Shelley O'Connell Senior Associate
BA (English), LLB (Hons), GDLP

Upon admission to legal practice at the beginning of 2005, Shelley commenced working in a country law firm, where she practised primarily in family law but gained experience in areas as diverse as criminal law, intellectual property, licensing, civil litigation, and wills and estates. She joined Clelands Lawyers in 2013 after several years at a specialist family law firm.

Since 2009 Shelley has practised almost exclusively in family law and provides advice and representation in all areas and especially:

  • Children’s issues including acting on behalf of grandparents or other family members

  • De facto property matters

  • Complex property settlements including those with international features

  • Rural property settlements

  • Superannuation splitting

  • Child support

  • Paternity disputes

  • Pre-nuptial agreements

  • Mediated outcomes and Consent Orders

  • Matters involving same sex relationships

  • Matters involving transgender persons

  • Divorce Applications

Shelley understands that clients going through a family breakdown are often experiencing the most difficult time in their lives. She endeavours to strike a balance between being a fierce advocate for her client’s rights, and assisting them to resolve a dispute as peacefully as possible.

Shelley is a Past President of the Women Lawyers’ Association (SA) and sat on that organisation's managing committee from 2006 to 2018.

Shelley was a Member of the Council of the Law Society of South Australia (2008 to 2015) and was also elected to its Executive from 2011 to 2012. She served for several years on other Law Society Committees including the Country Practitioners Committee, and the Family Law Committee and the Women Lawyers Committee (of which she was Chair for many years).

Shelley has also mentored law students in the UniSA Business Career Mentor Program.

Outside of the legal profession, Shelley has sat on the Management Committee of the Halifax Street Children’s Centre & Pre-School and on the Board and Public Fund Committee of the Adelaide University Theatre Guild.

Shelley is also currently studying Mandarin.

Bachelor of Arts (English), University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Laws (Honours), University of Adelaide
Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Law Society of South Australia
Admitted to practise in the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of South Australia

Professional Affiliations:
Family Law Section, Law Council of Australia
Law Society of South Australia
Women Lawyers' Association of South Australia


Areas of Practice

Family Law



No presumption of equal time

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Can statements made in negotiations ever be admissible?

Tax Debts in Family Law

What can happen when a parent dies after separation

Why you need to formalise your property settlement

Risks of failing to comply with financial orders in Family Law

Good News for Transgender Youth

Extreme outcomes in parenting matters

Inheritances after separation

When can you re-open a parenting matter where Final Orders have been made previously?

Registered Relationships in South Australia

Binding Child Support Agreements

Spousal Maintenance in Australia

When can children decide where they live?

Is it a de facto relationship or not?

Parenting Plans

I married money, I'm divorcing a Trust

To record or not record...?

Changes to Pre-nuptial Agreements