Areas of Expertise
Sally is the founder and Managing Partner at Nicholes Family Lawyers. She has practised exclusively in family law since 1995 and is recognised within Australia and internationally as a leading family lawyer.
Whilst Sally has extensive experience in all areas of family law, she has particular expertise in international family law disputes, and financial settlements including complex property matters.
As well as acting for a range of corporate, institutional and private clients, Sally and her firm have a strong and active commitment to pro bono work, both at home and abroad.
Sally’s specialties include:
- Family law disputes dealing with complex corporate and trust structures and financial restructuring combining succession planning/estate planning with corporate restructures – both within Australia and internationally
- Complex property settlements and litigation
- Same-sex relationship, parenting or financial agreements
- De facto cohabitation and pre-nuptial agreements
- Complex parenting arrangements, including multi-party or high conflict disputes
- Child support matters
- International child abduction
- Inter-country adoption
- International and domestic relocation disputes
- Complex child welfare issues including special medical procedures such as gender reassignment or body tissue donations
- Collaborative law
Sally also speaks German.
Sally has extensive involvement in international child abduction matters and was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the United States National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children and the Australian Federal Police for her work on an operation that resulted in the successful location of an abducted child. Sally also has extensive involvement in special medical procedure applications, handling out-of-court settlements of both financial and children’s family law matters and handling contested hearing and appeal cases.
- Bachelor of Arts/Law – University of Melbourne
- Accredited Independent Children’s Lawyer
- Accredited in Collaborative Law – Law Institute of Victoria
- Accredited arbitrator with the Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM)
Memberships and Awards
Sally is a member of:
- the Family Law Section of the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV),
- the LIV Children and Youth Issues Committee,
- the LIV Collaborative Law Section,
- the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, and
- the International Academy of Family Lawyers.
She is also Vice-Chair of the Board of the World Congress on Family Law & Children’s Rights alongside the Chair, The Honourable Diana Bryant AO KC, former Chief Justice of the now Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. Sally and former Chief Justice of the now Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, the Honourable Alastair Nicholson AO KC, have worked in Cambodia to establish their first child friendly justice system through an advocacy not for profit called Children’s Rights International.
In her capacity as Vice-Chair of the Board of the World Congress on Family Law & Children’s Rights, Sally is also a member of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) Prevention Stakeholder Group. ACCCE exists to drive a collaborative national response to counter the exploitation of children in Australia. The organisation works to achieve its objectives by bringing together capabilities from across the public and private sectors, as well as civil society.
Throughout her career, Sally’s work has been recognised both within Australia and internationally. Most recently, she was awarded by the prestigious and independent Doyle’s Guide to Leading Australian Lawyers as a “Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters Lawyer – Victoria 2020”. Nicholes Family Lawyers was also recognised by Doyle’s Guide as a “Leading Family & Divorce Law Firm – Melbourne in 2021 and 2020”. Sally is also a regular presenter at conferences and workshops and appears weekly on Melbourne radio discussing family law.
- 2022 Doyle’s Guide – Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters Lawyers, Melbourne
- 2021 Doyle’s Guide – Leading Family & Divorce Law Firm Melbourne
- 2020 Doyle’s Guide to Leading Australian Lawyers – Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters Lawyer Victoria
- 2020 Doyle’s Guide to Leading Australian Lawyers – Leading Family & Divorce Law Firm Melbourne
- 2018 Doyle’s Guide – Leading Parenting & Children’s Matters Lawyers Victoria
- 2010 Telstra Business Women’s Awards – Victorian Finalist, Commonwealth Bank Business Award
- 2010 Telstra Business Women’s Awards – Victorian Finalist, Nokia Business Innovation Award
- 2007 Rogers Legal Writing Award (Highly commended)
- 2005 Rogers Legal Writing Award (Highly commended)
In the Media
Sally joined JOY 94.9 Radio’s ‘Your Law Talk’ segment to discuss the innovative and groundbreaking work of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia in 2023.
Listen to the segment here.
Managing Partner Sally Nicholes contributed an article to the Victorian Women Lawyers 2023 edition of Portia. In the article, Sally discusses the importance of bridging gaps within communities and promoting increased inclusivity for women in the legal industry.
