Family Law Experts

With over 17 years specialist family law experience, Shorter Legal is here to help you and your family obtain the 'Right Advice, When It Matters'.

Right Advice When It Matters

The breakdown of a relationship can be overwhelming and Shorter Legal is here to help guide you through the complex legal process.

We're Here to Help

Providing the right information is important to us, as it empowers our clients to make informed decisions.

Melissa Shorter
About Us

Welcome to Shorter Legal

Shorter Legal icon

'The Imperfect Circle' symbolises life's journey. At Shorter Legal, we understand life is full of uncertainty and challenges. Shorter Legal has the knowledge, skills, and experience to ensure you receive the 'Right Advice When It Matters'.

At Shorter Legal we take the time to get to know you and your circumstances. We do this through an obligation free 30-minute consultation to listen to you and provide initial advice. This enables us to provide tailored practical advice. We understand people have busy schedules, therefore we offer this consultation service either in person, by phone or video call – whichever is more convenient for you.

Melissa Shorter
Founder of Shorter Legal
What We Do

Our Family Legal Services

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Property Settlement

When you separate from your partner, it is important to obtain advice regarding your financial entitlements and dividing the financial assets. Having the ‘Right advice, when it matters’ allows you to understand your rights and obligations when it comes to financial settlements (including superannuation).

Separation is a time of heightened emotions and at times, confusion. Shorter Legal can help you through the process, help you understand your legal obligations, and negotiate an agreement to resolve your property settlement (whether that is by Consent Orders or by an application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia).

At Shorter Legal, we can assist with all of your property settlement needs, and are ready to help.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Adult (Child) Adoption

Adult (Child) Adoptions can now occur in South Australia, in certain circumstances.

An adoption order in relation to an adult may be granted by the Court if there was a significant parent to child relationship in existence between the intending adoptive parent or parents and the adult (child) before they reached 18 years of age. It is also a requirement that the adult (child) understands the consequences (legal and emotional) of adoption on their interests, rights, and welfare.

Applications for Adult (Child) Adoptions are made in the Youth Court of South Australia under the Adoption Act 1988 (SA).

If you are seeking information and advice in relation to an Adult (Child) Adoption, Shorter Legal can assist you.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Spousal Maintenance

After separation, you may require financial support (‘spousal maintenance’) from your former spouse, or you may be asked to pay ‘maintenance’. It is important that you obtain the ‘Right advice, when it matters’ as these matters are complex and depend on the parties circumstances at that time.

Spousal maintenance can be agreed between parties or can form part of an application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, if no agreement is reached.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Grandparents

A breakdown in relationships also effects grandparents. At Shorter Legal we know the importance of continuing your relationship and connection with your grandchildren.

If it appears that there is difficulty in continuing that relationship, it is important that you receive the ‘Right advice, when it matters’.

Grandparents do not have ‘rights’ to see their grandchildren under the Family Law Act however they have the right to make an application to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia if the child’s relationship with them is being affected.

Prior to any Court application (unless in cases of urgency etc.) mediation should be attempted to see if you can resolve the dispute amicably.

If no agreement can be reached, a court application may be required. These applications are complex and you will require specific advice for your situation.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Parenting Arrangements

Separation will have a profound impact on your family unit. It is important that you obtain the ‘Right advice, when it matters’ whether that is before you separate, or after separation has already occurred.

If you can reach agreement with the other parent/caregiver, Shorter Legal can assist with preparing Parenting Plans or Consent Orders . These documents will detail the agreement reached, to ensure everyone is on the ‘same page’ and can move forward focusing on the bests interests of the children.

If agreement cannot be reached, obtaining legal advice will assist you in understanding the complex legal process for parenting matters.

Parents/caregivers who are in dispute are required to undertake (where safe and possible to do so) mediation before making any application to the Court for parenting Orders. It is important to obtain the right legal advice if you are in this situation.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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De facto Relationships

Shorter Legal provides advice for parenting and property settlement matters, for parties separating from a de facto relationship.

