Katherine Siotos

Katherine Siotos​


Katherine completed her Juris Doctor degree at Deakin University in 2020 and has worked as a paralegal in Family Law for 5 years before being admitted as an Australian Lawyer and Officer of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia in 2021.

Katherine is highly dedicated and passionate about Family Law. She possesses sound knowledge in all areas of Family Law, including Property, Parenting and Divorce. Katherine brings a significant level of devotion towards providing professional legal services and is driven by obtaining outstanding results for her clients.
She ensures specialised solutions are provided to manage cases and delivers practical outcomes that are achieved in her clients’ best interests.

Katherine is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria.

Katherine Siotos
Alison Loach

Alison Loach

Senior Associate

Giuseppe Rubino

Giuseppe Rubino

Senior Associate

Stephanie Hope


Senior Associate

Related Articles & Cases

how much is a wife entitled to in a divorce | Melbourne Family Lawyers

How Much Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce?

There’s no set percentage or formula to determine how much a wife is entitled to in a divorce.

The division of assets is based on various factors, including financial and non-financial contributions, future needs, and the welfare of the children involved.

It’s common to see asset splits like 60/40 or 70/30 rather than a straight 50/50 division. Each case is unique, and the court uses a four-step process under the Family Law Act 1975 to arrive at a fair and equitable settlement.

So, the amount a wife is entitled to can vary widely depending on the case’s specifics.

The Basics: Understanding Divorce and Financial Settlement

Divorce is a complex and emotionally draining process, and one of the most pressing questions often revolves around financial settlements.

Contrary to popular belief, divorce, and financial settlement are two separate processes under Australian law.

While divorce terminates the marital relationship, the division of assets is determined by a financial settlement. Laws concerning divorce in Australia fall under the Family Law Act 1975.

Options for Splitting Assets

  1. Non-legal Arrangement: An amicable agreement without legal documentation.
  2. Binding Financial Agreement: A legal document that can be made before, during, or after the relationship.
  3. Consent Orders: Legal counsel drafts the division of assets, which is then filed to the court.
  4. Litigation: The family court decides the division, usually as a last resort.

How Assets Are Divided

The division of assets considers each individual’s contributions and needs. This includes financial stability, caregiving roles, and future earning capacities.

Valuation of Assets

Both parties must fully disclose their assets and liabilities, including individual bank balances, owned properties, and debts.

Future Needs and Adjustments

When dividing assets, the court considers each person’s age, health, future earning capacity, and responsibilities for children.

Common Percentage Splits

Assets may be split 50/50 split is rare, a 60/40 or 70/30.


  • Can I get divorced before the property settlement?: Yes, they are separate processes.
  • How long does a divorce settlement take?: Depending on disputes and court involvement, it can range from two weeks to three years.
  • Which assets are considered in a divorce?: Properties, income, superannuation, and debts, among others.
  • What happens if one party hides assets?: If discovered, the court may adjust the asset division in favour of the disadvantaged party, and legal consequences may apply.
  • Can future earnings be considered in the settlement?: Generally, future earnings are not considered part of the asset pool but may influence spousal maintenance decisions.

How We Can Provide Assistance: How Much Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce

When “the client” first approached us, she was understandably anxious and filled with questions, the most pressing of which was, “How much am I entitled to in a divorce?”

As a mother with two young children, her concerns were not just for herself but for her family’s future as well. Our first step was to offer her a comprehensive consultation to understand her unique circumstances.

We assisted the client in gathering all necessary financial documents, including assets and liabilities, both joint and individual.

Our team also helped her understand the importance of non-financial contributions, such as her role as the primary caregiver to her children.

Based on these factors, we were able to provide her with an estimated asset division, which included considerations for her future needs and earning capacity.

Understanding how much a wife is entitled to in a divorce involves navigating complex legal procedures and emotional challenges. It’s crucial to consult with experienced legal professionals to ensure a fair and equitable settlement.

what happens after consent order is sealed by judge | Melbourne Family Lawyers

What Happens After a Consent Order is Sealed by a Judge?

Once the judge seals a Consent Order, it becomes legally binding. This means that both parties must adhere to the terms set out in the Order.

It has the same legal effect as if the judge had decided the Order without the parties going through the entire court process.

A Consent Order aims to finalise agreements between parties regarding the division of their financial assets and care arrangements for their children.

Once sealed, it provides both parties with legal protection. If either party fails to comply with the terms, they can be held accountable in court.

