Dealing with Divorce or Separation
Divorce or separation from a long-term partnership is an exceptionally stressful time, particularly when there are children involved.
A lot of couples try to work out separation and divorce arrangements on their own, but this can have the impact of further complicating the issues around the financial settlement and custody of the children without providing any legally binding certainty. At these times, emotions are usually high and emotions can cloud judgement. These are reasons why you should seek legal advice.
A Family Lawyer will help you to understand your entitlements under the law and will help make the process of financial settlement and custody arrangements as smooth as possible.
When there is so much at stake, it is certainly a time when you want to be sure that your wants, needs and preferences are secured as much as possible. It is important to get all of the agreements between both parties right, because the outcome can impact your life moving forward for a long time to come.
Open, honest communication
When you are choosing a Family Lawyer to represent you, make sure you choose someone who is experienced in Family Law and it is equally important to choose someone that you feel comfortable talking to. Separation and divorce is intensely personal, so having a relationship with your lawyer where you can discuss matters openly is very important.
This is critical if there are any dependencies on drugs or alcohol, criminal behaviour, or if the relationship has been abusive. In any of these situations, a Family Lawyer can also help you to access other support services that you might need through the process, such as counselling or rehabilitation.
You will also want to find a Lawyer who will not confuse you with jargon, but who can clearly explain legal procedures, the options you have, and the likely impact of the decisions you will need to make. While a lawyer cannot make these decisions for you, they can provide invaluable guidance and clarity through a process that can be daunting.
Financial and Property Settlements
If the financial and property settlement is by consent and custody arrangements are agreed to in principle by both parties, then often the lawyers representing both parties will negotiate with each other to ensure a legally binding outcome without the need to go through mediation, or commence Court proceedings.
Binding Financial Agreements
A binding financial agreement is an agreement between a de facto, married or soon to be married couple and can be made before, during or after their relationship and sets out how your assets will be treated if your relationship breaks down.
Most property settlements are uncomplicated however if a joint business, inheritance or a fixed or discretionary Trust form part of the matrimonial asset pool, then a property settlement will take more time and consideration.
When there are children involved
Parenting arrangements are the most emotional aspect of the settlement processes. The Family Law Act provides that when a couple separating has dependent children under the age of 18, both parents have the right to a meaningful and significant relationship with the children after the relationship has ended. Your legal representative can guide you through options and scenarios to find the best outcome for the children and the parents.
Court or mediation
Family court processes can be lengthy, disruptive, stressful and expensive. At Shoalhaven Lawyers we aim to keep family law matters out of the court as much as possible, unless there is no alternative…
What is the role of mediation?
Mediation has become an increasingly popular option in family law matters (s.60I of the Family Law Act provides that parties seeking a parenting order must comply with the dispute resolution provision before an application can be made to the Family Court), mostly because the Family Courts have become overwhelmed in recent years and cases can take time to resolve. Mediation can offer a quicker alternative to resolving issues.
Your family lawyer will guide you through the best option for you.
Updating your will
It’s also important to remember post separation or divorce you should update your will to reflect your changed life circumstances. This process can also be completed by your Family Lawyer.
At Shoalhaven Lawyers, we offer a comprehensive family law service. Principal Ted Neaves is an experienced litigation lawyer and should your family law matter end up in court, he has the knowledge of the court system to represent you. We also have transparent fees, which means you will not be hit with any surprise costs.
Please contact us if we can assist you further.