Our services

Experienced child custody lawyers Melbourne

Your child’s wellbeing is our top priority. We’ll advocate for them on your behalf with care and compassion.

Carew Counsel awarded Doyle family law firm of 2021Carew Counsel awarded Doyle family law firm of 2022Carew Counsel awarded Doyle family law firm of 2023
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Carew Counsel Solicitors staff in discussion at meeting table
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Specialist family law firm

We have 40+ years of experience dealing with family law matters.

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Client focused

Get the help, guidance, and legal support you need to move forward.

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Commendable service

We’re ranked in the top five family law firms in Melbourne.

Open and upfront

We will clearly outline expectations and a quote for legal fees following your initial consultation.

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Putting your children’s needs first

At Carew Counsel, our experienced family lawyers are here to make sure your child or children’s best interests are prioritised in the event of a relationship or marriage break-up. Our experience and expertise in child custody matters enable us to offer expert advice, individualised legal services, and a resolution-focused roadmap so that you can move forward in a way that is best for you and your family.

Our family lawyers take a collaborative and non-combative approach, handling all child custody cases with sensitivity, compassion, and respect. Discuss your case with a qualified family law specialist to find out more about how we can help.

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Our child custody services

How we can help

Navigating children’s matters can be a highly stressful and emotional time for everyone involved. We offer a safe space for you to talk openly, feel comfortable, and above all, be heard. Here are just some of the ways we can help.

Parenting arrangements 

We can help you develop a parenting plan that outlines terms such as parental responsibility, living arrangements, and maintenance.

Binding child support agreements

Your family lawyer can create a binding child support agreement outlining the financial support arrangements for your child or children.

Parenting disputes

If neither party can agree on parenting arrangements, we can arrange family dispute resolution which is mediation to try and help parents settle the dispute.

Consent orders

Court-approved consent orders formalise your agreement, allowing either party to utilise the court for enforcement if needed.

Make an enquiry

Get started by discussing your situation with a family law expert.

When to seek advice from a child custody lawyer

If you’re navigating child custody with a former spouse or partner, it’s worth seeking expert advice from a law firm specialising in family law matters. While there is no obligation to engage a family lawyer to oversee parenting arrangements, it does allow you to officially document the decisions made which may be useful should any conflict arise in the future.

Your family lawyer can tailor their legal services, advice, and guidance to your specific situation, helping you understand your rights and responsibilities so that you are fully informed about the child custody process. At Carew Counsel, we can develop a strategy that aligns with your goals to achieve the best outcome for you and your child.

Benefits of engaging a child custody lawyer

When it comes to family law matters, a qualified lawyer can help take away some of the stress while working towards an outcome that benefits everyone involved. Family law specialists can also:

  • Inform you of your legal rights as per the Family Law Act 
  • Act as mediators to work towards a favourable custody arrangement
  • Handle the preparation and filing of legal documents
  • Manage conflict and help finding amicable solutions
  • Provide peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your child’s welfare
  • Represent and advocate for you at Family Court (if applicable)
Our team of child custody experts in discussion
Getting started

Our solution-focused process


Make an enquiry

Contact us and a member of our team will ask you a few questions about your child custody matter, before assigning a family law specialist to your case.


Meet with a family law expert, online or in person

During a 90-minute appointment, one of our highly experienced family lawyers will ask you more about your situation so they can determine the best path forward.


Start the journey together

After explaining the child custody process and outlining the next steps, your lawyer will provide a quote for ongoing services for you to consider before entering into an agreement.

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success stories

Client testimonials

Hear from our satisfied clients across Victoria.

"I highly recommend Carew Counsel Solicitors for anyone seeking a dedicated and knowledgeable solicitor for family law matters. Madison Ogilvie excelled in her communication, ensuring I was kept informed every step of the way. Although it got stressful, Madison's professionalism was top-notch."

Shawn C

"In what was a difficult time to go through, I'm thankful that I had the team at Carew in my corner. I received sound advice all the way through the process and felt proud of the dignified way that my case was being responded to. I would certainly recommend Madison and the team at Carew for their professionalism, experience, integrity and dedicated service."

Scott M

"10 Stars! Very happy & relieved that I chose Alex Carew & Carew Counsel for a family member in an extremely concerning & complicated Family Court/child protection matter. Highly professional, ethical, respectful, knowledeable, hard working, strategic, collaborative, communicative, caring, compassionate & child & family welfare focused. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us protect our little child."

Cygnet S

"I would like to thank and acknowledge all the team at Carew Counsel Solicitors for representing me in my recent financial settlement matter. I highly recommend that you engage Carew Counsel Solicitors to represent you in your family law matter."

Frank G
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Why choose Carew Counsel

We put you first

Our compassionate family lawyers will guide you through this emotional and challenging time.

