Hayley Chester

Hayley Chester Profile Photo
Senior Associate
Hayley Chester Profile Photo

Hayley has practiced exclusively in Family & Relationship Law since her admission to practice in 2017. While based in Melbourne, Hayley has strong connections regionally and frequently services clients located in North-East Victoria and the Albury/Wodonga region.

Hayley provides expect strategic advice in an empathic manner. She recognises the breakdown of a relationship is an extremely challenging time and that each client has different priorities. She is known for her strong attention to detail, efficient practice and high level of care, leading to fair and pragmatic outcomes for her clients.

Hayley works on a wide range of matters including complex property and parenting matters, issues pertaining to de facto and same sex couples, spousal maintenance, and child support. In recent years, Hayley's practice has expanded to work with high-net-worth individuals, drafting financial agreements for the protection of inter-generational wealth, as well as those who have previously experienced a marriage breakdown, seeking to protect their wealth during future relationships. Hayley frequently works alongside a network of professionals whilst completing this work, including estate planning lawyers and financial advisors.

Hayley has been recognised as a finalist in 2022 and as a nominee in 2023 for the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards for Family Law.

Along with her experience in private practice, Hayley historically volunteered at the Women's Legal Service for a number of years, providing family law advice and referrals to numerous vulnerable women. Hayley has also interned at the Bombay High Court of India.


Hayley's expertise includes:

  • property settlements (including negotiated agreements, mediation and defended litigation)
  • drafting financial agreements for couples who are in or are contemplating a de facto relationship or marriage
  • spousal maintenance
  • parenting arrangements for the care of children (including alternative dispute resolution, private mediation and litigation)
  • litigation in relation to special medical treatment for children, such as those diagnosed with gender dysphoria
  • disputes in relation to parentage issues and who is legally deemed to be a parent
  • child support
  • international child abduction matters (otherwise known as Hague Convention matters).

Career highlights

Hayley's career highlights include:

  • successfully obtaining an order for sole parental responsibility allowing a child to receive treatment for gender dysphoria and legally change their name
  • advising and acting for high-net-worth clients with complex corporate and trust structures
  • successfully obtaining a sole parental responsibility order allowing her client to apply for passports for the children and returning them home to Australia following a period of six years living abroad (after they fled Australia due to significant family violence)
  • successfully obtaining orders to prevent the sale of properties whereby the other party was attempting to sell the properties pursuant to a fire sale
  • acting and advising in court proceedings to determine whether a party was legally considered a parent in circumstances where they were not on the birth certificate and the child was born via IVF with donor egg/sperm
  • representing a party in court proceedings to prove the existence of a de facto relationship within the meaning of the Family Law Act.

Client feedback

In a property matter acting for a client where the husband was in breach of final orders but promptly complied after Hayley's involvement:

"Hayley… I couldn’t wish it for a kinder person than yourself. Thank you for absolutely everything you have done for me and [child's name]. You have gone above and beyond. I am so fortunate to have had the pleasure to have you represent me. So Thank You! It’s been a pleasure,"

In a pro bono gender dysphoria case, as follows from the 10-year-old child involved:

"Thankyou sooo much for what you have done for me and our family. We can't thank you enough…It means so much to have such an amazing team fighting for us."

In a parenting matter where Hayley successfully obtained a sole parental responsibility order for her client:

"Thanks a lot again and again. Feeling very blessed, thankful, and excited. You did so much for me. Will remember until my last breath…Hugely grateful in ways that words cannot describe."

In a difficult financial agreement matter which Hayley promptly resolved:

"To an amazing lawyer who made a difficult process easier with diligence and kindness. Thank you Hayley."

Insights by Hayley