Thinking about getting a Divorce -
What you need to know

By Lisa Wagner & Catherine Piotrowski

Separating with your significant other is a nerve-wracking time. Perhaps you have been thinking about this for a while or perhaps your partner has asked for a divorce out of the blue. How will you divide your assets? What if there are children involved? How will the children cope with the new arrangements? There are so many different aspects arising from a separation or divorce – things like property settlement, parenting arrangements, spousal maintenance and so on. Here is a handy list of things to keep in mind when you find yourself in a situation like this.

  1. It is not the end of the world

Life will still continue – you will just need to adjust to a new normal. There are many people who find themselves in this situation and you are not alone. Make sure that you have a good support network around you to help you through this difficult time.

  1. Get your documents sorted

In family law matters, there is a requirement for full and frank financial disclosure. If you still have an amicable relationship with the other party, sit down together, grab a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and start going through your finances together. It will save you both time and money if you are able to the legwork yourselves. However, if you have a strained relationship with the other party and are in the dark about what property the other has, and if you are still living in the family home, use that opportunity to gather whatever documentation you can in relation to your financial affairs.

If you can’t obtain any further information from the other party about your finances, consider engaging a lawyer to help assist with this part of the process.

  1. Time limitations if you get a Divorce Order before settling your property

Many people are unaware that a Divorce Order triggers a 12-month time limit for the parties to settle their property matters. Generally, the decision is made to deal with the property matter first, and then apply for a Divorce after finalising the property matter, so that no one is under the pressure of time constraints. If you are divorced, and are yet to finalise your property, it is not the be all and end all – you may have to file an Application out of time and you will still have your entitlement to a just and equitable property settlement but it is just an extra hoop to jump through so avoid it if you can.

  1. Always act in the best interests of your child or children

When there are children involved, remember that they will also need time to adjust to the new arrangements. Time and time again, we see people involving children in conflict between adults. We can assure you that this is not looked upon favorably by the Court. Make sure that you keep the best interests of your child or children at the forefront of your mind and check in with them regularly to see if they need any further help.

  1. Speak to a family lawyer – even if you only want an initial consultation

This point is so important even if you and the other party have agreed how to move forward following your separation. Every situation is different and unique and a lawyer will help provide you with clarity and guidance as to how to formalise your agreement. Knowledge and a more detailed understanding of the process will empower you to make the best decision for you and your family.

  1. Court as a last resort

There may be some cases where Court is unavoidable. Thankfully, it is only a small number of people that find themselves in this situation. Arm yourself with legal advice from a reputable specialist family law firm.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers offer specialist family law advice in St Leonards on Sydney’s North Shore. If you have recently separated or have a Family Law enquiry, please contact us on (02) 9437 0010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au to discuss your matter in complete confidence. We have a team of experienced and caring professional family lawyers available to help you in this difficult time.

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

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I’m Lisa from Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers.

If you're going through a divorce or need any family law advice, I am here to help!

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