Vanessa Leishman has been practising family law as a Barrister and Solicitor since 1994 and has a particular focus on assisting clients to resolve their family law issues in a dignified and cost-effective manner.
Vanessa listens carefully to her clients to ensure that she understands their objectives and can offer practical, strategic and timely solutions to them.
She advises clients in relation to all issues arising from marital or de facto separation including complex property settlements involving trusts, companies, tracing of assets and cross-border issues, binding financial agreements, asset planning, spousal maintenance and child support.
Vanessa is also very experienced in children’s issues including relocation disputes, inter-state and overseas child abduction and child protection matters. Vanessa has had extensive experience representing children in parenting and child protection proceedings and is passionate about children’s rights.
Vanessa is a very experienced advocate in Court having practised for many years as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand. However, she also understands the importance of resolving family law disputes in non-adversarial ways such as through mediation. She is trained in collaborative law which is a cost-effective, dignified and non-adversarial method of resolving family law disputes where clients who are identified as suitable to use the process agree at the outset not to litigate their matter.
Vanessa acts for the complete spectrum of clients including high net worth individuals, primary producers based in rural areas, clients who need advice in relation to how to deal with property division involving a small property pool, or a single asset such as a house or a business, as well as clients facing extremely challenging and difficult domestic circumstances.
Vanessa has specialised in family law in both Australia and New Zealand and has represented a number of clients who have property in both jurisdictions, or who have child support issues, parenting disputes or who wish to relocate with their children from, or to Australia.
Vanessa is an active member of the Queensland Law Society and is on the Children’s Law Committee, the Family Law Committee and the Proctor Editorial Committee.
- Bachelor of Arts (1994) (Auckland University)
- Bachelor of Laws (1994) (Auckland University)
- Master of Applied Family Law (2012) (College of Law)
- Independent Children’s Lawyer Training 2012
- Legal Practitioner in the Supreme Court of Queensland
- Legal Practitioner in the High Court of Australia
- Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand
- QLS Children’s Law Committee
- QLS Family Law Committee
- QLS Proctor Editorial Committee
- Queensland Law Society
- New Zealand Law Society
- Family Law Practitioners Association (QLD)
- Family Law Section
More on the New Zealand Connection
Prior to moving to Australia, Vanessa was a partner in a medium sized firm in Auckland and headed its family law team.
After arriving in Brisbane, Vanessa became aware of the large number of ex-pat New Zealanders living in Australia, particularly in Queensland, as a result of the special Trans-Tasman visa arrangements that exist between Australia and New Zealand. (New Zealanders and Australians can travel to and work and live in each country under the automated visa approval arrangements).
Due to the ease of movement between the two countries, parties who separate often have family law issues in both jurisdictions.
For example, there may be real property or investments in both Australia and New Zealand or, a party may decide they want to relocate back to the country of origin with the children. Sometimes a parent may have already moved from one country to the other, which can initially happen as a “temporary break”, but ultimately are there without the agreement of the other parent. There are quite strict international conventions on the movement of children and often either that parent, or the parent left behind, needs urgent advice as to their remedies.
This is where Vanessa’s expertise in both jurisdictions is key. Through her Trans-Tasman dual qualifications and experience she can assist clients with their family law issues whether they are based in Australia or New Zealand and clients can be assured they are receiving accurate advice as to their legal position in either jurisdiction.
Vanessa can provide specific advice to clients as to which country is the more appropriate forum to resolve their legal issue, including matters that may involve a court application and can provide advice on the likely outcomes.
Vanessa has extensive experience in parenting proceedings involving relocation and child abduction and can assist clients involved in parenting or Hague Convention proceedings in either country.
Vanessa can also assist clients to effect a property settlement with their former spouse or partner and can provide independent legal advice on agreements, in both jurisdictions.