I think my partner and I might separate, what do I do?
If you are thinking of separating, meeting with us before you separate can give you important relevant and practical information. If you do subsequently separate, this information may make the process smoother, assist you in receiving an equitable division of assets and a more positive outcome for all family members.
When can I apply for a divorce?
Divorce is the legal end to a marriage. It is important to remember that “getting a Divorce” is not the same as a “property settlement“. They are two different processes.
The only ground for divorce is “an irretrievable breakdown of marriage” which requires living separately and apart for 12 months. You can only file an application for divorce after the 12-month period has expired. In some situations, the Family Court may grant a Divorce Order despite parties continuing to reside under the one roof, or where the parties have reconciled for a brief period of time during that 12-month period.
It is not necessary to wait to the expiration of the 12-month separation period before discussing financial settlement options and we recommend that you seek advice sooner rather than later to safeguard your financial position.
We can assist you with preparing and filing your Application for Divorce, any supporting documents required to prove ‘separation under one roof’ and appear on your behalf in the Family Court if necessary.
How should I prepare for my first appointment?
In preparation of your first appointment, we suggest you write down a few questions to bring with you so you remember to ask them when we meet.
When meeting to discuss financial matters, you may like to prepare a summary of your assets and liabilities but this is not necessary if you don’t have time, or the information is not available to you.
If you have received a letter or Court documents from your partner or their lawyer, please bring that with you.
My partner and I have separated, what do I do now?
If you have separated, it is imperative to understand how family law works, what it means for you and your children and how to work towards the best solution. It is important that you see us as soon as possible so we can help you deal with the impact on your finances, children and lifestyle. Just because you obtain legal advice, doesn’t mean that your situation is complex or hostile nor that your matter will end up in court.
Seeking advice in changing times is ALWAYS a good thing. We are committed to empowering you with the knowledge you need to make the right decisions for your family and your future.
My partner and I have reached agreement – what happens next?
Perhaps you and your partner have reached an agreement about important issues such as arrangements for your children or short and long term financial matters.
If you have reached an agreement about property and finances, a family lawyer can confirm that your agreement is equitable and reflects each partners entitlements under the Family Law Act – regardless of whether you are in a married, de facto or same sex relationship.
It is important to formalise your agreement otherwise it is not legally binding and either person can renege on the agreement at any stage. It may also leave either partner exposed to further debt incurred by the other partner post separation.
If you have reached an agreement about parenting and children’s arrangements, it is useful to talk to us about your options to formalise that agreement.
Both financial and parenting arrangements can be formalised without the need to attend Court. We can talk to you about the best option for you in your initial consultation.
My partner and I can’t reach agreement – what are my options?
It is often difficult to negotiate and reach agreement with your partner. If you are in this situation you do have options. Sometimes a better understanding of each partner’s rights and obligations will assist both of you in reaching an agreement.
At Franklin Family Law we can assist you in your negotiations with your partner. Perhaps mediation may assist, with or without one of our team being present with you during that mediation. We work tirelessly to assist you to reach an agreement without the intervention of the Family Court.
What happens with the children?
Safety and children’s issues are the most important concerns in the process of separation. If you are worried about your children and what this process means for them, we can help you explore options for parenting arrangements, explain the law to you, and point you in the right direction.
We can assist you with mediation and put you in touch with local counsellors and mediators who may be able to assist.
The optimal outcome for your children will depend on lots of things, including their ages, health and education requirements, extra-curricular activities and where each parent will live after separation.
It is also necessary to consider what the care arrangements for the children were prior to separation and any issues of drug/alcohol use or mental health issues which might reduce a parent’s capacity to adequately care for the children.
We strongly urge you NOT to agree to an “equal time” arrangement for your children until you have obtained independent legal advice which takes into consideration the needs of YOUR children.
Do I have to go to court?
Going to court can be time consuming, stressful and expensive. The good news is that you do not have to go to court to resolve a family law dispute. We recommend that parties go to court as a last resort only. There are a range of alternative services available to parties such as family dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration.
Sometimes Court is necessary despite a partners’ reluctance to involve the Family Court. This may be where there is an urgent need to protect children or property
My partner is abusive – what can I do?
Family violence includes not only physical abuse but also verbal abuse and threats, sexual assault, stalking, emotional and psychological taunts, financial control, damage to property, isolation from family and friends and other behaviour which is controlling or causes a person to live in fear.
At Franklin Family Law we understand the insidious nature of abusive relationships and can help you formulate a plan to separate from an abusive partner.
If you need urgent assistance,
please call 000.
For further information about domestic violence please following these links:
Planning for your safety https://www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/planning-safety/index.html
Counselling, support and advice https://www.qld.gov.au/community/getting-support-health-social-issue/counselling-support-advice/index.html
How do I know what I am entitled to financially?
Unfortunately, family law solicitors often see new clients who have agreed to a financial settlement with their partner which does not reflect a reasonable or equitable division of the family’s assets.
Sometimes parties are coerced into agreement because they believe ‘50/50 is fair’ or because one party was the ‘bread winner’ and one the ‘home maker’ and divide things accordingly. This is not how family law solicitors or the Family Court would view family assets.
There is no exact formula used when dividing property as each case is unique. An automatic 50/50 split should not be assumed.
We understand that dealing with financial matters during such an emotional time can be difficult and confusing. Whilst it may seem easier to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, you should also be aware that most property settlements are final. Prior to making any decisions, we suggest talking to one of our team of family law specialists who will answer any questions you may have and advise you of the best options available