It’s a way to ensure that both parties stick to their agreed-upon terms without further legal intervention, unless there’s a breach.

What Are the Steps Involved in Implementing the Consent Order?

  • Drafting the Order: The agreement reached by both parties is drafted into a document called “Draft Consent Orders.” This step ensures that the agreement is put into a legally acceptable format.
  • Application for Consent Orders: Alongside the draft, another document, the “Application for Consent Orders,” is prepared. This needs to be filed with the court. This procedural requirement ensures the court knows the intention to create a Consent Order.
  • Review and Approval: Both documents are sent to the parties for approval. Changes can be made if necessary. This step ensures both parties agree with the terms set out in the draft.
  • Signing and Filing: Formalises the agreement and sets the legal process in motion. Once both parties agree, they sign the documents filed with the court.
  • Sealing by the Court: If the court finds the Order to be ‘just and equitable,’ it will seal the Order, making it legally binding.

What Are the Do’s and Don’ts After a Consent Order Is Sealed by the Judge?

After a Consent Order is sealed, adhering to its terms is crucial. Common mistakes include:

  • Not following the Order’s specifics.
  • Making informal changes without legal documentation.
  • Assuming that the Order can be easily modified without consequence.


Comply with the Order: Always follow the terms set out in the Consent Order.

Seek Legal Advice: Consult a legal professional if you need clarification on any aspect of the Order.

Open Communication: Maintain open communication with the other party, especially concerning children’s care arrangements.

Document Changes: If both parties agree to any changes, ensure they are documented and legally recognised.


Ignore the Order: Failing to comply can lead to legal consequences.

Make Informal Changes: Any changes to the Order should be legally documented.

Assume Flexibility: The Order is legally binding and not easily changeable.

What Is the Duration of Different Types of Consent Orders?

Once sealed by the court, consent orders do not have an explicit expiration date. Instead, their validity and duration depend on the type of order and the circumstances surrounding it.

Financial Consent Orders: These are generally final once they are implemented. This means that the agreement is considered complete once the financial assets have been divided according to the order.

The order does not “expire” in the traditional sense; rather, once terms are fulfilled, it ceases to have any further effect.

Any attempt to revisit or change the terms would require exceptional circumstances, such as evidence of fraud or significant non-disclosure.

Seek Legal Advice: What Happens After Consent Order Is Sealed by Judge

Consent Orders play a pivotal role in ensuring that agreements reached between parties are honored and legally binding.

They offer a way to avoid lengthy court battles and provide a framework for both parties to move forward.

Given their binding nature, it’s essential to understand the terms and implications fully.

Always seek legal advice to ensure that your interests are protected and that the Order is fair and equitable.

de facto take half house | Melbourne Family Lawyers

I Bought a House With My Girlfriend in Australia and Now We Have Broken up

Can a de facto take half house after a breakup? When a de facto couple in Australia who co-owns a house goes through a breakup, the fate of their shared property becomes a significant concern. This article delves into the complexities of property division post-separation, focusing on legal frameworks, financial contributions, and mortgage responsibilities.

Understanding Legal Frameworks: Joint Tenancy vs Tenancy in Common

In Australia, when a couple buys property together, they enter into either a joint tenancy or a tenancy in a common agreement. These have distinct rules affecting how the property is divided upon separation.

Joint Tenancy

A joint tenancy means equal property ownership, irrespective of individual contributions to the mortgage.

The surviving partner inherits their share and any associated debts if one partner dies. This arrangement views the couple as a single mortgagee.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Joint tenancy signifies equal rights to the property, regardless of individual financial contributions.

Tenancy in Common

Tenancy in common allows for unequal ownership shares, reflecting each partner’s financial contribution.

Each partner’s share can be sold independently, and in the event of death, their share doesn’t automatically transfer to the surviving partner but is handled as per their will.

Mortgages under this scheme are usually a shared responsibility.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Tenancy in common allows for flexible ownership based on financial input, with each partner having a distinct share.

Property Settlement Rights and Factors

The division of property in Australia doesn’t automatically entitle one partner to half the house. The Family Law Act of 1975 guides the division process, considering each partner’s financial and non-financial contributions, relationship length, children, age, health, and earning abilities.

Equity and Contributions

A partner may be entitled to half the house if they can demonstrate that their contributions equate to 50% of the house’s value.

Factors like relationship duration, children, and initial deposits are critical in this determination.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Property division is not a straightforward split but considers various contributions and personal circumstances.

