If your relationship breaks down, it is important to have friendly and approachable lawyers who can not only provide you with specialist advice, but will strive to ensure you achieve the best result possible.

Our large team of experienced lawyers include Queensland Law Society Accredited Specialists in Family Law, an Australian National Accredited Mediator and a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. We have the skills and experience to provide expert advice in relation to all areas of family law including:

  • Property Settlements
  • Children’s living arrangements
  • Paternity/DNA
  • Recovery Orders
  • Complex property disputes
  • Child Maintenance and Support
  • Applications for Protection Orders
  • Breach of Domestic Violence Orders
  • Mediation

Our team of solicitors will listen to you to gain a full understanding of your needs. We will keep you fully informed of your options, rights and responsibilities. It is paramount to us that you receive specialist advice which is practical and realistic. We will not tell you what you want to hear, we will tell you what you need to hear. We take a holistic approach to family breakdown to ensure that you are able to move forward with your life in a confident and positive way, having achieved an outcome which is appropriate and that is right for you.

We can assist you to negotiate or mediate a settlement and are focussed on helping you resolve your matter in a timely way. There are, of course, some instances where there is no other option but to go to court. If those circumstances arise, we will give you the advice you need and tirelessly represent you in your court proceedings.

At McKays, we believe that help is not restricted to legal advice alone and we will work closely with your preferred advisors such as accountants, financial advisors and superannuation and taxation specialists to ensure that the advice you receive is right for you and your financial situation.

McKays has family law solicitors based in our Mackay office, however, we have represented clients who live interstate and overseas. Family law is the same throughout Australia, so distance is no barrier. We have available technology such as emails and Skype which mean that we can obtain your instructions and provide superior service without you needing to come into our office.


  1. Assisting a client to obtain Consent Orders from the Court within a month of receiving initial instructions
  2. Successfully obtaining an Urgent Interim Order to protect funds that formed part of a property pool which the husband was attempting to hide
  3. Assisting a client finalise a financial case where both parties were also trying to manage dealings with the Trustee in Bankruptcy
  4. Obtaining urgent Orders to sell a property in circumstances where the husband was refusing to pay the mortgage and wife did not have the financial capacity to do so
  5. Representing clients in complex property proceedings in the Family Court and Federal Magistrates Court
  6. Successfully obtaining Court Orders, within 48 hours of receiving instructions, removing young children from a parent where their safety was at risk
  7. Successfully defending a spousal maintenance application in circumstances where a significant need for financial support was established by the wife
  8. Advising a client in a property matter involving complex corporate structures, self managed super funds, a business with annual turnover of $20m and a net pool of $10m
  9. Successfully obtaining Final Orders in the Federal Circuit Court for a 5 year old child to live with the Father despite having always resided with the Mother as it was deemed to be in that child’s best interest.
  10. Preparing and running a matter through Court, but prior to Trial negotiating an outcome whereby our client and the three children could relocate for the client’s new relationship
  11. Successfully obtaining a Location Order and then locating a child who had been withheld from one parent since he was born.
  12. Representing clients in relation to domestic violence proceeding in the Magistrates Court.
  13. Advising on drafting and negotiating Child Support Agreements


"Thank you Nicole for seeing me the other day at short notice. I left with clear direction and an optimism that I am not wasting your time and my money which is how I felt previously. I thank you most sincerely for your advice that has allowed me to feel comfortable in achieving a possible result, and more importantly lessening my anxiety and stress." - B, Mackay

"The staff have been professional, helpful and straight to the point. Everything has been kept simple to understand and explained well where necessary." - T, New Zealand

"In brief, quick turn around on emails and phone calls to Cathy and quick updates when she received correspondence from my ex partner made it a very smooth and comforting process. I would definitely recommend McKays." - F, Mackay

"I have recently been in the unfortunate position of dealing with a divorce and settlement. These situations are extremely taxing emotionally and financially. Without any hesitation I would recommend Nicole Cullen at McKays Family Law. Without her specialised, professional and experienced assistance, I have no doubts that emotional and financial costs would have been unnecessarily substantially higher. Nicole and her team were invested from the beginning to the end in resolving all aspects of the transaction. She gave constructive, concise legal advice regarding the process, the expectations of the Court, if it gets that far, and with the utmost consideration for my situation. Having resolved my matter, words alone cannot express my gratitude for her help. As that is all I have, “ Thank you Nicole, thank you so very much.” - W, Mackay



What to do before you say I do...

