Separating Amicably

So, you’ve decided to separate from your spouse and so far it’s looking amicable? There’s no doubt you have questions. So, let us help you start to gain some clarity of ‘what next.’

Separating Amicably

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

Yes, we can! If you’ve got the relevant information, a one-off consultation is usually all that’s needed to talk through your agreement and whether it’s fair.

Whether you should have Consent Orders or a Parenting Plan will depend on several factors, such as the level of cooperation between you, your parenting styles, and your children’s ages and stages of development.

An agreed property settlement can be formalised so that it’s legally binding either by obtaining Consent Orders through the court or by making a Financial Agreement. It’s also possible to make a private Child Support Agreement to formalise child support issues.

Maybe, but it’s risky.

Some settlements can’t be effectively implemented without either an order or a financial agreement. However, the risks of an informal settlement can include unexpected CGT, stamp duty or other taxes.
Informal agreements can also come undone for a multitude of reasons, and further claims can be made as of right for 2 years or more after separation.

It might be possible but it’s probably better to have documents prepared by an experienced Family Lawyer. A lot can be riding on your settlement documents being legally binding and effective.

Full and frank disclosure – essentially means sharing information and documents that might be relevant to your settlement so that both parties are properly informed. Full disclosure is required by law. Settlements that are made without full disclosure are at risk of being undone (“set aside”) if the non-disclosure is discovered.

You can apply for a divorce when you’ve been separated for at least 12 months.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that you’re entitled to seek legal advice. Some of the decisions you’ll need to make might have an enormous impact on your life. You’ll want to make well-considered decisions.

Secondly, remember that you’re the boss. The lawyer’s job is to give you advice, but you make the decisions.

Thirdly, choose a lawyer you believe will give you sensible advice and will be considerate of your needs and priorities.

It will depend on what you want us to do and how you want us to go about it. However, we will make arrangements with you up-front about the services to be delivered and your legal costs. We don’t charge by the hour. Rather, we only charge set fees, so you’ll never experience bill-shock.

We can also assist you with obtaining finance to meet your legal costs where necessary
(subject to lender’s T’s & C’s).

Here are several tips to get you started –

  1. Recognise that coming to an amicable settlement will take time and effort – think of it as a project to be given priority.
  2. Write down an outline of your current situation.
  3. Identify and write down any areas of agreement, as well as any areas that are not agreed.
  4. Consider whether either or both of you will need outside assistance to provide expert advice, such as a Valuer or Accountant.
  5. Consider the prospects of coming to an agreement between yourselves, or whether it would be better to engage a mediator to provide a framework and manage the process.
  6. Get good legal advice!

Fairness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. People often disagree about what’s fair, whether it’s their children’s living arrangements or the division of their assets. In almost every case, there is a range of outcomes that might be considered to be “fair” and could occur if decided by a court. The objective is to reach an agreement that both parties can live with and that is within the range and “fair enough” to each of them.

It’s generally best practice to come to an agreement at the earliest opportunity. The longer the delay, the more things can change that can make an amicable settlement more difficult. When either party buys or sells assets, inherits or loses money, re-partners, has children… it all becomes more complicated.

That said, the emotional pain and loss associated with separation are sometimes such that negotiating a settlement is extremely difficult if attempted too soon. It’s also worth noting that agreements can provide for a deferred settlement – for example, selling the family home when the youngest child has finished Year 12.

Mediation is a process with some fantastic attributes. It means you’re being guided by someone who’s independent and their goal is for you to resolve any issues in dispute. It provides a framework and dedicated time to discuss matters. However, a mediator cannot make anyone “be reasonable”, provide proper disclosure, or decide the outcome.

It’s common to be confused about how to tackle all the issues associated with a relationship breakdown. It can be helpful to separate out the issues into these topics –

  1. Separation – when and how to broach it with your partner, how to go about it, whether/when to move out, what happens with the children and providing/receiving financial support in the short-term.
  2. Children’s living arrangements – is shared care appropriate, is FDR necessary, making a parenting plan, etc.
  3. Child support – how much, how it’s paid, private agreements.
  4. Spousal maintenance – when it’s appropriate, how it’s calculated, how it can be terminated.
  5. Property settlement – disclosure, working out a fair percentage split, deciding what assets, superannuation and liabilities are kept by each of you, what is to be sold, making it binding.

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

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