Melanie Tonazzi

Principal Solicitor & Founder


Melanie is the Senior Partner and Founder of Sydney Law Group having established the business in 2010. Melanie has spent most of her working life helping people. Firstly, as a nurse, and finally as a lawyer and business owner.

Melanie practices exclusively in Family and Criminal Law, Probate and General Litigation. She leads a team of talented lawyers and paralegals with superior skills in those fields along with Wills, Probate and Conveyancing. She demands the very best from her team and is relentless in pursuit of delivering value to the firm’s clients.

Melanie says:

“If I was starting fresh, in a world where anything is possible, I would still do the work I do now. This is because I love owning a business and leading a team of people dedicated to helping people. I love supporting clients as they transition from vulnerability and fear in a crisis, to confidence and happiness following well crafted outcomes. I love forensically challenging evidence and developing a strong case plan. Being a lawyer is a privilege. We are trusted with the intimate details and future direction of our client’s lives, and that trust is never lost on me. We will never lose a case due to lack of preparation or care. That will never ever happen here”.

Melanie has developed a reputation for being compassionate and resolving complex legal matters in a practical and sensitive way. She is a fierce advocate and negotiator and is well-known for fighting hard for her clients and going above and beyond to achieve the best available results.

Melanie has negotiated and documented numerous complex Family Law settlements which have kept her clients out of the Court system. She has prevented children from being removed from Australia and has assisted parents experiencing mental health issues to spend time with their children in a safe and child focused way.

She has broad Criminal Law experience including traffic matters, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, PCA offences, speeding offences, large drug possession and supply, and appeals from license suspensions. She has achieved non-conviction outcomes and suspended sentences in drug-related offenses and has acted for defendants in matters involving possession and supply of commercial and trafficable quantities of drugs, possession of prohibited weapons, and proceeds of crime. She has also acted in jury trials in which she achieved acquittals involving allegations of historical sexual abuse, stabbing, assault occasioning actual and grievous bodily harm and property damage including graffiti-related offences.

Melanie is described by her clients as having strong forensic and investigative skills which has resulted in outstanding outcomes in both Family and Criminal Law. She is relentless in the pursuit of delivering value-based legal services to the clients of the firm.

Melanie is a member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council and the Law Society of New South Wales. Melanie is an emerging thought leader and speaker, and has been recognised for her contribution to the community in and the press:

Nominee – Law and Justice Volunteer Award – 2003 Justice Awards held at Parliament House, Sydney on 13 October 2003

Law Society of NSW Journal – Feature article concerning her work as a volunteer with the Pro Bono Scheme

17 May 2016
The Weekly Times: Law Week 2016

18 June 2019
Keynote address Uncensored Money Series sponsored by BT Financial and Westpac – Topic: Things to consider when coupling and uncoupling

Winner Local Business Awards – Professional Services

9 October 2019
Featured in The Weekly Times following the Local Business Awards

Finalist Local Business Awards – Professional Services

May 2021
Guest Speaker Mamamia podcast “What the Finance” (Episode 8)

Melanie is located in the Macquarie Park office and regularly appears in the Family Court, Supreme Court, District Court and Local Court in New South Wales.

Her notable cases are:

Parkview Constructions Pty Ltd v Abrahim [2013] NSWCA 460
NEGLIGENCE – personal injury – scaffolding rendered unsafe by act of third party – whether scaffolder breached its duty of care in constructing scaffolding – whether principal contractor failed to conduct adequate inspections – whether plaintiff’s employer negligent in failing to warn of risk – whether primary Judge’s assessment of economic loss excessive

Dean & Garnet [2020] FamCA 4 (10 January 2020)
FAMILY LAW – PROPERTY SETTLEMENT – Leave to file application out of time – Where the applicant filed an application for property settlement over five years out of time – Where the applicant requires leave pursuant to s 44(6) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) – Where the parties’ de facto relationship lasted for over 20 years – Where the applicant’s contributions were greater than the respondent’s – Where the applicant has a reasonable basis for a valuable claim – Court satisfied that the applicant would face hardship if the leave were not granted – Where the delay in filing was in part caused by the applicant’s significant mental health issues – Where the prejudice that the applicant would face if leave were not granted would be greater than the prejudice to the respondent if leave were granted – Where the granting of leave is warranted in order to do justice to both parties – Leave granted.

Garston & Yeo [2019] FamCAFC 56 (28 March 2019)
FAMILY LAW – APPLICATION IN AN APPEAL – EXPEDITION – Expedition of the appeal sought on the basis that the hearing of the appeal will be short and that the appeal has strong prospects of success – Where those considerations do not justify prioritising this appeal over others – Application dismissed – Applicant ordered to pay the respondent’s costs of the application.

Garston & Yeo (No. 2) [2019] FamCAFC 139 (16 August 2019)
FAMILY LAW – APPEAL – LEAVE TO APPEAL – Appeal against an interim order for spousal maintenance pending the determination of property proceedings between the parties – Where leave to appeal is required – Whether the trial judge’s decision is attended with sufficient doubt to warrant its reconsideration – Whether substantial injustice would flow if it were not reconsidered – Whether the trial judge’s reasons are adequate – Whether the evidence supports a finding that the amount ordered for spousal maintenance was a reasonable amount to meet the respondent’s needs – Where the trial judge’s path of reasoning is clear and the reasons are adequate – Where the evidence supports the trial judge’s findings – Where a claim for spousal maintenance is not limited by reference to current expenses – Where verification of expenditure depends on the nature of the claim and may not necessarily be required – A person seeking spousal maintenance is not necessarily obliged to resort to their capital before they can receive the benefit of an order for spousal maintenance – No merit in any ground of appeal – No basis for granting leave to appeal – Application dismissed – Appellant to pay the respondent’s costs, as agreed, or in default of agreement, as assessed.

Melanie is a sought-after lawyer. She can be contacted through her assistant on 8819 4399. Melanie undertakes conferences in the office and via Zoom.

Melanie, Thank you for your most wonderful instructions.
It is a credit to you that your client has been able to achieve such a favourable result after protracted litigation.

Help is only a phone call away.
Call us on 02 8819 4399 for a confidential chat.
Or book online and we’ll call you.

Our Legal Services

Family Law

Separation, Property and Financial Matters, Consent Orders, Financial Agreements, Parenting, Married and De Facto issues, Child Support, Parentage, International Child Abduction (Hague Convention), Divorce, Domestic Violence, Apprehended violence orders

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Criminal Law

We are experienced experts in criminal law. Driving offences including drink-driving & PCA offences, Drug Driving, Common Assault, Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO), Drug Offences including possession and supply, Assault occasioning grievous or actual bodily harm, larceny, property damage and graffiti related offences, and more serious criminal offences. Local Court, District Court, and jury trials.

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We act on the sale and purchase of properties and transferring properties between separated parties, and to beneficiaries under Wills

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Wills & Probate

Wills, Appointments of Attorneys and Guardians, Probate and Deceased Estate matters including family provision action claims

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