When your world has come tumbling down around you, and your marriage is in tatters, our family lawyers in Townsville are here to offer advice and provide the support you need at this emotional time.
Most couples enter a relationship or marriage for the best intentions but unfortunately for many things change.
Relationships are complicated
Most people would agree that relationships can be complicated.
But guess what …….
When a relationship ends, things can become even more complex.
Sometimes you may need a family lawyer to help untangle your lives. Most people are surprised by how intertwined their lives have become and many are shocked at how difficult it is to extricate themselves from one another’s lives, especially when there are children and valuable assets involved. You may need to go through the equivalent of a divorce, even if you aren’t married!
To make sense of what we mean by this, we’re going to discuss 4 practical matters that you need to consider and address after you split. But first of all, let’s take a closer look at divorce.
What exactly is divorce?
Quite simply, a divorce in Australia is the legal termination of a marriage.
Some people choose to separate and not bother divorcing. Provided you don’t want to get remarried, legally that’s not a problem.
However, if you put off divorcing, enter a serious relationship, and then unfortunately pass away, all manner of complications can unfold. This is because there are two different parties as partners who may have contributed to your property and assets.
Regardless of the legalities, many people choose to close this chapter of their life by divorcing. In 2018, for example, there were 49,404 divorces granted in Australia with the average duration of a marriage being 12.5 years.
Thanks to the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975 which allowed ‘no-fault divorce’ there’s no longer a need to prove who caused the relationship to end. You just need to show that the marriage isn’t working any longer and that you have been separated for 12 months or longer.
Work on agreements with or without a divorce
The secret of avoiding a whole slew of complications is to get your finances, property, and parenting agreed once you’ve decided to split from each other.
This is the sort of messy stuff you associate with a divorce and is something that even long-term couples who aren’t necessarily married should sort out.
It’s important to reach agreements on property and parenting before applying for a divorce order and even then, it’s advisable not to be too hasty. Why?
Because once your divorce becomes absolute, you only have 12 months from that date to ask the courts to deal with property matters. There are no rules that stipulate who gets what. Instead, each case is looked at on its own merits.
Even if you and your partner are in agreement on all matters, it’s still a good idea to get a family lawyer involved to ensure that everything is done properly and worded correctly and to show that agreements are ‘just and equitable’.
Separation and divorce can take a toll on everyone concerned but considering the following 4 matters can save you money, time, and anxiety later.
Four Matters to consider
- Separation and living arrangements
To prepare for separation, both parties, children and other dependents need to consider who is going to live with whom and where. There are countless possibilities from continuing to live together at the same address (but not as a couple) to totally restructuring the entire family unit, supported by a written agreement establishing living and visiting arrangements in advance.
Try and decide whether one of you should relocate right away or whether it’s in everyone’s best interests for you all to remain living together. This is likely to depend on whether the split is amicable and whether your financial situation allows for two residences.
- The kids
Separation and divorce can be particularly confusing, stressful and sad for children so it’s essential to put aside any personal differences and make their well-being your top priority.
If you have physically separated from each other, then try and agree as soon as possible a regular routine whereby each parent has access to their children. This also applies to grandparents and other family members who care about your children.
While this agreement doesn’t have to be formalised at this stage, it should have their best interests at heart. Any parent resisting access is likely to find that their divorce will become more complicated and more costly.
You’ll need to provide your family lawyer with documentation to help them understand and assess your situation. The more organised you are, the less time will be wasted. This may include such things as passports, your marriage certificate, driving licences, Wills, mortgage papers, Medicare cards and bank statements.
Put together a list of any significant dates and any agreements you have already made with your ex and consider your future. What would you like the outcome to be?
- Avoid going to Court
Working with a mediator and family lawyer to reach an outcome that is mutually beneficial is far better than placing one of your most important and biggest life decisions in the hands of a judge.
By taking control of the situation and shaping your future away from the courts, you’ll feel more empowered. In most divorce cases, dividing your assets and working out custody arrangements for the kids, has already been taken care of well before any final papers are signed. Ultimately, signing divorce papers simply gives both of you the go-ahead to legally remarry at a future date. If you need help or advice about separation and divorce then call Strategic Lawyers today on 07 4795 1114 to make an appointment. Our compassionate and experienced Family Lawyer in Townsville is here to secure your best outcome and wherever possible avoid the need for you to go to court, particularly when emotions are already running high.