Either one of you or both of you have decided to separate.
What do you do next?
Regardless of whether you are married or in a de facto relationship, there are some steps you need to take. There are usually three things to finalise when a relationship ends:
- The formal end of the marriage
- The property settlement
- Parenting arrangements for your children
Even if you and your spouse have decided how you’d like to split assets and your parenting obligations, it is advisable to seek independent legal advice to ensure that:
- Your agreement is just and equitable
- Your agreement is legally binding and enforceable
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What information will your family lawyer need?
Our family lawyers will ask questions about the following:
- the financial circumstances of each of you at the beginning of the relationship
- the length of the relationship
- whether there are any children
- individually and jointly held assets (houses, cars, furniture, cash, investments)
- any liabilities (home loans, car loans, credit cards)
- superannuation entitlements
- your jobs and incomes
- whether there is a business or trust involved
- your bank accounts
Other things it would be useful to tell our family lawyers:
- the date you started living together or got married
- the date you separated
- the dates of birth of your children
You will need to provide documentation of the above to your family lawyer as soon as possible. If you and your spouse disagree on the value of an item, it may need to be independently valued.
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What happens then?
Whether you settle out of court or not, the following process is followed:
- Do you need a property settlement? Sometimes if the marriage has been very short, or you’ve kept your assets separate, a settlement is not necessary.
- Identify and assess the value of assets and liabilities.
- Assess contributions made during the relationship. Contributions can be financial or non-financial.
- Assess future needs. The age and earning potential of each person will be assessed.
The settlement is then decided, either through your solicitor, through mediation or by the Court. We are experienced in handling property settlements for our clients, and focus on mediation and negotiation where possible to get the most cost-effective and satisfactory results.
We offer a free 10-minute phone consultation so if you have any questions, contact us today.