Prepare for Divorce – 5 Matters to Consider
Divorce is essentially the legal dissolution or termination of a marriage and all Australian states and territories have the same process. The competent court for filing divorces is the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCA), which handles all divorces in Australia under Part VI of the Family Act 1975.
Why Prepare for Separation?
Failure to prepare for separation and divorce – the dissolution of a relationship – often significantly increases costs for both parties, increases levels of psychological stress and anxiety, creates inconvenience in terms of timing and personal Conflict and emotional distress can increase significantly. Many couples who enjoy long-term relationships are often surprised at how intertwined their lives are. Especially if the relationship has produced children and/or if the marriage has accumulated valuable assets, it can be very shocking how difficult it is to leave each other’s lives.
If one or both parties decide to end the marriage and file for divorce decree, careful preparation can reduce the overall discomfort and upset for all parties. In such situations, the parties rarely communicate effectively with each other. So, hire an attorney early on to represent you and help you through the transition. Dot Legal Lawyers are qualified and experienced in the field of family law and can help people seeking divorce make the best decisions for their individual futures.
Divorce is dealt with under the Family Act (Cth), 1975 (the Act), which is supported by a number of case law that define many of the issues to be addressed by a person seeking divorce. However, many issues need to be considered and addressed before a couple files for divorce. Every couple’s situation is different, but there are some common issues that all couples can deal with in preparation for the separation and eventual dissolution of their marriage. Many of these issues must be dealt with even in de facto couples, but the existence of a formal marriage contract adds an important legal aspect to the separation process. You must comply with your legal obligations and agree to a number of things to ensure that your divorce decree is issued without significant delay.
In a nutshell, the tasks involved in preparing for separation and divorce can be summarized as follows:
- Spend time preparing and understanding – how well this is done can seriously affect the outcome.
- Find out everything you need to know – Knowledge is a powerful tool.
- Understand the legal process as best you can – This will save you money, time and a lot of hassle later on. Please review your attorney’s legal advice carefully and disregard the advice of your friends and family’s Bush attorneys.
Five Practical Matters to Consider
1. Separation and Living Arrangements
All parties, the separated couple and children or other dependents, must prepare for separation considering who will live where and with whom. The number of variations is almost limitless, from families where the parents live together even if they are not married, to complete dissolution of the family unit based on written agreements in which living and visiting arrangements for everyone are predetermined.
Here are some things to consider:
- Before a divorce decree is issued, a couple wishing to divorce must have been separated, i.e. not living as husband and wife, for at least 12 months. However, you do not have to live at another address to declare that you are legally separated.
- When it comes to children and pets, we will establish minimum accommodation standards necessary to provide a stable and healthy environment for all and work towards that goal.
- If one of you moves out soon, try to decide if it’s best to move now or if your family will be better off if you continue to live together. This depends on the level of resentment or discord within the household, and whether the parties’ economic circumstances permit two homes.
When preparing for separation or divorce, addressing the needs of all dependent children in the relationship is perhaps the most important of all considerations. It could be a child from a previous relationship.
The precautions for children are as follows:
- It is absolutely necessary to protect children as much as possible from the negative emotions caused by parting. Children are physically and mentally dependent on both parents. Courts tend to be tough on people who put their own interests above those of their children.
- Children have the right to access loved ones. This also applies to grandparents and other family members. If the couple is physically separated, they should try to reach a stable agreement for each partner as soon as possible so that each partner has regular access to the child. This consent does not have to be formal in the first place, but it serves the child’s best interests. Parents who refuse contact with their ex-spouses usually find the divorce process more difficult and costly. If the child is not at risk of domestic violence, courts will not allow a parent to deny contact with another parent.
Much of life depends on the availability and accuracy of documentation. In preparation for separation and divorce, it is imperative that at least one party has a complete portfolio of all relevant documents.
- Family records should be collected and kept together as soon as possible after the separation decision is made. This may (among other things) include your passport, marriage certificate; will or other posthumous instructions; Naturalization and/or name change documents; driver’s licenses, Medicare cards, and other identification documents; passbooks and account statements; rental documents for the main residence; Mortgage documents or deeds of principal residence or other property. Lease records for investment properties with tenants and a copy of the marriage contract.
- Collecting documentation early on is especially important if your spouse is exercising control over the family and may try to derail the divorce process by refusing to cooperate or provide information.
- If the original is not available, copies should be made whenever possible.
When couples begin preparing for a breakup, financial considerations typically become one of the most contentious issues to consider. Both parties find that sex has taken a heavy toll on their joint and separate finances, and neither party is willing to accept it.
Separated couples need to resolve the following financial issues:
- Comprehensively review and record details of the family’s joint and individual financial situation. This information will be used by the court to assist in the settlement process.
- Include a comprehensive list of all major assets with estimated or actual valuations. Include cash income from investment properties, stocks, or other assets, including interest on your parents’ pensions.
- Decide whether it is appropriate to close joint accounts or restrict access to your spouse’s cash reserves. Get financial advice right away when your finances are tight.
- Create a budget to determine if both partners can afford to live apart, take care of the kids, and pay the bills.
- Consider the best approach for co-owned credit cards or other debt products. Closing the joint account is often the best option. This helps prevent future disputes about who spent what.
- Separated couples should keep their communication open as much as possible.
- Control your information — Stay off social media and don’t discuss the details of your breakup publicly. Social media posts may be subject to court scrutiny and may adversely affect divorce resolution. In particular, separated couples should refrain from posting content of a sexual or financial nature on social media and should not make disparaging or disparaging remarks about their ex-spouses.
- Spouses should avoid bad-mouthing other spouses toward their children, even if they have been abused or criticized.
The separation and divorce process can be difficult, stressful, and financially devastating for families. Addressing the above can alleviate many of the issues and reduce both the costs and damages associated with the process of obtaining consent resolution and ownership resolution. If you need advice on the separation and divorce process, contact Dot Legal Lawyers immediately to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation. The sooner you understand the legal position, the less problems you will encounter later in the process.
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