(02) 9525 8688

(02) 9525 8688

Understanding the Divorce and Separation process

Understanding the Divorce and Separation process

When a relationship breaks down it can be a difficult time, understanding the separation and divorce process will help you to navigate the various stages.
 
There are three main stages of a separation and divorce. Everyone copes with the various stages in different ways, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are feeling overwhelmed. There are many counsellors and support networks that will be able to make the transition much easier for you.
 
It is important to note that separating de facto couples (including same sex couples) usually have the same legal rights as married couples, in regards to property and financial settlements.
 
SEPARATION
 
The first step in the process is the legal separation. Whilst this may commence from the time that one of you leaves the home, you can still be living under the same roof and be legally separated. You will need to make some decisions at this stage about practical issues concerning your children and your assets.
 
Before separating seek legal advice. A lawyer will ensure you understand your legal rights and responsibilities. They will protect your interests and explain cost effective options to help you reach an agreement with your former partner without Court proceedings. If you are even contemplating a separation then you should talk to a Family Law specialist, and we encourage you to contact our office today.
 
PARENTING ARRANGEMENTS - FINANCIAL/PROPERTY SETTLEMENT
 
The quickest and cheapest way to settle financial and parenting arrangements is without going to Court. That is done through the drafting of binding Consent Orders, which requires both parties to agree on the terms. These agreements are separate to the actual divorce.
 
Parenting Agreements need to be made and where possible, we recommend working with your partner directly to establish:
 
·         When the children will be living with you.
·         When they will be living with your partner.
·         How much time they will spend with grandparents, family members or other interested parties.
·         Any educational issues such as where they will attend primary or high school.
·         Any other aspect of children’s welfare, care and development.
 
A major element of a relationship breakdown is deciding how the finances, property and debts will be divided between parties. This extends to jewellery, superannuation, business interests and all debts. A property settlement can be completed prior to a divorce, but application to the Court must be made within 12 months of a divorce order once it has come into effect.
 
Your property settlement will depend on your individual circumstances and will likely be different from others you may have heard about. There are many options which may involve one party remaining in the family home for the children, selling up assets to obtain money to start over, or accessing a share of your partner’s superannuation to provide for you in retirement.
 
When you are unable to agree on a financial settlement or parenting arrangements the Courts will need to be involved.
 
THE DIVORCE
 
In order to apply for a divorce you and your spouse must have been separated for twelve months and meet one of the following criteria:
 
·         Be an Australian citizen.
·         Have lived in Australia for 12 months before making an application.
·         Be lawfully present in Australia and consider it to be your permanent home.
 
A divorce application can be made by either party individually or by both parties jointly. When the divorce application is being made individually it is vital the documents are served on the other party in accordance with the rules of the Court. 
 
The first step is completing the Application for Divorce. The second step is the Court hearing and the good news is that you may not have to attend Court.
 
If you are considering separation or need help with a Family Law matter, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 9525 8688 or click here to send a message.