When you have lived together (on a genuine domestic basis) for at least 2 years, and are not married – your entitlement for property settlement (division of assets) falls under the Family Law Act (1975).

The Family Law Act (1975) has power to hear applications in relation to de facto property settlement and parenting disputes.

At Shorter Legal, we will provide you with the ‘Right advice, when it matters’ when it comes to any issue resulting from a breakdown of your de facto relationship.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Legal Aid

Shorter Legal accepts grants of Legal Aid for parenting and property matters.

Legal Aid may be granted for mediation or to commence/respond to proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

Not all applications for Legal Aid are granted. Legal Aid is subject to both a ‘means’ test and a ‘merit’ test. Once funding has been granted, our office will contact you to arrange an appointment.

If you wish to apply for Legal Aid, you can nominate Shorter Legal on your application form (at question #51).

Click here to make an online application for Legal Aid today:

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Consent Orders

When parties reach agreement in relation to parenting, property, superannuation or spousal maintenance – that agreement is often filed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia together with an Application for Consent Orders.

The Orders will be binding on both parties and are legally enforceable.

The finalisation of your matter by consent, allows you and your former partner to control the outcome and importantly to move on.

If you have reached agreement and require assistance in drafting an Application for Consent Order and Order, Shorter Legal can assist you.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Divorce

Shorter Legal can assist you with all stages of separation including your ‘Divorce’.

For all married couples, the only ground to make an application for Divorce is that you have been separated for 12 months or more.

Separation can occur by you living in separate locations, or if you have been ‘separated under the one roof’. In many cases, people do not have the financial means to live separately while awaiting a property settlement. At Shorter Legal, we can provide you with the ‘Right advice, when it matters’ and assist you through all circumstances of your separation and Divorce.

It is also important to understand the legal impact of a divorce on any Will you have made naming your former spouse.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Mediation (Family Law)

Mediation provides an opportunity to resolve (in part or full) any dispute between you and your former partner in relation to parenting matters and/or property settlement.

Mediation is available at all stages of a dispute. It can occur through a number of community service providers, private mediators or the Court (if an application has been made to the Court).

Mediation is confidential and you do not have to be in the same room as the other party if you do not wish to.

Mediation can occur with or without lawyers. That decision is up to you.

Reaching agreement at mediation allows you and your former partner to be in control of the outcome.

It is important that you obtain the ‘Right advice, when it matters’ prior to participating in mediation.

At Shorter Legal, we can advise you on what outcomes are ‘realistic’ in your circumstances and if agreement is reached, we can assist with the drafting of any Consent Orders or Parenting Plan.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Independent Children's Lawyer

At Shorter Legal, our Director is a qualified and experienced Independent Children’s Lawyer (‘ICL’) and is regularly appointed by the Court to represent the children’s best interests.

The Family Law Act (1975) is focused on the best interests of the children – at Shorter Legal we bring this focus to all of our matters which involve children. This enables our clients to receive the ‘Right advice, when it matters’.

If you would like to know more about the role of an ICL, you can read and download the ‘What is an Independent Children’s Lawyer?’ brochure here: Download

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

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Court Representation

At Shorter Legal, we are experienced in attending Court and regularly appear before the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for parenting and property matters.

We also appear in the Youth Court for Adult (Child) Adoptions.

Contact us for an obligation free first appointment to find out how we can help you.

Get the Right Team On Your Side

We Help You Confidently Walk Through Some of Life's Toughest Situations

Any Questions ?

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1 : Why should I trust your firm for my case?

With over 17 years specialist family law experience, Shorter Legal is here to help you and your family obtain the ‘Right advice, When it matters’.

Q. 2 : What types of cases does your law firm handle?

At Shorter Legal we specialise in all things Family Law.

Q. 3 : What are your opening hours?

Monday – Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm and after hours by appointment only.

Q. 4 : Do you charge for consultations?

At Shorter Legal we take the time to get to know you and your circumstances. We do this through an obligation free 30-minute consultation to listen to you and provide initial advice.

Schedule An

Obligation Free Consultation

    What can we help you with?

    Will you be applying for Legal Aid?