Decades of family law experience

We specialise in children’s matters and will use our experience to inform our recommendations.

Jargon-free advice

We empower you by helping you understand the system, the options available, and the pros/cons of each.

Transparent legal costs

We offer fixed fees where possible or upfront quotes so you know exactly what to expect.

Meet the team

Meet your team of child custody experts


Browse our most commonly asked questions about child custody and the family law services we offer.

What is the parenting law in Australia?

In Australia, parenting law primarily falls under the Family Law Act 1975. The key principles include prioritising the best interests of the child, promoting shared parental responsibility for major decisions, encouraging parenting plans, and emphasising dispute resolution before court intervention. The court may appoint an independent children's lawyer in contentious cases, and considerations of family violence and child abuse are paramount. Parenting orders, addressing living arrangements and parental responsibilities, can be sought if agreements cannot be reached, and there are provisions for appealing such orders.

Terms like ‘guardianship’, ‘access’, ‘residence’ and ‘contact’ are now largely obsolete and have been replaced with concepts like:

  • ‘Lives with’ orders – determines where and with who the child resides
  • ‘Spends time with’ and ‘communicates with’ orders – outlines arrangements between the child and separated parents involving the parent who the child does not normally live with, spend time with or communicate with
  • ‘Special issues’ – relates to issues of education, religion, change of a child’s name, medical treatment, and anything else to do with a child’s upbringing and welfare
What is a parenting plan?

The Family Law Act encourages parents to resolve their child custody arrangements without going to court and many parties opt to do this by entering into a parenting plan.

A parenting plan is a written agreement that sets out the parenting arrangements for children. It can include:

  • Arrangements for who the child is to live with, spend time with, and communicate with
  • Parental responsibility 
  • Child maintenance 
  • Dispute resolution in the event disputes arise
  • Any other aspect of child care, welfare, or development 

The parenting plan only needs to be written and signed freely between the parties to come into effect. An advantage of parenting plans is that they provide parents with more flexibility and the ability to easily change arrangements with minimal expense. This can be particularly useful when the children are young, with their needs likely to change over a short period of time.

Parenting plans are not enforceable by the court if they are breached, but the court will take into consideration the terms of a parenting plan if proceedings are commenced after the parties enter into a parenting plan.

What is a consent order?

Parties who want to formalise their agreement can make an application for consent orders. These are legally enforceable court orders that are made with the best interests of the child in mind. In some cases, consent orders are necessary as they provide structure and certainty for parents and children. In other cases, they can get in the way of common sense discussions and variations to the normal living arrangements of children, which is why in some cases, parenting plans may be preferable over consent orders.

What does the child custody process involve?

The first step is to book a consultation with a family law specialist who will find out more about your situation and explain the legal process should you decide to go ahead. If things are amicable, you can develop a non-legally binding parenting plan or formalise your agreed arrangements with a consent order.

If parenting arrangements can’t be agreed on, we can act as a mediator between you, your former partner, and their legal representation to try and find a solution. If there is no dispute resolution, the next step is to initiate formal court proceedings by attending family court where a judge will then make the decision.

How much do child custody lawyers cost?

The cost of child custody lawyers in Melbourne can vary based on factors such as the lawyer's experience, the complexity of the case, and the specific services required. Family lawyers may charge hourly rates, fixed fees for certain services, or a combination of both. Hourly rates can range widely, typically from $300 to $500 or more per hour, depending on the lawyer's expertise.

At Carew Counsel, we aim to provide the most cost-efficient solutions for clients. We tailor our pricing to your needs and will provide either a fixed rate or an upfront quote after your initial consultation, depending on the services you require.

How do I choose the best child custody lawyer in Melbourne?

Choosing the best child custody lawyer in Melbourne involves careful consideration to ensure you find a lawyer that you are comfortable with and who can help you achieve your desired outcome. 

Some essential factors to consider include:

  • Experience and expertise – Look for a lawyer with significant experience in family law and child custody matters. An experienced lawyer is more likely to navigate the complexities of your case effectively.
  • Reputation – Reading client reviews and testimonials can provide insights into their professional conduct, communication skills, and success in handling similar cases.
  • Referrals – Seek recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have gone through similar experiences. 
  • Communication skills – Choose a lawyer who communicates clearly, keeps you informed about the progress of your case, and responds promptly to your queries.
  • Compatibility – A good lawyer-client relationship is built on trust and mutual understanding.

At Carew Counsel, our accredited family lawyers specialise in children’s matters and will work with you to develop a path forward that prioritises your child’s best interests.

Knowledge Centre

Our Melbourne family law office

03 9670 5711
Level 10, 313 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Mon – Fri, 9 am – 5:30 pm
Wilson Parking on La Trobe St
Complete the enquiry form below and a member of our team will contact you and provide you with further information.
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