A couple needs to carefully plan for some important legal issues. Practical issues like: How do I change my surname? Do I need to change my passport? Life changing issues like: I had a house before we met, can I keep that if we separate? Is a pre-nuptial agreement binding? What happens to my assets if I am seriously injured? What about my children if I die? This guide will help give you peace of mind about what will happen if you separate and what will happen if you die or are seriously injured. It will also help in avoiding unnecessary legal expenses.

Download Guide

  • Court rules that child should not travel during Covid-19


    Earlier this month the Family Court decided a case where a parent breached a Court Order, by refusing to allow their child to spend time with the other parent because of issues relating to Covid-19. The decision gives us an indication of what circumstances might constitute a “reasonable excu..

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  • Separation & Bankruptcy


    The property interests of creditors and non-bankrupt spouses often conflict, and although legislative changes have been made to alleviate this tension complications still arise between these competing interests. It is extremely important for advisors (bankers, accountants, financial planners, et..

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  • The existence of a de facto relationship


    The existence of a de facto relationship may give rights to each party in relation to an adjustment of property. We all think we know what a de facto relationship is, but how do we determine whether or not such a relationship exits? It is easy to determine when a marriage exists as ..

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  • Demystifying “pre-nups” in Australian family law


    Hollywood loves a “pre-nup” and often spruiks the idea that when one party has an affair, the pre-nup is declared void or provides for the other party to be compensated. However, pre-nups in the Australian legal context are not exactly like those in Hollywood. So what is a pre-nup and how do the..

    Read More

  • Signing on the dotted line - the importance of finalising a property settlement


    It's not unusual for a client to have a "rough" idea or even have reached an informal agreement with their former spouse as to how their property settlement might be finalised. When there are significant investments, businesses and various structural entities, parties often reach agreeme..

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  • Notional Property - Added Back


    In the difficult times which follow a matrimonial or de facto separation, many people are heard to have asked the question: "I have just separated - would it be a good idea for me to sell the boat and spend the proceeds?", or "I'm thinking of taking $30,000 from our savings account and going on ..

    Read More

  • The breakdown of marriage... common tax traps


    Picture this - your client has finally started to get his life back on track after a nasty property dispute with his former wife. An audit by the ATO uncovers the transactions made pursuant to the Family Court Order trigger significant tax consequences for the client. He was not advised of the p..

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  • I don’t have to tell them THAT do I?


    We are often approached by accountants and clients frustrated with the family law disclosure requirements. Clients often say “I don’t want to give them my tax returns, bank statements or payslips - that is a breach of my privacy”. A good understanding of disclosure obligations is impor..

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  • Child support.... are you paying too much?


    When it comes to child support, it’s important to make sure the amount you pay is right for you, and achievable in your circumstances. Often, payers and payees are not aware of their rights to change the amount of child support paid. Some common scenarios where child support can be r..

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These community organisations may be of help to you.
  • Domestic Violence Resource Service
  • Income and Financial Support
  • Counselling
  • Mediation/Dispute Resolution
  • Free Legal Assistance

Domestic Violence Resource Service

If you are suffering from domestic violence, the Domestic Violence Resource Service may be able to assist you with counselling, court applications and general court support.

Sydney Street, Mackay
Telephone: (07) 4957 3888

Income and Financial Support

If you are not working and have a low income you may be entitled to a Centrelink pension or benefit. If you need money urgently you may be eligible for special benefits from Centrelink.

You can apply for these benefits at your local Centrelink branch or visit their website.


Separation is a difficult time for everyone involved and you or your children may benefit from counselling. Relationships Australia and Centacare are two community based counselling services available to you, or alternatively, see the yellow pages for a list of private counsellors in your area.

Relationships Australia
45 Victoria Street, Mackay
Telephone: 1300 364 277

Centacare Mackay
72A Sydney Street
Telephone: (07) 4957 2533


Mediation/Dispute Resolution

Once you are informed about your entitlement you may benefit from attending mediation or dispute resolution in an attempt to reach an agreement between yourselves.

In children's matters it is compulsory that you attend dispute resolution and gain a certificate before you can make any application to the court.

Dispute Resolution Centre
4 George Street, Mackay
Telephone: 49674404 or 1800 501576

Family Relationships Centre
35 Milton Street, Mackay Telephone: (07) 4951 4555
5 Markeri Street, Mermaid Beach, Qld 4218 Telephone: 1300 364 277


Relationships Australia
45 Victoria Street, Mackay
Telephone: 1300 364 277

Free Legal Assistance

You may be eligible for Legal Aid.

Legal Aid
17 Brisbane Street, Mackay
Telephone: 1300 651 188

Mackay Community Legal Centre
Suite 4, City Court Arcade
80 Victoria Street, Mackay
Telephone: (07) 4953 1211



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