Parramatta Family Lawyers
Our family lawyers in Parramatta can help you navigate the many legal issues that you may encounter when separating from your partner or spouse. As compassionate and experienced family and divorce lawyers, we will provide tailored advice so you can make informed decisions that are best for you and your family. Our law firm will ensure your rights are protected while helping you formalise a property settlement and make workable parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of your children.
Our family lawyers can assist with:
- Divorce and separation
- De facto relationships
- Spousal maintenance
- Child support and child custody matters
- Division of property and assets
- Consent orders
Divorce & Separation
An application for divorce can be made if a marriage has irretrievably broken down. It does not require the consent of both partners. The application for divorce is made to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and you must have been separated for 12 months before making the application.
Separation does not necessarily require you to live in separate residences and the court will take your circumstances into consideration. If you have children under the age of 18, the court will also need to be satisfied that proper arrangements have been put in place for their care.
Family law property settlements Parramatta
It is important to finalise your financial affairs after separating from your partner or spouse, and you do not have to be divorced before negotiating and formalising a property settlement. Once a divorce has been granted however, there is a twelve-month limitation period within which to bring court proceedings for a property settlement or spousal maintenance. If you have been living in a de facto relationship, proceedings for a property settlement must be commenced within two years of separating.
Although most settlements are finalised without having to go to court, it is important that you are aware of all financial and legal implications before you finalise a property settlement.
A property settlement involves the division of assets, liabilities, and financial resources between a couple whose relationship has broken down. It legally finalises their financial affairs and enables the parties to move on with their respective financial activities.
A property settlement can be achieved through a financial agreement, consent orders or court proceedings.
Consent orders are orders granted by the court on application made by the parties. They may cover financial matters as well as arrangements for children. The parties must make full financial disclosure in their application to the court and the orders will be approved if, on the information provided, the court considers it is just and equitable to do so. Consent orders will generally be granted without the parties having to attend court.
Financial agreements (also referred to as binding financial agreements, pre-nups and cohabitation agreements) can be made at different stages of a relationship, for example, before or during a relationship, or after a relationship ends. To be valid, a financial agreement must meet strict formal requirements and each party must obtain independent legal advice. Unlike consent orders, financial agreements do not deal with parenting arrangements and are often considered a less formal way to finalise a property settlement. They are not approved by a court.
Our Parramatta divorce and family lawyers can advise you on the most effective way to formalise your property settlement.
De facto partners
De facto couples can access remedies under family law legislation. When a couple have not been legally married, a number of factors will be considered to determine whether they were in a de facto relationship, for example, the length and nature of the relationship, financial dependence or interdependence, the care and support of children, or whether the relationship was registered under state law.
Parenting arrangements address issues such as where children live, how much time they spend with each parent and other matters like education or healthcare. Under family law legislation parenting arrangements must be made in the best interests of the child. There is a presumption that shared parental responsibility is best for the child, but this may not be the case in all situations. Shared parental responsibility means that parents are required to consult each other regarding long term decisions for the child and does not necessarily mean that the child will spend equal time with each parent.
Parenting arrangements can be achieved through a parenting plan, consent orders or court proceedings.
Parenting plans are written documents setting out the agreement reached between parents for the ongoing care, welfare, and living arrangements for their children. They are not approved by a court and, accordingly, are a less formal approach to parenting matters.
Consent parenting orders are formal orders documenting agreed parenting arrangements and must be approved by the court. They are legally enforceable and must be complied with. If a parent fails to comply with the provisions of a consent order, the other party may request the court to enforce the orders.
Parents are encouraged to make genuine efforts to resolve disputes about their children and may do so through negotiation and mediation, and with the assistance of their legal advisors. Family dispute resolution is a form of neutral mediation that is also used to help separated parents reach agreements regarding arrangements for their children.
If you need assistance, contact one of our divorce and family lawyers in Parramatta at [email protected] or call (02) 9687 7933 for expert legal advice.