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Our process

When family relationships break down, it can be incredibly distressing. Historically, the legal practice involved in separation and divorce is considered one of the more stressful parts for the family. The team at Respect Legal, led by Danielle Zetzer, aims to transform traditional ways of thinking about family law practice.

While our expertise lie in all areas of family law, our approach is unique. We aim to strengthen families through arming our clients with the knowledge and support they need to get through this process. In a time that our clients are already burdened with stress, we offer a process that encompasses support, guidance, information, compassion and most importantly, respect.

This is what your
journey with us looks like



We begin by offering an initial consult, where we invite you into our office to discuss your current situation and address any questions you have before separating.

We look at three main areas of your relationship in this meeting: Children, assets and your relationship (i.e length and type of relationship, or any issues for immediate concern such as family violence) 

We will then advise you on the legal implications of ending your relationship and start to form a separation plan that best protects the interests of your family, both for now and beyond the separation.



  • Mediation 
  • Lawyer assisted mediation
  • Round Table conference 
  • Litigation


  • Consent orders
  • Parenting plan
  • BFA
  • Binding child support agreement
  • Limited child support agreement

Our Services


When you separate, there needs to be a plan in place that ensures your children continue to be cared for. Our lawyers are parents themselves and understand the need to put the interests of children first.

We also understand how drawn out legal battles fuelled by hostility, can impact children, both in the short and long term. Our approach to parenting is based on 2 key goals:

1. Facilitate a meaningful relationship with the other parent
2. Protect children from risk of harm

Our services include

• Parenting plans
• Parenting coordination
• Consent orders
• Parental responsibility
• Child support agreements
• Adult child maintenance

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Property & Financial

When working out a property settlement between two people, we need to look at your assets and liabilities, including the family home, investment properties, cars and businesses. The right advice on these matters is crucial…

More importantly, an outcome that strengthens the family moving forward is what we strive for.

Our services include

• Property Settlement
• Spousal Maintenance
• Consent Orders
• Binding financial agreements

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We can help you commence formal divorce proceedings after 12 months of separation. If you and your partner find that there is no way to reconcile after this period you are entitled to apply for a divorce. If you want to officially end your marriage and/or you wish to get re-married you will need to get divorced.

We can support you through this process through providing the following services:

• joint application
• sole application
• with children and without

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Family Violence

The safety and wellbeing of children has always been, and always will be our number one priority at this firm. We offer a range of services and solutions around parenting issues that minimise your children’s exposure to conflict, with the ultimate aim of keeping them, and you, out of court


We also work with our extended network of professionals to build the right support
for you during this challenging time. Below are just some of the ways we can help: 

Our services include

• Parenting Co-ordination
• Child Support Agreements
• Adult child maintenance
• IVOs

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Answers to our most frequently asked questions

How do I apply for an IVO?

A Family Violence Intervention Order is a binding court order issued by a Magistrate to protect a person who fears for their safety due to a family member’s behaviour.⁠ You do not need to go to court to apply for an IVO. You can apply online by filling out a form through the Magistrates Court of Victoria website.⁠ ⁠ If you don’t feel safe enough to fill in the form online, the police can apply for an IVO on your behalf. The team at Respect Legal can also assist you.

What is an asset pool?

In family law, the “asset pool” is the total value of all matrimonial assets and liabilities. When determining the pool, we consider assets that were owned by either party prior to the relationship, during the relationship or post-separation. ⁠

Some couples may find the asset pool simple to determine, while for others, it’s a more complex process. How do you know what to include? How are your assets valued? What are the next steps after the asset pool is determined?

Am I eligible for spousal maintenance?

 After you separate, if one person is unable to adequately support themselves, they are entitled to a financial payment from the other person, known as spousal support.⁠

There are many factors that are considered when determining the amount of spousal support that needs to be paid, such as the circumstances of the family and the capacity of each person to provide the support. ⁠

Spousal support is DIFFERENT to child support and parenting payments.⁠

How do we document a property settlement?

In a marriage breakdown, documenting a property settlement can be done in 2 ways if an agreement is reached: ⁠

  1. Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) – where each party needs a lawyer to come to an agreement about how property and finances will be divided. The agreement does not need to be just and equitable. ⁠

  1. Consent Orders – at least one of the parties needs a lawyer to fill out this form and submit it for approval by the court. It must be just and equitable. ⁠

The third way to document a property settlement is to have the court document it for you. This happens if an agreement cannot be reached.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

 Separation occurs when one or both partners decide that they no longer wish to live in a marriage-like or domestic relationship. Divorce is the process of making this separation official and can only occur after at least 12 months of the couple being separated. In order to be granted a divorce you must satisfy the court that there is no chance of reconciliation and that you have been separated for the 12 month period. It is important to understand that divorce does not resolve issues relating to property and children. These issues should ideally be settled before getting a divorce and the law encourages you to sort them out through enforcing Family Dispute Resolution, i.e., mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, then you may end up in the Family Court.

Thinking about

Download our pre-separation tool kit