Divorce – Property – Children! Your questions answered

Divorce – Property – Children! Your questions answered

Family law is a complex beast and it is no wonder why it is very difficult to wade through without a family lawyer. However, there are a couple of legal questions/problems that everyone in a family, separated or not, has wanted to know the answer to. Here are the answers to some of our more common questions:-

1. How do I divorce my Husband/Wife?

Divorce in comparison to other family law problems is actually very simple. In Australia we have “no fault” divorce meaning that all you’re required to show is that you’ve separated from your spouse for a period of twelve months (which in most circumstances is as simple as stating the date that you ceased being a couple) and that the relationship has irrevocably (permanently) broken down.

2. Does my partner get half of everything?

The short answer is no. There are a very strict set of considerations that the family law system follows before splitting property. Firstly, they must decide whether property should be split. Separation and the fact that the parties own joint assets usually determines the first step.

Secondly, the Court identifies all of the assets and liabilities of the parties. Thirdly, the Court considers who has contributed what to the relationship, be it income, housework, or raising the children. Finally the future needs of both parties are assessed. This means your age, health, earning potential and other factors are considered in order to determine a percentage split of the property pool.

3. How does the Court decide who keeps the children?

The answer to this question is subject to many variables and it is difficult to provide a short answer. Parenting matters are also complex but in essence there are three essential criteria to consider. These are:-

  1. The best interests of the child;
  2. Parental responsibility; and
  3. Care arrangements.

In step 1 the Court looks at whether the child would benefit from a relationship with each parent and balances this benefit against the risk of keeping that relationship intact. The Court then considers a range of other factors including the views of the children (where the children are old enough to voice such views).

In step 2 the Court is able to use the best interests of the child to decide who gets to make the important decisions regarding that child’s life (e.g. decisions regarding education, health and religion).

Finally, the Court will decide where the child lives and how much time they spend with each parent. This is done by considering the first two steps and the practicalities of a shared-care arrangement. The answers to all of these questions will turn on the circumstances of the individual case.

Call our Accredited Specialist Family Lawyer, Kate Walker today for a free, confidential chat on the phone regarding your circumstances on (02) 4324 7699.