Questions about FLPA membership

Questions about membership

It’s easy to become a member of FLPA. Simply apply online here.

Membership costs only $99.00 (incl. GST) per year. You can join online and pay by cheque, EFT, or credit card.

Anyone who works or studies in the area of family law can become a member of FLPA – solicitors, barristers, social workers, psychologists, members of the judiciary and associated fields.

Full-time students studying law or any other family law-related field such as psychology or social work can join FLPA for free. To join as a student member, please join online here.

Questions about Family Law - FLPA

Questions about family law

Finding the right family lawyer can be difficult. When you are assessing different family lawyers, work out what type of lawyer you want.

Ask yourself and potential lawyers questions such as:

  • Do you want a male or female lawyer?
  • Do you want an accredited family law specialist?
  • Do you want a senior or junior lawyer?
  • Do you want someone who specialises in collaborative law?

Family lawyers can assist you with advice on the following:

  • separation, divorce or relationship breakdown (with or without children)
  • dividing assets
  •  child support
  • financial agreements (sometimes referred to as pre-nuptial agreements)
  • adoption 
  • surrogacy
  • child protection 
  • domestic and family violence.

Family lawyers charge by the hour and rates vary from $300 to $800 per hour, depending on the lawyer’s experience and expertise.3

family law faqs

Family law fast facts

  • The number of marriages for every 1,000 people has generally fallen in the last 40 years (9.3 in 1970, 7.4 in 1980, 5.3 in 2001, 5.5 in 2008, 4.5 in 2019, 3.5 in 2021).
  • Cohabitation before marriage has increased significantly in the last 40 years. In 1975, only 16 per cent of those married lived together beforehand, increasing to 23 per cent in 1979. By 2008, however, 78 per cent of those married lived together beforehand.
  • The median duration of marriage to divorce was 12.2 years. 
  • For those people who married in 1985–1987 and 2000–2002, the expected average duration of their total married life remained unchanged at around 32 years.
  • The median age for married Queenslanders is 50. The median age for those in de facto relationships is 34 and 25 for singles.
  • Queensland and Tasmania recorded the highest proportion of couples living together prior to marriage.
  • The number of divorces for every 1,000 people more than doubled between 1975 and 1976 (from 1.8 to 4.6) when the Family Law Act 1975 came into force.
  • The number of divorces for every 1,000 people has steadily declined but has remained relatively stable since 2008 (2.7 in 1980, 2.8 in 1999, 2.2 in 2008, 2.2 in 2021).
  • The divorce rate from second marriages is a little higher than that from first marriages.
  • At 2.2, Australia has one of the higher divorce rates per 1,000 people. The United States is higher at approximately 2.3, Russia at 3.9, and China at 3.2.
  • Growth of divorces and separations in Queensland continues to be is higher than other states and the national figure. At 2.6 divorces per 1,000 people, Queensland ranks number one followed by Western Australia at 2.2, and 2.1 in NSW and SA. 


