We act for parties in relation to family law matters involving divorce, parenting, property settlements and spousal maintenance. Parties may be married or in a defacto relationship.
To obtain a divorce it is only necessary to establish that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. This is established satisfying the Court that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for a period of not less than 12 months immediately preceding the date of filing an Application for Divorce and there is no reasonable likelihood of reconciliation occurring. Issues of “fault” have no relevance to such an application. It is possible to have lived separately and apart under the one roof.
Once an application for Divorce has been filed it takes approximately 3 to 6 months for the Application to be heard and dealt with. If the Application is successful on the date of the hearing the Application the Court makes a divorce order and after one month the order becomes absolute. You are not legally entitled to remarry until the order becomes absolute.
We recommend you obtain orders from the Court in relation to any property settlement, if you wish to finalise your financial relationship with your spouse or partner. This is a formal property settlement. If you were to simply make an informal agreement without obtaining consent orders then the settlement you reach would not be binding and either party would still be entitled to make an application to the Court for a property settlement.
In the case of a married couple applications for a property settlement may be commenced at any time after separation, but must be commenced within 12 months of a divorce order becoming absolute. For defacto couples the application for a property settlement must be commenced within 2 years of separation. If proceedings for a property settlement have not been commenced within the relevant timeframe they may only be commenced with the leave of the Court, which leave may be very difficult to obtain.
It is also possible to finalise a property settlement before entering into a Binding Financial Agreement. The requirements that must be met for the agreement to be binding are quite stringent and include a requirement that each party must obtain independent legal advice.
We can assist in relation to a parenting dispute including obtaining parenting orders which are legally binding on the parents of a child or parenting plans which are not legally binding.
Each party to a marriage or a defacto relationship has the liability to financially support the other party to that relationship if, they are reasonably able to do so and if the other party is reasonably unable to do so. The court will have regard to “a standard of living that in all the circumstances is reasonable”. The court is reluctant to make long-term final spouse maintenance orders.