Getting a divorce is always a stressful experience. Seeking family law advice from a lawyer at Sydney’s Longton Legal can help ease your stress when your marriage breaks down. If you think the time is coming for a divorce or separation, here are four things you should think about.
1. What will be best for the kids?
A Family Law Court must always be guided by the best interests of the children when it makes decisions about the time they will spend with each parent. The Australian legal system expects divorcing parents to follow that same standard.
Sometimes it is difficult for parents to distinguish between what is best for them and what is best for their children. Parents want to spend as much time with their children after a divorce as they did before the divorce, but in most cases, that just isn’t possible. Children need to be given an opportunity to spend enough time with each parent, so as to allow them to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with each.
Where there is no risk of harm, it is usually best for the children to spend as much time as they can with both parents. This means that both parents will need to make sacrifices.
When a court decides where a child will live and how much time the child will spend with each parent, the Family Law Act 1975 requires the court to consider :
- whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents would be in the best interests of the child, and
- whether the child spending equal time with each of the parents is reasonably practicable.
The court is not required to award equal time to each parent, and in many cases the distance between the parents’ homes, the location of the child’s school, and the parents’ employment responsibilities make it impracticable to do so. Concerns about abuse will also affect a court’s order.
Before beginning the divorce process, a parent should give serious thought to the parenting arrangement that will be in the best interests of the children. Fortunately, lawyers can help parents understand their options and mediators can help them arrive at a mutually beneficial agreement.
2. Where will I live?
It is a requirement that you have separated from your partner for at least 12 months before either of you applies for a divorce. It is possible to live in the same home and still be separated, but in most cases, one of the spouses will move to a different residence.
Decisions need to be made before that separation occurs. Ideally, spouses will discuss their situation and make rational decisions about:
- Which spouse will stay in the family home
- How payments on the home will be made during separation
- Where the other spouse will live and how rent will be paid
- How the spouses will communicate during their separation
Sometimes circumstances, particularly violence or abuse, force one spouse to leave the home quickly. When advance planning is possible, however, making decisions in advance allows for a smoother transition during a difficult time.
3. What property will I keep?
The court can make a property order that divides property owned by divorcing spouses, but the court prefers spouses to work out their own division of property. Spouses are usually happier maintaining control of the outcome than surrendering control to a judge who does not know them. A property settlement can be applied for at any time, and a 12 month period of separation does not need to be proven.
Before divorcing, spouses should think about the property they want to keep. How should furniture and cars be divided? What about money in bank accounts?
A family law lawyer at Longton Legal can help spouses understand how a court would probably divide property after a divorce. With that information in mind, spouses are often able to work out a temporary agreement concerning the use and control of property before the divorce is filed to assure that the needs of both individuals are met.
4. How will the financial needs of both spouses be met?
Spouses have a legal duty to support each other. In Australia, divorce does not necessarily end that duty.If you are dependent on your spouse’s income to meet your daily needs, you will need to think about whether you can take steps to become independent. Those steps might include job training or completing an education. You might need short-term or long-term financial assistance from your spouse while you work toward financial independence.
If you have supported your spouse in a long-term marriage, you may need to continue providing some level of financial support after you divorce. That’s a consideration you should keep in mind when you decide whether divorce is right for you.
Obtaining legal advice before deciding to divorce is essential if you want to plan for your future. The Sydney divorce lawyers at Longton Legal help spouses review their financial and parenting options so that they can make fully informed decisions about pursuing a divorce.
If you have any questions or would like to come in to discuss your family situation, don’t hesitate to call us at Longton Legal anytime on 1800 959 999