Melissa Shorter


Melissa was admitted to practice in 2005 and has specialised in family law since that time. In 2009 Melissa qualified as an Independent Children’s Lawyer. Melissa has also undertaken a Masters of Law (Applied Law) majoring in Family Law. Recently, Melissa has graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, providing firsthand experience in business matters.

With over 17 years’ experience, Melissa has the knowledge and skills to provide advice in all family situations and to advocate for you to achieve the best outcome. Melissa understands the challenges separation can have on families. Melissa has personal experience in raising a blended family, coupled with the additional challenges of being a Defence spouse. This gives Melissa a unique insight into difficulties faced by parties during, and as a result of, a separation.

Melissa has been recognised by her peers in the Doyles Guide in Leading Parenting, Custody & Children’s Matters Lawyers – South Australia in 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019. This peer recognition identifies individuals who have been specifically highlighted for their expertise, abilities and experience in complex parenting/child custody issues and disputes. These rankings also include individuals with experience acting as an Independent Children’s Lawyer in relation to matters that may include, but are not limited to, family violence, physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children.


  • Bachelor of Laws, James Cook University
  • Gradulate Diploma in Legal Practice, College of Law
  • Independent Children’s Lawyer
  • Master of Applied Law (Family Law)
  • Graduate – Australian Institute of Company Directors

Tanya Donald


Tanya is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of South Australia and the High Court of Australia.

Having a background as a Clerk in a family law Chambers, Tanya gained extensive knowledge of the processes for family law matters and as a result decided to undertake her law degree whilst raising her four young children; knowing that she wanted to assist families during separation upon completion of her studies.

Following her admission to the Supreme Court, Tanya commenced practice in family law and wills and estate law. Tanya recognises that the two areas of law regularly overlap and her experience in those areas provides her with insight to provide the right advice, when it matters, for her clients.

Tanya is client and outcome focussed, and her empathetic nature ensures that clients feel heard and supported.

Outside of the office you will find Tanya attending local football matches or dance concerts cheering on her children or out in her garden attending to her veggie patch.


  • Bachelor of Law – Charles Darwin University
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice – College of Law
  • Admitted to Practice in the Supreme Court of South Australia
  • Admitted to Practice in the High Court of Australia

Areas of Expertise

  • Property Settlement
  • Parenting Disputes
  • Divorce Applications
  • Intervention Orders (IVO)
  • Wills & Estate
  • Probate & Estate Administration


Fred Nitschke


Fred was admitted to practice in 1986. Over that time Fred has practiced in a variety of areas both within the private sector and also the government sector. These areas include Criminal Law, Administrative Law, Environmental Law, Local Government, Personal Injury, Wills, Estates and Inheritance disputes. 

This has entailed working for a range of clients from individuals, companies, statutory authorities, the Crown Solicitors Office and the Environment Protection Agency.  Fred has now been in private practice again for over 20 years. 

In more recent years Fred has focused on and specialized in the areas of Criminal Law, Wills, Estates, Estate disputes and Inheritance claims.

Fred has amassed a wide range of experience in a variety of areas over the past 36 years of practice.

He has a highly developed ability to communicate and relate to a variety of clients and people from diverse backgrounds and diverse levels of education. Fred has adapted to new areas of work as changing times demand.

Fred is acutely aware of the need to be cost effective in the provision of legal services, the need to be outcome focused and manage client expectations.

Outside of work Fred enjoys motorsports in general but in particular, Hillclimbing and Vintage Motorsport of various kinds. Fred is also involved in Hot Rodding. Fred also enjoys keeping fit and regularly participates in Parkrun and Rock n Roll dancing among other interests away from work.


  • Bachelor of Laws – Adelaide University 1985
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice 1986
  • Admitted to Practice in the Supreme Court of South Australia
  • Admitted to Practice in the High Court of Australia

Areas of Expertise

  • Wills & Estate
  • Estate Administration
  • Estate Disputes
  • Inheritance Claims
  • Prosecution Matters

Professional Associations & Memberships


Shorter Legal is proud to offer a special discounted rate on all fees for current and previous serving Australian Defence Force Members upon presentation of Veterans Card or Defence ID.

Being a spouse of a veteran, Melissa has a personal understanding of the unique challenges Defence life places upon the family unit and is able to provide advice relevant to military life.

Thank you for your service.

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