A copy of the Victorian Women Lawyers 2023 edition of Portia can be found here. Sally’s article is on page 25.
Nicholes Family Lawyers Managing Partner Sally Nicholes and Voice of Change Co-Founder and Director Shayna Blaze appeared in a podcast interview at the Pacifica Congress Conference 2023. Sally and Shayna, along with other experts, presented a session on family violence, Including a screening of the Voice of Change family violence awareness-raising movie “The Fort”.
To listen to the interview, please go to here.
Sally joined JOY 94.9 Radio’s ‘Your Law Talk’ segment to discuss ‘Pre nups’ or Binding Financial Agreements. When should you get one and what’s the best way to start the conversation? Listen to the segment here.
Managing Partner Sally Nicholes was interviewed for the Deakin Law Students’ Society Industry Careers Guide 2023, in which she provides advice to students seeking hands-on experience in family law; addresses common misconceptions about family law; and covers other family law related topics. A copy of the DLSS Industry Careers Guide can be found at Industry Careers Guide | DLSS (deakinlss.org). Sally’s interview is on page 15.
Managing Partner Sally Nicholes was interviewed by Lawyers Weekly for an article, in which she shares her insights on the potential impact of AI on the legal profession, specifically in the context of family law that centres on human connection. A copy of the article can be found here.
Sally joined JOY 94.9 Radio’s ‘Your Law Talk’ segment to discuss de facto relationships and how they are treated in family law. Listen to the segment here.
Sally joined JOY 94.9 Radio’s ‘Your Law Talk’ segment to discuss how to stay safe on dating Apps and where we can report problems. Listen to the segment here.
Sally co authored an article with colleague Nicholes Family Lawyers Senior Partner Keturah Sageman titled “Opening Pandora’s box?” which looks at the Forster decision regarding mutual wills agreements and the implications this case has for binding financial agreements and property settlements from a family law perspective, especially for blended families. Read the article here.
Sally co-authored an article with colleague Nicholes Family Lawyers Senior Partner Keturah Sageman titled “Can we do more to protect children? Intercountry adoption, relocation and abduction” for the January/February 2023 edition of Precedent, the journal of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. Read the article here.
Managing Partner Sally Nicholes and Senior Partner Keturah Sageman co-authored an article for the International Academy of Family Lawyers on ‘How International Jurisdictions Address Systems Abuse in Their Family Courts’ in January 2023. The article provides a comparison on how international jurisdictions seek to protect vulnerable litigants against systems abuse and offers insight into whether the current response ought to be strengthened in order to prevent the prevalence of this kind of abuse.
To read the article, click here.
In January 2023, Sally and ABC Radio Melbourne’s David Astle spoke about how to prepare for family law matters in the Federal Circuit and Family Court on “Evenings with David Astle”.
As well as discussing how to prepare for Court when a Court appearance is necessary, Sally and David discussed Alternative Dispute Resolution – a process whereby people seek to resolve their family law dispute without having to go to Court.
The recording is available here, starting at the 1:09:21 mark.
Sally was interviewed for the William & Lonsdale “Lives in the Law” Podcast series.
In the interview, Sally speaks with former head of Greens List and lawyer Michael Green about the formative influences on her life as a family lawyer, her career to date, how to build a successful family law practice and the importance of giving back to the community.
Highlights in the interview include speaking with Michael about a groundbreaking matter involving sperm donor rights and an international kidnapping case Sally led as an articled clerk and first year solicitor.
To listen to Sally’s interview, and to listen to previous episodes of “Lives in the Law”, click here.
To download the transcript of the interview, click here: Lives in the Law Transcript
Sally was interviewed for an article in the Law Institute of Victoria’s Law Institute Journal on strategies for managing working from home and in the office in the best way possible to meet the needs of clients, staff and employers. A copy of the article can be found here.
Sally contributed an article to the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) Law Institute Journal in June 2022 on improving mental health outcomes in the legal profession.
Sally spoke with ABC Radio Melbourne’s Jacinta Parsons in May 2022 on how to try and achieve a ‘friendly divorce’.