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Family Law Terms explained

Family Law Terms Explained

Lawyers like to use big fancy words. At Catherine Henry Lawyers we recognise that family law is difficult enough without legal jargon or Latin phrases, so to make the process easier for you we have identified some of the more common phrases you may encounter in your family law matter and provide you with a no nonsense description of what those words mean.


Disclosure is all documentation relevant to your case. In property matters, this means any document which relates to your financial circumstances.

Providing this documentation assists your lawyer, the other party and the Court to provide advice and/or make an informed decision about your matter.

The Family Court has a brochure on the Duty of Disclosure and this can be found under the Reports and Publications section on the website at:


In Australia, we call these Financial Agreements.

Financial Agreement

An Agreement entered into by the parties which ousts the jurisdiction of the Family Court.

It is a contractual agreement between you and your future, current, former partner which determines the alteration of property in the event your relationship does or has broken down.

Contrary to popular belief, Financial Agreements are not just entered into in anticipation of a relationship but can also be entered into during the relationship or afterwards (as an alternative to a consent order).

To be “binding” means it complies with the legislative requirements and must be entered into with each party having independent legal representation.

Consent Order

Is an order made by the Court with the consent of you and your former partner. It resolves either or both property and parenting matters. An Application for Consent Order is completed and signed by each party and is filed with the Family Court of Australia. The Application is considered without either party attending Court. If the Court is satisfied that the Application is just and equitable, final Orders are made to resolve your property and/or parenting matter.

Section 75 (2)

Section 75 (2) is also referred to as ‘future needs’ factors (in a de facto relationship it is s90SF(3)).

A consideration of this section of the Act is one of the stages of determining a property settlement and requires the Court to consider a number of factors in dividing the property. For example, if one party has a limited earning capacity and the other party earns and has the capacity to earn a high income, the Court may make an adjustment in favour of the lower income earner to adjust for this disparity.

The full list of Section 75(2) or ‘future needs’ factors can be found here.


A subpoena is a document issued by a Court, at the request of a party, which requires the person subpoenaed to produce documents and/or give evidence to the Court.


By Kristie Lear

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