SEPARATION: WHEN A MARRIAGE OR DE FACTO RELATIONSHIP ENDS

Seek legal advice early in a separation

When it comes to separation and ending a marriage or de facto relationship (a break-up), it is advisable to get legal advice asap. There are a number of legal issues that need to be considered in a relationship breakdown including; arrangements relating to children, property settlement, maintenance and child support.  We are often approached by parties prior to the marriage or relationship ending seeking advice “as to where they stand legally” in relation to their rights and obligations.  Sometimes we are approached for advice some time after separation, which can result in delays that are detrimental to the outcome. The best advice is to seek guidance from a legal expert early on to ensure you to make the best decisions based on all the necessary information.

Children and custody arrangements

With respect to minor children of the marriage or relationship arrangements may need to be made initially as to who the children live with and spend time with. As things progress, arrangements often need to be negotiated in relation to schooling, religion, sports and extra curricular activities, travel etc.  It is expected, that unless it’s an urgent matter relating to the welfare of the child, that you’ll participate in mediation instead of going straight to the Family Court.  There are legal requirements that unless there are urgent circumstances involving risk to the welfare of a child, the parties are expected to participate in mediation at a family relationship centre so as to seek agreement on such issues without the need to have to go to Court.  Keep in mind that if agreement cannot be reached (mediation fails), and the matter moves to the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court of Australia, the Court’s paramount consideration is “what arrangements will be in the best interests of the child or children.”

Property Settlement in a Separation

In relation to property settlement matters (cars, houses, Superannuation, etc), parties to a marriage or eligible de facto relationship will be entitled to have the courts determine property settlement entitlements between them if a satisfactory outcome cannot be negotiated.  The Courts will take into account all of the property and financial resources of the parties, including family trusts, as well as taking into account the liabilities (debts, mortgages, credit cards etc) of the parties and also each party’s future needs.

Contact the team at Donlan Lawyers, trusted experts in Family Law in Adelaide today and we can help you through your separation.