financial finalisation of your relationship. This can make it difficult to plan your financial future if your ex-partner may have a legal right to a share of the relationship assets.
  • Most court orders are made by consent. Therefore, whilst you may sign some papers the reality is you may never see the inside of the Family Court.

What can a lawyer do that I can’t?

The obvious answer is to give legal advice. It’s a question of what, if any advice you may need. The more complex the issue the more advice you may need. The following are examples of where legal advice may be useful:

  • What contact your kids have a right to spend with you
  • Whether your children can live interstate or overseas
  • How the Family Court can help protect children at risk
  • Whether shared care is likely to be ordered
  • What share of your relationship assets you are likely entitled to
  • Superannuation splits
  • Stamp duty in separation cases
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Limitation issues- time deadlines to protect your legal rights
  • Child support
  • Binding Financial Agreements

Does seeing a lawyer mean I am going to Court?

Absolutely not. Good lawyers treat litigation as a last resort.

Very often the fallout from a relationship breakdown means there is a lack of trust and good lawyers can bridge the lack of trust. In very general terms our legal strategy involves the following steps:

  • basic advice about your legal rights and responsibilities
  • encouraging you and the other party to reach a fair agreement where you or your lawyer drafts and files the necessary paperwork to be filed at the court
  • mediation
  • legal letters to identify issues and make settlement offers
  • negotiation
  • as a last resort- litigation
Kavanagh Lawyers are highly experienced in dealing with the particular challenges that separation can create. If we can be of assistance, please contact us.

Maximum $330* (inc. GST) for all initial consultations held in January and February 2017.

The New Year is often a time where people wish to see a Family Lawyer to “see where I’m at if I separate.” We are pleased to offer a fixed rate of $300 + GST (total $330) as follows:

  • All consultations must occur between 9 January 2017 and 28 February 2017.
  • The flat rate of $330 is based on a consultation of one hour- which is usually sufficient for an initial consultation.
  • If your appointment with our legal team takes less than an hour your rate will be reduced pro rata. For example, if your appointment lasts 30 minutes you will be charged a total of $165 (5 units x $30 per unit + GST = 5 x 30 + 10%).
  • If your appointment exceeds 1 hour you will be charged additionally pro rata. For example, if your appointment lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes you will be charged a total of $429 (13 units x $30 per unit + GST = 13 x 30 + 10%).
  • The flat rate applies to initial consultations only. If you instruct us beyond the initial consultation our normal higher rates apply. Why not talk to us about fixed rate fees if your matter needs to go further?

Kavanagh Family Lawyers – A Conveniently located Family Law Firm in Perth

Conveniently located Family Law Firm in Perth

Conveniently located Family Law Firm in PerthKavanagh Family Lawyers are conveniently located at 1/100 Terrace Road in East Perth. It’s walking distance to Perth’s city centre, and if you live or work in the Free Transit Zone region of the Perth City then you’re only a free bus trip away. With plenty of parking along the picturesque Langley park, you’ll have no trouble finding parking near this family law firm in perth. Adding to it’s convenience is the location of The Family Court of Western Australia, which is only two blocks away on the same street (150 Terrace Road, Perth).

Terrace Road is a street that normally avoids the peak hour congestion and is easy to access via Riverside Drive to the West, The Causeway in the South East, and via East Parade and then Plain St from the North. View the map location here.

A Conveniently located Family Law Firm in Perth

Take advantage of Kavanagh Family Lawyers convenient location when you require a Family Lawyer. Their direct, no nonsense advice will help you to resolve your issue with the minimum emotional and financial cost.

Call Kavanagh Lawyers on (08) 6557 5888.

Kavanagh Family Lawyers – Administration and Support Staff

Richard Matias - Marketing

Richard Matias


Richard Matias has extensive experience in Marketing, particularly in the retail sector. Richard holds a Degree in Business and he has just completed his MBA.

Lynda O’Leary - Administration and Support Staff

Lynda O’Leary

Accounts and Administration

Lynda O’Leary has extensive experience in accounts and administration and is a valuable addition to Kavanagh Lawyers.

Away from work, Lynda’s main interests are travel and reading.

Leo Barry

Leo Barry

Leo Barry BA LLB.


  • Degree in Legal and Business Studies
  • Post graduate Bachelor of Laws Degree (UCC)


Admitted to Law Society of Ireland in 2009

Leo Barry was born in Waterford, Ireland and recently migrated to Perth in January 2012. Leo holds a degree in Legal and Business Studies (with First Class Honours) and a post graduate Bachelor of Laws degree (UCC).

Leo worked in private practice in Ireland from 2006 – 2011 and practiced in Family Law, Probate & Wills, and Criminal Law. In March 2013, Leo was admitted to practice in Western Australia.

Away from Law, Leo likes to pursue outdoor activities and spending time with his wife.

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Leo Barry - Perth Family Lawyer[/sixcol_two_last]

Marty Kavanagh

Marty KavanaghMarty Kavanagh LL.B, B.Com (Hons), Grad Dip
Barrister & Solicitor


  • Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), National University of Ireland
  • Graduate Diploma (With Distinction), Curtin University
  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Western Australia


  • Family Law Practitioners’ Association of Western Australia


All areas of family law including:

  • Restraining order matters
  • Child protection matters
  • Divorce
  • De Facto Relationships
  • Same Sex Relationships
  • Child Support & Custody
  • Binding Financial Agreements
  • Spousal Maintenance
  • Property Settlements
  • Wills

Marty Kavanagh was born in Cork, Ireland and migrated to Australia in 1991. Educated at University College Cork, the University of Western Australia and Curtin University  Marty holds degrees in Commerce (Honours), Law and a Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism (with distinction). Marty has also tutored in ethics at Curtin University. Marty Has extensive experience at senior industrial management level in Europe and Australia. Marty’s particular areas of legal focus are Property and Children’s matters, relocation cases and Violence Restraining Orders. Marty currently writes the  WA VRO professional commentary for Dickey’s Family Law and writes the commentary for the legal profession on WA Violence Restraining Order legislation for Thomson Reuters.

Marty’s approach to the law is empathetic, practical and results orientated.

In 2013 Marty was privileged to be appointed the Honorary Consul of Ireland to Western Australia.

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Marty Kavanagh - Perth Family Lawyer

Online Testimonials

Kavanagh Family Lawyers WA

Reviewed from Google

5 out of 5 stars

Peter Flay
Peter Flay

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 year ago

Mr Kavanagh was a delight to deal with. We appreciated his frank, no-nonsense, concise advice. He was able to clearly explain to us our legal position in an understandable way free of legal jargon and the advise he gave sat well with us. We bought an hour of his time and consider it money well spent.