When a marriage or a de facto relationship ends, there are a lot of emotions being felt by both parties and those around them. There can be feelings of guilt, relief, anger and despair. These are all a very important part of the grieving and recovery process. As well as dealing with these emotions there are often questions about when issues of care arrangements for children, property settlement or divorce can be dealt with. Some of those answers are as follows:
DIVORCE: You must be separated for 12 months before you can make application for a divorce. It is possible to be separated from your spouse even though you lived some or all of that 12 month period under the same roof. You do not have to have reached final agreement about children or property before you divorce. The Court does, however, need to be satisfied that there are suitable arrangements in place for any children of the marriage prior to granting a divorce order.
CHILDREN: Parents need to try and reach agreement about arrangements for their children. Family dispute mediation services are available through organisations such as Relationships Australia and the Conflict Resolution Service. If you cannot reach agreement you will be issued a certificate that permits you to commence Court proceedings. In urgent circumstances, you may commence proceedings even though you do not have the certificate.
PROPERTY: Arrangements for property may be made immediately after separation. There is no need to wait for divorce. Both parties are required to provide full and frank financial disclosure to each other. If necessary and appropriate, court orders may be obtained for urgent property distributions and/or spousal maintenance.
Other matters that you should consider when you separate from your partner are your estate planning, including whether you have a valid will, the terms of any existing will and the beneficiaries of any insurance policies or superannuation.
At Robinson + McGuinness we are committed to providing information and advice that will assist you to navigate through the process of making decisions for you and your family following a relationship breakdown. We pride ourselves on providing sensible and pragmatic advice and we offer affordable rates including fixed fee options in some cases. To find out more please call us.