FAMILY LAW MATTERS

ANTONELLA SANDERSON

ANTONELLA SANDERSON

Founding Solicitor
Collaborative Family Lawyer
Accredited Specialist in Family Law
 
QUALIFICATIONS
• Bachelor of Laws (including Family Law & Advanced Family Law), Honours (Family Law) (UTS, 1999)
• Graduate Certificate in Legal Practice (UTS, 1999)
• Admitted to practise in the High Court of Australia (1999)
• Admitted to practise in the Supreme Court of NSW (1999)
• Accredited Family Law Specialist (NSW, 2013)
• Family Law Arbitrator (AIFLAM, 2016)
• Collaboratively Trained Family Lawyer (2016)
MEMBERSHIPS
• Member, Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators
• Member, (and Committee Member of Board) of Southern Sydney Collaborative Professionals (Local Practice Group)
• Member, (and Committee Member of Board) of Collaborative Professionals NSW (State Body)
• Member, Australian Association of Collaborative Professionals (National Body)
• Member, Law Society of New South Wales (served as Director / Councillor from 2017-2019)
• Member, St George & Sutherland Shire Regional Law Society (including Family Law Committee)
• Member, Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia
• Member, Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators
PRESENTATIONS
• Initial Contributions & Disparity in Income in Property Settlement Assessments – Inaugural St George & Sutherland Shire Annual Family Law Day (2022)
• Trust Ruptures in Separation and importance of Collaboration – a Summary of Pauline Tesler’s Work – Southern Sydney Collaborative Professionals (2022)
• Initial Contributions & Disparity in Income in Property Settlement Cases – Television Education Network (2022)
• Future Needs Factors: Determining what’s fair in Family Law property settlement – Television Education Network (2019)
• Collaboration and Round Table Conferencing - Alternate Dispute Resolution education video, University of NSW (2019)
• Assessing Contributions in Family Law, “What’s mine is not yours” – 59th Annual Armidale Continuing Legal Education Weekend, Television Education Network (2018)
• Mock Conciliation Conference trainer – Confidence in the Courtroom presentation, Young Lawyers (2017)
• Parental Responsibilities & Rights in Federal and State Laws – 4th Annual Blended Families Symposium, Television Education Network (2017)
• Contributions in Family Law Property cases – Road to Nowhere – 11th Annual Family Conference Versace, Gold Coast - Television Education Network (2016)
• Consent Orders – the good, bad and the ugly way of drafting your orders – Young Lawyers (2016)
• Mock Conciliation Conference trainer – Confidence in the Courtroom presentation, Young Lawyers (2015)
• Inheritance as a factor in Family Property Disputes –Television Education Network (2015)
• Managing Clients with Mental Health and Capacity issues in Family Law – Television Education Network (2015)
• Getting it right – drafting an Application for Consent Orders- Young Lawyers (2015)
• Family Law Case Watch – Sound Education in Family Law, Television Education Network (2014)
• Child Support – Everything a Young Lawyer needs to know – Young Lawyers (2014)
• Harman Obligation and Child Support - Interactions with Family Law – Family Law Committee of the Sutherland Shire Regional Law Society (2014)
• Child Support for Accountants – Institute of Public Accountants, Kogarah (2012)
• Family Law for Accountants - Institute of Public Accountants, Kogarah (2011)
MEDIA
ABC Radio Melbourne Breakfast program – March 2022 – Divorce Laws – differences between UK and Australia “No Fault” systems
ABC Radio National Breakfast program – March 2022 - Divorce Laws – differences between UK and Australia “No Fault” systems
ABC Podcast – “The Good Divorce” – April 2021 https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/the-good-divorce
Triple J Radio – “The Hook-up” – 2017, 2018
ABC Television – Q&A – 2017

My parents separated when I was 7 years old.  I remember feeling confused about what was going on, upset at seeing my parents distressed over their court proceedings – as a child, I felt like it was my fault they had separated.   At that age, I said to myself, “One day, I want to be a family lawyer, so that no child has to experience what I have been through”.  So, I made a plan, followed my dream, and became a lawyer dedicated to the practise of Family Law. 

On 3 September 2002, when my baby was a mere 9 months old, I made a bold decision to start my own business.  I was 26 and positively fearless – in hindsight, maybe a little clueless about just how much hard work it would be to run my own business.  I had three strong beliefs at that time, which I carry with me to this day: 

  • Couples touched by relationship breakdown deserve to experience a sense of closure, in a restorative way, regardless of their circumstances.  Most of all, their children deserve healing in the process.
  • Our workplaces must nurture our passion for Family Law and prepare us for the powerful impact we can have in the community.  We are not just giving a legal service - we are conflict healers.  
  • Our faith in the Family Law System needs to be replenished.  The System should be constantly seeking even better outcomes for all involved, and provide a positive journey for the families, the lawyers and the decision makers who take part in the legal aspects of a separation.  

Since realising my dream of becoming a family lawyer, I have loved working with good people who want to minimise the conflict, stay out of court and find a more positive way to end their relationship. I encourage my clients to consider a Collaborative Divorce process – this works where you and your ex-spouse agree to stay out of court and, with the support of a highly trained team, we all work together to resolve the disputes and reach a settlement that meets everyone’s needs, interests and concerns. Collaboration has had an exceptionally positive impact on the lives of my clients, their ex-spouses and their children – it is by far the most wholistic, restorative and healing way of reaching a resolution. 

I call myself the "3D Family Lawyer"

because I’ve experienced divorce on all three dimensions – as a child of divorced parents, through my own divorce in 2003, and as a result of dedicating my career to the practise of family law.  My experiences give me a unique perspective on what you are feeling, and how your children will be coping, during the experience of separation and divorce.  People often say to me, “How can you stand being a family lawyer, it must be so hard!”  They’re right – it is hard – when you care about your clients and you’re invested in making sure they experience the best possible positive approach to their resolution, it leaves you spent by the end of the day.

The way I replenish my soul is through the sea – there’s nothing more I enjoy than swimming in it, scuba diving below it, or sailing over the top of it – that’s where I find joy.