The breakdown of any relationship is difficult, takes time and needs to be handled carefully.
There are many different factors to be considered in a separation including the care of any children, financial matters and maintaining a workable relationship with your ex-partner. Priest Legal will advise you on your legal position and rights, while remaining sensitive to the emotional turmoil that is an inevitable part of any separation.
Parents should try to agree on a parenting plan or parenting orders for their children when they separate. Focussing on the needs and interests of your children will not only minimise the impact of separation on them, it will also ensure that your costs are lessened. The two primary considerations are:
Both parents are responsible for the financial support of their children until each child reaches the age of 18 or until completion of the school year in which the child turns 18. Child support can be paid as the parents agree, or it can be assessed by the Child Support Agency, which uses formulas it has developed for the purpose.
Child Support laws are complex. You should contact the Child Support Agency in the first instance and have a look at their website. If you have come to an agreement regarding the payment of child support that does not conform with the terms of the Act, you may enter into a Binding Child Support Agreement. Priest Legal can advise you in relation to a binding agreement.
Divorce is the Certificate which is granted to you to formally terminate your marriage. You must obtain a Divorce Certificate if you wish to remarry. The only ground for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. To obtain a divorce after the marriage has irretrievably broken down, you and your spouse must have lived separately for at least one year. Either spouse can apply to the Federal Magistrates Court for a divorce. If there are children of the marriage that are under the age of 18 years, the Court may not grant the divorce until it is satisfied that there are proper arrangements for the children.
Property of the relationship or marriage can be divided up by agreement and then formalised by Consent Orders or a binding Financial Agreement. Complex rules apply to the division of superannuation and property and it is generally in each party's interest to obtain legal advice with respect to a fair property settlement. It is important that there is full and frank disclosure of all the assets and liabilities of the parties when entering into a property settlement or when making an application to the Court.
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