Special Counsel

Sally Baker

Sally has over 25 years’ experience dealing with all aspects of family law, from pre-nuptial agreements to negotiating property and parenting issues following separation. Sally has been an Accredited Family Law Specialist since 2003 and has acquired a broad range of experience and expertise in married/ de facto/same sex relationship property disputes. She has also gained practical “hands on” experience in advising on strategy and preparing complex property and financial matters for court proceedings as well as child related disputes. Sally has a special interest in advising on and preparing binding financial agreements as well as same sex relationship issues,  and provides advice on all aspects of financial/property and children’s legal issues including post separation parenting, child support, property settlements and succession/asset/wealth protection, particularly as it relates to blended families, trusts and inherited assets.

Expertise

Sally has expertise in conducting a variety of family law cases/proceedings in the Magistrates Court (including applications for intervention orders) and in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (including in respect of property, maintenance, child support and child related/parenting disputes). She also has particular expertise in conducting private mediations and negotiating disputes prior to litigation by taking a commercial and pragmatic approach to problem solving to ensure cost effective outcomes for her clients.  She provides clear and practical advice tailored to client’s individual needs and is resolution focussed.

Sally has extensive practical experience in conducting complex family law matters and litigation including those with corporate financial structures, large asset pools, difficult valuation disputes, applications involving third parties, questions of jurisdiction and international related issues as well as applying for injunctions, spousal maintenance and child support departure orders.

As part of Sally’s practice, she prepares binding child support agreements and financial agreements and works with a variety of other professionals to assist client’s resolve their disputes including junior and senior counsel, accountants, valuers, counsellors, psychologists and other health professionals.

Sally’s areas of speciality and practice cover:

  •  Mediation and Alternative/Family Dispute Resolution processes.

  • Financial Agreements – before, during or after marriage or de facto relationships.

  • Parenting advice and orders.

  • Property settlements and spousal maintenance including those with complex financial/corporate structures.

  • Asset protection/structuring, family trusts and corporate structures and valuation issues.

  • Drafting of settlement documentation including Court Orders; Financial and Child Support Agreements.

  • Child Support advice and disputes including administrative assessments and departure applications under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.

  • Divorce advice and applications.

  • LGBTIQ issues, agreements and advice on separation.

  • Family violence and intervention orders under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008.

  • Acting in all matters/Court proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 including those requiring urgent interim orders such as injunctions.

Recent Projects

  • Acting on international relocation case involving the permanent relocation of a client’s children from Australia to Egypt.

  • Acting on a case involving the valuation and sale of a client’s minority interest in a Franchise business involving third parties.

  • Advising a high net worth client on and drafting a complex Financial Agreement involving significant assets held in various corporate or trust structures in Australia and overseas including considering taxations consequences of the proposed settlement.

  • Advising a client on and drafting a Binding Child Support Agreement including the treatment of periodic and non-periodic/lump sum payments and terminating events as well as international enforcement issues.

  • Assisting a client in a same sex relationship to successfully resolve an acrimonious parenting dispute involving allegations of family violence and drafting appropriate final parenting orders.

  • Acting for client in a protracted property case involving non-disclosure and non-compliance by the other party with Court orders and a dispute about the value of a business conducted by a family trust including considering the impact of a party’s conduct on the question of costs.

  • Assisting a client to resolve a parenting and property settlement where there were complex mental health issues, family violence proceedings in a State court and estate considerations following the death of a party.

  • Acting for a client to negotiate a property settlement involving the valuation and potential sale of significant assets held in a complex corporate group structure including dealing with substantial discovery and disclosure issues as well as third party interests.

Professional Memberships / Accreditation & Activities

  • Recommended Lawyer, ‘Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters’ – Victoria, Doyle’s Guide (2023 – 2024).

  • Recommended Lawyer, ‘Family Law’ – Best Lawyers in Australia (2020 – 2023).

  • Lawyer of the Year, ‘Family Law’ – Best Lawyers in Australia (2021).

  • Finalist, Special Counsel, ‘Women in Law Awards’ – Lawyers Weekly (2022 – 2023).

  • Director to the Board of Relationship Matters (2015-2024).
  • Member and volunteer of the Fitzroy Legal Service including its LGBTIQ specialist advisory service/team.

  • Member of various family law professional associations including the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria and Law Council of Australia.

  • Director to the Board of Relationship Matters relationship and counselling service.

  • Member of the Victorian Women Lawyers Association.

  • Member of the Family Law Section (FLS) of the Law Council of Australia (LCOA).

  • Member of the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV).

  • Member and Volunteer of the Fitzroy Legal Service.

  • Accredited Family Law Specialist (Law Institute of Victoria) – 2003.

    Sector

location

Melbourne

Partner

John Mazzotta

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