Mortgage Responsibilities Post-Breakup

Post-separation, both partners remain liable for the mortgage. Options include:

  • Selling the property.
  • Continuing to pay off the mortgage jointly.
  • Buying out the other’s share.
  • Transferring the mortgage.

Selling the Property

Selling and splitting proceeds may require discharging the mortgage.

If the property’s value has increased, profits are shared; if not, other assets might be used to cover the mortgage.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Selling the property can be a clean break but involves discharging the mortgage and possibly using other assets.

Continuing Joint Ownership

Couples on amicable terms may continue owning the property jointly, treating it as an investment.

However, if one partner fails to pay their mortgage share, the other must cover it.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Joint ownership post-breakup requires clear agreements and readiness to cover potential payment shortfalls.

Buying Out or Transferring Shares

One partner can buy out the other’s share, necessitating refinancing the mortgage.

Alternatively, transferring the property share to one partner can offer capital gains tax relief, though future sales may incur taxes.

🔑 Key Takeaway: Refinancing is essential for buying out or transferring shares, with potential tax implications.

Seek Professional Legal Advice: Can A De Facto Take Half House

Given the complexity of these matters and their profound implications on individuals’ financial and personal lives, it is crucial to seek professional legal advice.

Legal experts can provide tailored guidance, ensuring that decisions are made with a comprehensive understanding of individual rights and obligations.

This approach not only aids in making informed decisions but also helps safeguard one’s interests during this often challenging transition.

how are assets divided in de facto relationship | Melbourne Family lawyyers

How Are Assets Divided in De Facto Relationships?

In Australia, the division of assets in de facto relationships is not a straightforward 50/50 split, as commonly believed.

Instead, it’s a complex process governed by the Family Law Act, which considers various factors such as the contributions made by each party, their future needs, and the overall circumstances of the relationship.

This article explains the intricacies of asset division in de facto relationships, debunking myths and providing a clear understanding of the legal frameworks involved.

The Myth of the 50/50 Split

Many people assume that assets are divided equally in a de facto relationship. However, this is a myth.

There is no set percentage for asset division based on individual circumstances. The Family Law Act outlines a process that considers both parties’ contributions and future needs. 

What Constitutes a De Facto Relationship?

According to Australian family law, a de facto relationship exists when two people of the same or opposite sex live together on a genuine domestic basis as a couple.

You can’t be married to each other or related by family. 

Do You Have to Go to Court?

Not necessarily. Many couples can formalise the division of assets without court involvement.

However, you can apply to a court for financial orders if an agreement can’t be reached. 

Identifying the Property Pool

The first step in the division process is identifying all assets and liabilities. Both parties must fully disclose all assets, including those held in joint or sole names. 

What Assets and Liabilities to Disclose?

Assets include everything from the family home to superannuation, while liabilities could range from credit card debt to mortgages. 

How is Superannuation Affected?

Superannuation is a unique asset and is subject to specific rules. Splitting super doesn’t convert it into cash; it remains subject to access rules. 

Legal Framework

The Family Law Act sets out a 4-step process for property settlement:

  1. Identifying the property pool
  2. Considering the contributions of both parties
  3. Considering the future needs of both parties
  4. Deciding on a fair division based on circumstances.

How We Can Help

Recently, we had the opportunity to assist a client who was deeply concerned about the division of assets in her de facto relationship.

The female entrepreneur, the client, had just launched her own business and was understandably anxious about how this new venture would be considered in the asset division process.

She contacted our law firm seeking clarity and guidance on her unique situation.

After an initial consultation, we immediately got to work, reviewing her financials and the contributions both she and her partner had made to their shared and individual assets.

Given that her business was in its infancy, we explained that under Australian law, particularly the Family Law Act, the court considers various factors such as contributions to the relationship, future needs, and other circumstances.

We advised her on the best strategies to protect her business interests while ensuring a fair division of other shared assets.

To provide her with comprehensive support, we also connected her with financial advisors who could help structure her business assets in a way that would most benefit her future, regardless of the relationship’s outcome.

It Is Best to Seek Legal Advice

Navigating the division of assets in a de facto relationship can be a complex and emotionally taxing experience.

While this article aims to provide a comprehensive overview, it’s important to remember that each relationship is unique, with its own circumstances that can impact the division of assets.

Given the complexity of the legal frameworks involved, seeking professional legal advice is highly advisable to ensure you’re making informed decisions in your best interest.

