The Bulletin

Getting through it: 10 things to know about divorce in Australia

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Separation and divorce are a difficult time for any family, especially when you share so much of your lives. If you are in the early stages of divorce proceedings, you might be wondering how you can ease the burden for you, your spouse and any other family members.

This process is unpleasant, but it can be lighter, and so here are 10 essential tips when going through this unsettling period:

  1. You are not alone in this situation

It can feel like you are the only one experiencing this troubling situation. In fact, one in three Australian marriages end in divorce, and one in five Australians will marry at least twice in their lives.

  1. There is such thing as “not at fault” proceedings

The best family divorce lawyers Perth has are here to remind you that you don’t need to prove your partner’s fault. You only have to prove irretrievable marriage breakdown supported by 12 months of separation.

  1. You can try to settle the dispute

According to The Family Law Rules 2004 you must have made a proper dispute resolution attempt before applying for property settlement. When it comes to parenting, you must attend a family dispute resolution before applying to the court (601(9) of the Family Law Act has exceptions for this rule).

  1. The dispute doesn’t have to end up in court

Australian legal proceedings set out multiple dispute resolution alternatives that don’t need to end up in court. If you and your partner can reach an agreement without court this could be recorded as a Consent Order, Financial Agreement or Parenting Plan.

  1. You must wait 12 months to apply for divorce

However, you do not need to wait 12 months to apply for property settlement or parenting orders.

  1. There are recognised time constraints

Once it is finalised, you must apply for property settlement within 12 months, and within two years of separation if you and your partner are in a de facto relationship - you can apply for a timeline extension if that time has passed.

  1. If you are unable to reach an agreement

In these circumstances, you can apply to the court of financial order and/or parenting. Here, the court needs to determine what is best for your child in regards to financial and parenting matters.

  1. There is a duty of disclosure

The duty of disclosure ensures that you must provide full and frank disclosure of information and documentation you hold which can impact your dispute resolution. The court has the right to set aside a previously-made order if they find that you were hiding documentation in the initial proceedings.

  1. You can split your super

Your superannuation interests are considered property and you and your partner can value and split your super. This doesn’t mean you will receive the money for it initially - it will be sent to your super fund to be available when you withdraw it.

  1. it’s a good idea to update your will post-separation

This period is one that comes with all kinds of life changes, and there may be certain things that you would like to change in your will when proceedings get underway.

We understand that this is a difficult period, but by keeping calm and following these important pieces of advice, you can make some of the divorce elements a bit easier for all parties involved, and can make the process of moving on in life easier!

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