I’ve decided to separate. What should I expect?
I have just separated. What happens next?
Whilst separation is an emotional time, important decisions need to be made immediately after separation. Some of the decisions we can assist you with are:
- where your children live and who will take care of them;
- how you and your former partner will support yourselves and your children;
- what, how and when you will tell the children, other family members and friends;
- who will pay outstanding bills or debts;
- who will stay in the house;
- how will the rent or mortgage be paid;
- what will happen to any joint bank accounts;
- what will happen to the house, car, furniture and other property; and
- how do you protect yourself financially.
Do I need a lawyer?
There are many good reasons to consult an experienced family lawyer. We can demystify the process for you, and help you understand what your rights and entitlements may be, by:
- explaining how the law applies to your circumstances;
- advising you about the range of likely outcomes for your matter;
- advising you about what information you are entitled to receive from, and provide to, your former partner;
- providing you with information about alternate dispute resolution services available to you;
- advocating or negotiating on your behalf with your former partner;
- discussing strategies and tactics to resolve your matter;
- assessing risks to your position and how to protect yourself, including pre-nuptial (financial) agreements which protect your assets in the event of separation; and
- formalising any agreement reached between you and your former partner so that they are final and enforceable.
What are the requirements for getting a divorce?
You can apply for a divorce:
- you and/or your partner are a Australian citizens by birth, decent or grant of citizenship;
- your marriage has broken down and there is no likelihood that you will get back together; and
- you have been separated for at least 12 months.
If you have been married for less than two years, you will need to attend counselling with a family counsellor to discuss the possibility of reconciliation. If you cannot attend counselling, you may seek permission from the Court to apply for a divorce if special circumstances exist.
Are we separated if we still live in the same house?
What should I do if I am feeling unsafe after separation?
If you, or children in your care, are threatened or require immediate emergency assistance, you should contact the Police on 000. You can also get in touch with community services which provide counselling or emergency accommodation.
If you think your children are at risk of physical or mental harm when they spend time with your former partner, you should contact us to discuss your options.
Do I need an Intervention Order?
Family violence occurs in many families. Family violence is not always physical. It might include economic and financial abuse, sexual abuse, psychological threats, damage to your property (including pets) and other coercive or threatening behaviours.
It is important that you put the safety of yourself, and your children, first. We can assist you with making an application for a Family Violence Intervention Order. This Order can stop your former partner from making threats, or from coming near where you live and work. It can also protect children.
Our team of lawyers is experienced in family violence matters and can provide you with sensitive and proactive advice that keeps you and your children as safe as possible.
I have been served with an Intervention Order. What should I do?
If you are served with an Intervention Order (IVO), it will contain a detailed description of what family violence the applicant alleges you have committed against them, or against your children. When you are served, you are also provided with a Summons, which will have a date and time you are required to appear in Court on it. Even if you do not agree with the basis for the IVO, you must ensure you comply with its terms and conditions until this date. It is a criminal offence to breach an IVO, even if the protected person invites you to do so. It is important that you discuss your options with one of our expert lawyers.
What time limits apply in Family Law matters?
What is a De Facto relationship?
A de facto relationship is defined by the Family Law Act as a relationship between two people who are not married, but who live together on a genuine domestic basis. It also applies to same sex couples. Various factors are considered when determining whether two people are in a de facto relationship, including:
- the duration of the relationship;
- whether a sexual relationship existed;
- whether there are any children of the relationship;
- the extent and nature of shared residence;
- the parties’ degree of financial dependence on one another;
- the parties’ mutual commitment to a shared life;
- the public aspects and reputation of the relationship; and
- ownership, acquisition and use of shared property.
Do all Family Law matters have to go to Court?
What is an Independent Children’s Lawyer?
An Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) represents your child’s best interests in Court proceedings and ensures those interests are the focus of any decisions made about parenting arrangements. An ICL can be appointed by the Court or upon application by a party. They can be appointed in circumstances where there are allegations of abuse or neglect, where the children hold views about their living arrangements, where one party has mental health issues or where there are other complex or difficult issues. Although an ICL considers the views of a child, where age appropriate, they will ultimately provide their own view about what arrangements are in the children’s best interests.
Who gets to keep the family pet?
Whilst most people regard their pets as a member of the family, the court does not have jurisdiction to make orders for care arrangements of pets.
The court will treat pets as an “asset” and will consider factors such as who the registered owner is, who has possession of the family pet and who can continue to maintain and care for the family pet.
Do I have to pay child support?
What is the difference between child support and spousal maintenance?
What is a financial agreement?
What is the benefit of engaging a lawyer to assist with reaching a financial settlement?
Trying to reach a financial settlement after separation can be highly stressful and complex. A lawyer will provide you with comprehensive advice about your entitlements, advantages and disadvantages of entering into an agreement, and whether the agreement reached is “just and equitable”.
If you would like advice regarding your financial matters, contact our office to make an appointment with one of our expert family lawyers.
I am newly divorced. Do I need to update my will?
Getting a divorce will invalidate your will to the extent that it refers to your ex-spouse, which may create considerable issues in reading and interpreting your will. However, the separation period prior to divorce has no effect on your will.
If you would like to update your will, please contact our office to arrange an appointment with one of our lawyers.
What are my costs likely to be?
Do you take on legal aid work?
What is a power of attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a written document where a person appoints another person to act on their behalf for particular matters.
The most common type of Power of Attorney is an Enduring Power of Attorney, where a person appoints another person(s) to make decisions about financial matters, personal matters or both.
A person can appoint a person to make medical treatment decisions, however, this is no longer done via a Power of Attorney.