Don’t leave your financial future to chance; consult a legal expert to guide you through this challenging life event.

how to get a divorce | Melbourne Family Lawyers

Ending a marriage is always a challenging decision. Still, if you’ve come to the difficult conclusion that divorce is the best option, it’s essential to understand the process and legal requirements on how to get a divorce.

Divorce is the legal process of ending a marriage, dissolving the legal bond between spouses, and allowing them to live separately and independently.

What Is A Divorce Order?

A divorce order is a legal document that a court issues to end a marriage formally.

It confirms that the marriage between two individuals is legally dissolved, and they are no longer considered husband and wife in the eyes of the law.

Once a divorce order is granted, both parties are free to remarry if they choose to do so.

It is an essential document that signifies the finality of the marriage and the beginning of a new chapter for the individuals involved.

How To Get A Divorce in Australia?

Divorce can be a complex and emotional journey, but understanding how to get a divorce can help ease the burden.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get a divorce in Australia, including the legal framework and essential considerations.

1. Meet the Legal Requirements

In Australia, you must meet certain legal requirements before applying for a divorce. These requirements include:

a. Jurisdiction:

At least one spouse must regard Australia as their home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely or be an Australian citizen by birth, descent, or grant of citizenship.

b. Separation:

The marriage must have irretrievably broken down, demonstrated by a period of separation lasting at least 12 months. This means you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for the required duration.

Also read: How Long Does a Divorce Take in Australia

2. Seek Legal Advice

Divorce can involve complex legal issues, especially regarding property settlement and child custody arrangements. Before initiating the divorce process, seeking legal advice from a family lawyer is advisable.

They can provide personalised advice based on your circumstances and protect your rights.

3. Prepare the Divorce Application

To begin the divorce process, you must complete and lodge a divorce application form with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. You can apply jointly with your spouse or separately if your partner is unwilling to cooperate.

4. Serve the Divorce Application

If you file for divorce jointly, there is no need to serve the application on your spouse. However, if you file separately, you must arrange for a copy of the divorce application to be given to your spouse according to court rules.

5. Attend the Divorce Hearing

In some cases, a divorce hearing may not be required. However, if there are children under 18 involved or the court requires further information, a hearing date will be set.

Both parties must only attend the hearing if they have filed a joint application. If everything is in order, the court will grant the divorce, and a divorce order will be issued one month and one day after the hearing.

6. Consider Child Custody and Property Settlement

It’s essential to note that a divorce only legally ends the marriage. Child custody arrangements and property settlements are separate matters that require careful consideration.

If children are from the marriage, you must address custody, visitation, and child support arrangements.

For property settlement, reaching a mutually acceptable agreement or, if necessary, seeking court intervention to divide assets and liabilities fairly is recommended.

How To Oppose A Divorce?

Legal Representation: It is essential to seek legal advice from a family lawyer to understand your rights and options. An experienced lawyer can help you prepare and represent your interests effectively.

File a Response: When you receive the divorce application from your spouse, you will have an opportunity to file a response with the court. In your answer, you can state why you oppose divorce and present your arguments.

Contest the Grounds: If the divorce application is based on specific grounds (e.g., separation), you can contest the accuracy or validity of those grounds. Provide evidence and facts to support your position.

Attend Court Hearings: If the court schedules a hearing, attend and present your case. This is an opportunity to explain your reasons for opposing the divorce and respond to any questions from the court.

Gather Evidence: Collect any evidence or documents that support your position, such as financial records, communications, or evidence of attempts to reconcile.

Child Custody and Property Division: If you have children or significant assets involved, address these issues separately from the divorce proceedings. Present your preferences for child custody arrangements and property division.

Seek Legal Remedies: If your spouse is not meeting their obligations, you can pursue legal remedies for specific issues (e.g., non-payment of child support).

How We Assist Our Clients: How To Get A Divorce

Stella and Jordan, a couple who recently decided to end their seven-year marriage, approached us as a law firm.

We listened to their concerns during the initial meeting and outlined the divorce process, explaining the legal requirements and potential outcomes.

We began preparing the necessary divorce paperwork upon their agreement, ensuring accuracy and completeness. We guided them through the documentation.

After presenting their case, the court granted their divorce. We successfully helped Stella and Jordan navigate the divorce proceedings, ensuring their rights were protected and enabling them to move forward positively with their lives.

Remember to Seek Legal Advice

Getting a divorce in Australia involves several legal steps and requirements that must be met. It can be emotionally challenging, but understanding the legal process can provide clarity and guidance.

