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Will I have to go to court?
In matters involving children, prior to going to court for orders in relation to the children, in most cases a certificate is required to be issued pursuant to section 60 I Family Law Act from an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
In matters involving property, we work with our clients to try and encourage a settlement being reached without the need of going to Court.

In some cases, the dispute is intractable and approaching the Family Court for its assistance is required to protect a client’s rights and to bring matters to a head. But we note that the Family Court has several court events along the way to a contested final hearing at which they encourage the parties to reach their own agreement.

Whether you are reaching a negotiated settlement or if you do have to go to court, it is critical for you to have lawyer who is intent on resolving the matter expeditiously and at minimal cost.

What do we do if we reached our own agreement?
We act for clients who have come to their own agreement with their ex and just need our assistance to ensure that it is documented in a legally enforceable manner, and this can be done by either:

  • A Binding Financial Agreement; or
  • An Application for Consent Orders filed at the Family Court.

A Binding Financial Agreement can be entered into at any time before, during or after a relationship.

An Application for Consent Orders will set out the financial position of the parties and describes in detail the agreement they have reached. It is then filed at the court and sealed, and legally enforceable court orders ensue.

Do we need to prove that we’re separated if we’re still living under the same roof during our separation?
Separation can occur while you’re living in the same location. It is when you do not associate with one another or sleep together. You may need an affidavit to provide an explanation of any changes within the marriage, such as differences in sleeping arrangements, division of assets, social activities or family outings, and sharing chores between each other.

An affidavit is a written declaration that is organised by a witness who can prove the separation, such as a friend, family member, or neighbour. Your affidavit should also include your reasonings behind why you are still living under the same roof during separation, the living arrangements of your children, and if you’ve gotten in touch with a government department.

How long does the entire divorce process take?
You are required to wait 12 months before lodging a divorce application. Once it’s been lodged, the court will organise a hearing date which typically occurs within 2-3 months after sending the application. Depending on the matter, the hearing process is swift, and you may not even have to attend in certain cases. After the hearing, it takes about a month and a day to finalise the divorce order, granted that the divorce order has been set in motion.
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How does the Court decide to divide marital assets?
The court follows the so called “four-step process”:

Step 1. It works out the net value of property owned by the parties as at the date of the final hearing.

Step 2. It considers how the parties have contributed to such property, including an assessment of:

– The financial and non-financial contributions made by the parties to any relevant property, including purchase, maintenance and improvement;

– Any contribution made by a party to the marriage to the welfare of the family and any children of the marriage, in particular in the capacity of homemaker or parent; the effect of any proposed order upon the earning capacity of either party.

Step 3. It considers whether there should be an adjustment in favour of either of the parties to take into account their respective future needs, determined by considering factors such as the parties’ relative: age; health; earning capacity; responsibility to house and care for any child or other party; and the availability of financial resources.

Step 4. It then considers whether the proposed order will be ‘just and equitable’.

What do I do if following the separation if I am unable to financially support myself?
1) Spousal Maintenance

Following a relationship breakdown, in some circumstances, a party can apply to the court for a periodic; lump sum or urgent payment of spousal maintenance.

2) Adult Child Maintenance

Child Support is not payable to children over 18 years old. It is, however, possible in some cases to seek orders for the payment of adult child financial assistance.

What is the procedure to obtain a divorce?
The grounds for a divorce in Australia are established when the marriage has irretrievably broken down and the husband and wife have separated for at least 12 months immediately before the filing of the application for divorce. In Australia we have “no fault divorce”, meaning the court is not interested in reasons as to why the marriage has broken down.

Separation can be established even where the husband and wife have continued to live under the same roof, noting however that in such circumstances independent third-party affidavit evidence could be required verifying these facts.

What should I do if I suspect my partner has hidden or unknown assets?
For some couples, splitting the assets is simple. However, most cases are complicated, especially when it comes to your partner not disclosing all of their assets. If you are suspecting your partner is hiding their assets, it is important to speak to our lawyers to help investigate the matter.
What do we do about the children?
The best interests of the children is the paramount consideration.

In most cases, prior to an application to the Family Court being able to be made in relation to children’s issues, parents will be required to seek the assistance of an accredited Dispute Resolution Practitioner. This is encouraged because it is recognised that more often than not the best interests of a child will be satisfied when the parents are able to reach an agreement in relation to the parenting of their children. It is prudent to have such agreements registered with the Family Court.

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How do I seek child custody and provide child support?
Child custody is about one or both parents’ responsibility to make the decisions on behalf of their child/children. Child support, on the other hand, is the financial support arranged between both parents. Both child custody and child support can be decided between both parents, and if they are not able to reach an agreement, it will be decided through court proceedings and in the case of child support, in most cases, by the Child Support Agency. The court will make its decision based on the best interests of the child.
What do we do about the property? 

There is a possibility that you may be able to find an agreement with your ex-spouse without needing to go through a court proceeding. But, if you are not able to arrange an agreement, you are required to lodge a property order application within 12 months after your divorce is about to finalise.

Our property and finances page can help answer more questions you may have regarding your assets.

What are the costs of legal representation?
We strive to keep our costs to a minimum.

Those parties who are able to maintain their communication in spite of all the torrid emotional turmoil which follows a relationship breakdown will be better off financially and emotionally.

As is the practice in the legal services profession, we usually charge by the hour and we will provide you with an estimate of our legal costs, based on your circumstances. Billing is done monthly to allow you to have greater control of your costs.

How does the separation process work in de-facto relationships?
Determining the existence of a defacto relationship involves an evaluation of the nature of your relationship, and we look to indicia such as: the length of your relationship;  the existence of any joint property and its use;  the presence of a sexual relationship; shared assets and finances;  one party is supporting the other financially; the public reputation of the relationship; and, if the couple themselves   claim the presence of a de facto relationship.

Couples in de-facto relationships who have separated after 1 March 2009 are given the same legal rights as married couples. These obligations include child support, property division, and spousal maintenance.

If you’ve got any other questions, get in touch with our team today to help you with your situation. Our lawyers are more than happy to assist you.

What should I do if I’m a victim of domestic violence?

If you or family member is experiencing domestic violence, it is highly essential to get assistance from a support service or contact our lawyers for advice.

During our consultation, we can refer you to specific support services based on your particular case.

Below, we’ve made of list of contacts to refer to in the case of domestic violence:

  • 1800 RESPECT
    • Advice and counselling
    • Available 24/7
    • 1800 RESPECT/1800 737 732
  • NSW Police
    • For emergencies of domestic and family violence
    • 000 or 112 on mobile
  • Domestic Violence Line, Family and Community Services NSW
    • Immediate accommodation and counselling services
    • 1800 656 463
  • Women’s Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service
    • Advice and providing referrals for children and women undergoing domestic violence.
    • 1800 WDVCAS
    • 1800 938 227
  • Victims Services
    • Offering support for individuals who are victims of crime. You get referred to domestic and family violence reports sent to NSW police.
    • 1800 633 063
    • For indigenous families: 1800 019 123

We make things easy, efficient and worry-free.
Talk to us today.

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