- Hiring a good divorce lawyer is important.
- Australian law says you must be separated from your partner for 12 months before you can apply for a divorce.
- Emotions run high and the complication of kids, pets and finances makes it much more stressful.
Nobody gets married with the intention of filing for divorce but let’s face it, it happens. According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics, it happened 46,604 times in 2016, a figure that fluctuates up and down but not by much. Getting a divorce is regarded one of life’s most stressful events. Arming yourself with knowledge before filing could help you alleviate some of that stress. To start, here are some common mistakes you’ll do well to avoid when getting a divorce.
Filing for divorce without a lawyer
In order to get a divorce, you must submit a written application and pay a fee to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. This written statement is known as an affidavit and although it is possible to write it yourself, it’s not a straight-forward or easy task for many. There are specific procedures to follow when writing an affidavit and unless you have a background and education in law, doing so may add unnecessary strain to an already stressful situation. Seeking legal advice from a divorce lawyer will assure your divorce application is completed and filed correctly.
Not knowing when divorce will be finalised
Australian law says you must be separated from your partner for 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. As there is a no-fault divorce system in Australia, you only have to prove the separation and that there is no chance that the marriage will be repaired. The dissolution of marriage is complete one month and one day after the divorce has been granted. If you’ve been married for less than two years, you must also submit proof of counselling before the courts will process your divorce.
Ignoring the emotional impact of divorce, especially on children
A marriage breakdown is a highly emotional time for both partners. Add children and pets into the mix and emotions can run ragged, which can cause partners to be hurtful and petty. Acknowledging that separation is hard and seeking help in the way of counselling and legal advice can reduce the stress on the whole family. When there are children under the age of 18 involved in the separation, arrangements for their care must be in place when filing for divorce. A court will not approve a divorce without secure child care arrangements. Divorce lawyers can help with custody agreements to go with your divorce application.
Not knowing the financial implications of divorce
Getting a divorce can be a financial strain, especially if the couple shared an income. In these cases, it’s often not possible to physically separate from your partner until you both have your own incomes. You may remain living together while separated but you will need to provide a witness to the marriage split; someone who can confirm that you’ve been separated for 12 months. Divorce court does not divide your assets and money automatically. If you cannot come to an amicable agreement, you must use a dispute resolution service before applying to the courts. Legal advice from a divorce lawyer is highly recommended.
Not understanding your rights and responsibilities
Before getting a divorce, research your rights or talk to an attorney. Here are a couple good points to know:
- If both parties agree to the divorce, they can file a joint application. But either party can file as the sole applicant and serve the ex with divorce papers.
- Dividing finances and property is unique to each couple. It’s not an automatic 50/50.
- You are expected to come to your own agreements about dividing assets, finances and child custody.
- If you cannot agree, your assets, debts, incomes and other financial and non-financial contributions of both parties will be scrutinised by a judicial officer before a decision is made on who gets what.
- The Family Relationship Advice Line is a government-run service available for support and referrals.
Divorce is no fun. Taylor & Scott Lawyers are expert separation and divorce attorneys who care about making your divorce easier by taking care of the legal stuff, so you can emotionally recover from this stressful life event.
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