Information and FAQs for Clients
FAQs for Clients
Q: When should I see a solicitor?
A: You should speak to a Family Law Solicitor as early as possible.
It is a good idea to speak to a lawyer if you are thinking about separating from your partner, and certainly if you have. ‘Legal’ advice from well-meaning friends or family is not always helpful. Everyone’s situation is unique, and an experienced family lawyer should be the only person you take legal advice from.
If you see a solicitor early, you can plan ahead and make excellent decisions. If you leave it too late, you could affect your legal outcomes, miss important dates or incur unnecessary expenses.
Q: When can I apply for a Divorce?
A: You need to be separated for 12 months and one day before you can apply to the Court for a divorce.
Q: What are the grounds for a Divorce?
A: There has to be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This is evidenced by separation of 12 months. This is the only reason for divorce in Australia. ‘Fault’ is irrelevant.
Q: Can I have a property settlement before my divorce is finalised?
A: Yes. You can begin negotiating as soon as you separate. If you have reached an agreement, you can also apply to the Court for Consent orders to formalise your agreement before you have been divorced. You can also apply to the court for property orders before you are divorced.
Q: Can I apply for a Parenting Order before my divorce is finalised?
A: Yes. You can apply to the Court for both Interim and Final Parenting Orders following separation. If you have reached an agreement about arrangements for the children, you can apply to the Court for Consent Orders to formalise your agreement.
Q: We were in a Defacto Relationship. What happens with the children?
A: All children are treated the same way by the Family Law Act. It does not matter whether their parents were married or not.
Q: I have reached an Agreement with my partner. Do I still need to see a Solicitor?
A: Yes. If you have already negotiated and reached an Agreement with your partner, you will save legal costs as you don’t need to pay a lawyer to do the negotiating for you. However, you still need to document the Agreement you have reached so that it is binding and enforceable. You should also check with a lawyer to make sure that what you are agreeing to is fair and reasonable and that you are not settling for less than what you are entitled to.
Q: What range of property settlement am I entitled to?
A: Every case is different. The Court will determine the property division based on financial and non-financial contributions made during the marriage. The Family Law Act takes into account initial contributions as well as contributions made throughout the marriage.
Q: Will I have to go to Court?
A: No. There are many dispute resolution processes available including negotiation, mediation, conferences and counselling.
Q: What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A: Couples who are about to marry and who wish to detail and regulate their financial relationship during the marriage and in the event of death, separation or divorce, can enter a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a type of Financial Agreement and provided the agreement is completed correctly, it is enforceable in Court.