  • The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 is Queensland state law. Under these laws, domestic and family violence behaviour is when a person you are in a relationship with is physically or sexually abusive, emotionally or psychologically abusive, economically abusive, threatening, coercive, or in any other way controls or dominates, causing you to fear for your safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.
  • When child abuse or family violence is present in family law cases, the Courts can make orders which address these situations.
  • In 2021, the Courts introduced the Lighthouse Project, deploying tools to identify cases involving family violence, and managing them via the allocations of those cases to Judges allocated to the Project, with the objective of maintaining oversight of the safety of parents and children during the lifespan of Court proceedings, and beyond.
  • For family law cases involving serious allegations of child abuse, the Court has implemented a fast-track program called Magellan case management which ensures these cases are heard promptly by experienced judges and close liaison with all organisations involved.
  • Reporting of domestic violence has increased. In 2021-22, Queensland Police recorded over 139,000 domestic and family violence incidents (an increase of nearly 48 per cent in the last six years).
  • In 2021-22, 52,111 Domestic Violence Orders were made in Queensland Courts which is higher than any of the previous five years. 
  • Child protection matters are dealt with under state legislation – Child Protection Act 1999 (Qld) – not the Family Law Act. Child protection issues are dealt with in the Children’s Court of Queensland, the focus of which is to protect a child from harm.
  • The main principle of the Child Protection Act is that the safety, wellbeing and best interests of the child are paramount. It compels the State to intervene to protect children if their parents are not willing or able to do so.
  • The Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs is responsible for investigating reports of alleged harm or risk of alleged harm to any child under 18.
  • Family lawyers work on behalf of parents or on behalf of the children involved in the allegations of abuse.
  • Family law issues are dealt with in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) and the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2).
  • The Courts were renamed in September 2021 by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Act 2021, having been previously known as the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
  • The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) which was previously known as the Family Court of Australia deals with family law matters, and has 35 specialist family law judges (5 in Brisbane and 1 in Townsville) hearing both trials and appeals.
  • The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) which was previously known as the Federal Circuit Court of Australia deals with family law, migration and general federal law matters, and has 76 judges. 55 of those judges hear family law disputes (12 in Brisbane, 1 in Rockhampton, 1 in Cairns and 1 in Townsville) and the remainder deal with disputes in general federal law and migration.
  • With a focus on innovation and fair and efficient processes that centre on risk, responsiveness and resolution, the Courts endeavour to allow Australian families the opportunity to resolve their disputes faster through simplified procedures.
  • The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 2) is the single entry point for all general federal law matters (including all family law matters). Depending on the matter, it is then allocated to the most appropriate division as early as possible.
  • Historically, the Court now known as the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) has dealt with matters relating to international child abduction, international relocation, special medical procedures, complex parenting cases, allegations of child sexual or physical abuse, and complex questions of jurisdiction or law.

To resolve family law disputes, family lawyers use a number of different approaches and help their clients choose the best approach depending on their needs. Going to court (litigation) is usually the last option family lawyers recommend to resolve disputes. Below is a brief description of each:

  • Negotiation is the process where a lawyer will engage in a dialogue between case participants (correspondence, and in person meetings) to attempt to secure a resolution between case participants. Clients generally meet privately with their lawyer during this process.
  • Mediation is an approach where separating couples agree to appoint a qualified mediator who is a neutral family law professional to help the couple define issues, workshop possible outcomes, and reach an agreement. The mediator does not make decisions for the couple but instead helps them make their own decisions.
  • Collaborative law is a form of dispute resolution where each partner works with a collaboratively-trained lawyer to co-operatively resolve their legal, financial and relationship/inter-personal issues. The lawyers work together, via a structured process which identifies aspects of importance to the participants; exchanges information to inform decision-making; identifies impasse; examines settlement options; and documents agreed outcomes; all geared towards making considered decisions for the benefit of the family as a whole.
  • Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is now compulsory in Australia for most parents wishing to resolve disputes involving children. Family Dispute Resolution Certificates are usually required if a person wants to apply to the court for a parenting order. The certificate can confirm that a genuine attempt at Family Dispute Resolution was made. Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners provide clients with support to agree on parenting outcomes for the children, offering input and guidance to help in the development of durable solutions for families.
  • Arbitration is a process similar to court but where the parties mutually agree to appoint a qualified arbitrator to hear and make a decision about their case. While this process can mirror the litigation process, it can be achieved on a truncated timetable, often with a saving in legal costs. Parties can only arbitrate on disputes about property, spousal maintenance or other financial issues – not parenting disputes.
  • Litigation is resolving disputes through the court system, ultimately having a Judge render a decision. While family lawyers do not routinely recommend litigation as it can be extremely costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining for the entire family, in cases involving urgent or intractable issues, it is the means by which conflict is resolved through the imposition on parties of a binding decision.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics Marriages and divorces. (2021). Canberra: ABS.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics Family Characteristics Survey, (2009-2010), (Cat. No. 4442.0 Canberra, ABS.
  • Keeping people safe from domestic and family violence. Queensland Audit Office Report 5: 2022-23.
  • Queensland Courts’ domestic and family violence (DFV) statistics. 
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