Planning Separation

Perhaps you’re in the early stages of planning to separate, with or without your spouse’s cooperation? There’s no doubt you have questions. So, let us help you start to gain some clarity of ‘what next.’

Planning Separation

Here are common questions asked by others in a similar situation to you

We recommend discussing your agreement with a family lawyer – firstly, to make sure it’s fair to you and will work as you intend, and secondly to discuss documenting your agreement so that it’s final and legally binding.

Generally, no. Most separating couples resolve their family law issues by agreement and that should be the expectation, even if your case appears difficult.

A divorce application can be lodged when you’ve been separated for at least 12 months. Most couples get divorced after they’ve resolved their financial issues and parenting arrangements.

The horror stories are plentiful! They usually arise in the ‘hourly billing model’ where you have a bunch of lawyers and staff charging their individual rates in 6-minute units whenever they go anywhere near your file.

We’ve ditched that system and only charge fees that are agreed up-front with you.

No, you don’t necessarily have to. In fact, it might be a bad idea. This is an issue that should be considered in the context of your personal circumstances. Get in touch and let’s discuss.

Not with us! It’s important to us that you feel comfortable and that we can have open and honest conversations (that are kept strictly confidential), so we make the process as easy as we can. We’ll guide you through the process and ensure you know what to expect.

Divorce: is the process of ending the legal relationship of marriage to your spouse.

Property settlement: is a term used for the division of a couple’s assets, superannuation and liabilities.

Financial Agreement: – is a type of contract that can be used to document a binding settlement.

Consent Orders: are another way of documenting a binding settlement and can deal with children’s arrangements, as well as property settlement.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR): is a type of mediation in the family law space.

Child Support: is a term usually used to describe financial support that is paid to the parent who your children live with for most of the time. Child support can also include expenses paid for the benefit of children, such as: school fees, extra-curricular activities, and medical costs.

Parenting Plan: is a written agreement between parents about their children’s living arrangements and can include terms about various aspects of their upbringing.

In most cases, we encourage you to firstly try discussing and agreeing on an ideal arrangement between yourself and your spouse.

If it’s not an easy conversation to have or agree on, family dispute resolution (i.e. mediation) can greatly assist to keep you and your ex partner focussed and to work through difficult issues. Parents should try to reach a consensus about arrangements that are in the best interests of their children.

It’s important to understand that separating couples can agree on whatever settlement terms suit them. However, the legal approach, in most cases, involves the following steps:

  1. Make a list of all the assets, liabilities and superannuation, and assign a value to them.
  2. Work out a fair percentage division, taking into account –
  • The contributions made by each of you towards the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of assets, and contributions to home duties and parenting.
  • A comparison of the future financial needs of you and your ex. The most common factors to consider are your ages, health, earning capacity, and responsibilities for the care of your children.
  1. Decide which assets are to be kept by either of you or sold, how the debts are to be paid or refinanced, whether a division of superannuation is required, and whether any cash settlement is needed to achieve the agreed percentage division.

The legal process and the issues to work through are much the same, but having your own business often creates some additional complexity. Common issues to be navigated include:

  • Understanding the corporate structure of your business and the roles of you and your spouse.
  • Personal loan accounts with the business, and inter-entity loans.
  • Additional disclosure obligations.
  • The value of your business.
  • Quantifying your income.
  • Deciding on child support arrangements (private agreements are more common).
  • Business premises being rented from SMSF’s.

Chances are that you’ll need a good working relationship with your Accountant and a higher level of involvement with your Family Lawyer to resolve and finalise your settlement.

Consider our support options to help you feel more confident and in control

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