Remember to seek legal advice, file the necessary documentation, and consider the implications for child custody and property settlement.

With the proper support and knowledge, you can navigate through this challenging period and move towards a new chapter in your life.

child custody when mother is breastfeeding

Child custody disputes can be emotionally stressful and legally complicated. When a mother is breastfeeding, it may be necessary to take additional factors into account.

The Family Law Act 1975 governs child custody issues in Australia, recognising the necessity of breastfeeding for infants’ health and well-being.

Here is a closer examination of how Australian law deals with child custody when the mother is breastfeeding.

Practical Considerations

Breastfeeding can pose practical challenges for shared care arrangements, such as when the child needs to be fed during visits with the non-resident parent.

In such cases, the court may order that the mother provides expressed breast milk or formula for the child during visits or that visits take place around feeding times.

Visitation Schedule for Breastfeeding Infant

If the mother is breastfeeding, there are several parenting arrangement options available that can take into account the needs of both the mother and the child. Here are some possible arrangements:

  • Sole custody with regular visits: The mother may have sole custody of the child, but the father can have regular visits with the child. The visits can take place at times that do not interfere with breastfeeding, or the mother can provide expressed breast milk or formula for the child during visits.
  • Joint custody with breastfeeding-friendly arrangements: The parents can agree to joint custody, where the child spends time with both parents. The parenting arrangements can be breastfeeding-friendly, such as having shorter but more frequent visits with the father or having visits during feeding times.
  • Temporary custody arrangements: If the child is still a newborn or infant, the mother may need temporary custody until breastfeeding is established. After this period, the parents can revisit the custody arrangements and adjust as needed.
  • Mediation and negotiation: If the parents cannot agree on the custody arrangements, they can seek the help of a mediator to facilitate discussions and come up with a mutually agreeable arrangement that takes into account the needs of the child and the mother’s breastfeeding needs.
  • Court-ordered arrangements: If the parents cannot agree on the custody arrangements, they can seek the court’s intervention. The court will consider the best interests of the child and may order arrangements that take into account the mother’s breastfeeding needs.

In any event, it is essential to prioritise the child’s needs and guarantee their safety and care. The parents can work together to create a parenting plan that benefits everyone, or they can seek professional assistance of custody lawyers if necessary.

Presumption of Shared Parental Duties

One of the most important goals is to ensure that children have meaningful relationships with both parents when it is safe and in their best interests.

There is a presumption of shared parental responsibility, which means that both parents should have an equal voice in significant decisions concerning the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religion.

However, this does not imply that equal time or shared care is suitable for all families.

The family court will consider a variety of factors, such as the child’s age, the relationship between the parents, the child’s wishes (if they are mature enough to express them), and the practicability of proposed arrangements.

Also read: Does the Mother Always Have Automatic Custody?

Breastfeeding and Its Importance

The court must consider the significance of breastfeeding to the child’s health and well-being when a mother is breastfeeding.

Antibodies and essential nutrients in breast milk protect infants from illness and infection.

Additionally, breastfeeding facilitates bonding between mother and infant, which is essential for emotional development.

If the primary caregiver is the mother and the child is still breastfeeding, the court will likely prioritise the child’s need for continuity and stability in their care arrangements.

Breastfeeding may have a significant impact on the duration and frequency of visits with the non-resident parent.

In some instances, the court may order that the non-resident parent’s visits be supervised or occur at specific times to minimise disruption of the child’s breastfeeding routine.

Breastfeeding and Winning the Custody Battle

Can a mother use breastfeeding to win child custody battle? No, a mother cannot use breastfeeding to automatically obtain custody of her child in a custody dispute with the father.

Decisions regarding child custody when mother is breastfeeding. are based on the child’s best interests, and factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, their physical and emotional well-being, and their ability to satisfy the child’s needs are considered.

Although lactation is regarded as essential for the health and well-being of infants, it is not a factor in custody decisions.

If the mother is the primary caregiver and the child is still breastfeeding, the court may consider the child’s need for continuity and stability in care arrangements, as well as the feasibility of proposed custody arrangements.

However, this does not automatically grant custody to the mother.

Also read: Does the Mother Have Full Custody?


In conclusion, child custody when mother is breastfeeding is a complex issue that requires careful consideration of the child’s best interests. The court will take into account the importance of breastfeeding for the child’s health and well-being and strive to ensure that both parents have a meaningful relationship with the child.

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