I’m thinking of separating, what should I do?

The prospect of another year in an unhappy or difficult relationship can be very unsettling.

We know you’d prefer not to be dealing with lawyers, but 1 hour’s professional advice is money well spent. In most cases your questions will be answered in an hour or less. Then you can make informed decisions.

January and February are the months when many people who have not separated, seek legal advice about where they stand if they decide to separate. One of the pleasures of being a Family lawyer is seeing the relief on a client’s face. After years of worrying, many clients are relieved when they get independent advice. Here are a few pointers to get you through the holiday season. This is general information only and should not be treated as legal advice. Every case is different, and you should consult a lawyer before you make any important decisions.

Will I ever see my kids again?

Only very rarely does a parent lose all contact with their children after separation. While you may not see your kids as frequently as you did prior to separation, you will likely reach an agreement that both parties can live with without litigation.

Will I be able to financially support myself?

If there are assets to be divided- regardless of whose name, the assets are in – then you are likely to obtain significant financial support. While this can be a complex area of law, you have many options including:

  • Child support
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Property settlement, either by way of agreement between the parties and approved by the Court, or a Court imposed settlement based on the true financial position of the parties

Do I have to go to Court?

Often, parties are able to negotiate a settlement between themselves and file what are known as consent orders at the Family Court, meaning you never have to see the inside of the courtroom. Legal assistance is recommended- but not essential in drafting orders.

The first port of call should always be mediation- informal or formal. There are many options available to suit your timeline and budget.

Seeing a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re going to Court. In fact, a good lawyer can bridge the lack of trust between you and your former partner, leading to a quicker resolution without litigation.

The process usually looks a little bit like this:

  • basic advice about your legal rights and responsibilities
  • encouraging you and the other party to reach a fair agreement where you or your lawyer drafts and files the necessary paperwork to be filed at the court
  • mediation
  • legal letters to identify issues and make settlement offers
  • negotiation
  • as a last resort, litigation

If you would like some more advice regarding separation and its consequences, please contact Kavanagh Lawyers to arrange an initial appointment on 6557 5888.