Separation can be a challenging and emotional time. Our family lawyers can provide practical advice to assist you in resolving all issues including helping you to understand your rights, entitlements & obligations. Our aim is to settle your matter amicably to save time and money. When an amicable resolution is not possible, we have the expertise to represent you in Court and achieve the best outcome for you.
Property & Financial Settlements
As soon as you separate you should start making arrangements to divide your property and separate your finances. If you are married, applications for property orders must be made 12 months after your divorce becomes final. If you are in a de facto relationship that is recognised by the Court, applications for property orders must be made within 24 months of separating.
The way your assets and liabilities will be divided between you and your former partner will depend on your personal circumstances. The Court may consider many factors, such as:
- Initial contributions
- Financial and non-financial contributions throughout your relationship
- Assets and liabilities (debts)
- Indirect financial contributions (gifts, inheritances etc)
- Future requirements (health, ability to earn income, care of children etc)
We understand how stressful parenting arrangements can be once you are separated. The Court encourages parents to work together to implement arrangements for the children by making a parenting plan, which is a written agreement between you and your former partner. A parenting plan is not legally enforceable.
You can ask the Court to make an order by consent in the terms of your parenting plan so it becomes legally binding.
If you can’t agree on suitable arrangements, then you may apply to the Family Court for parenting orders. However before you apply to the Court for an order in relation to a child, you must obtain a certificate from a registered family dispute resolution practitioner to the effect that you participated in mediation or that in the circumstances mediation is not required.
For more information about parenting arrangements, please visit http://www.relationshipswa.org.au.
A divorce simply ends a marriage and does not deal with any issues in relation to property or children.
Before you can apply for a divorce you need to satisfy the Family Court that:
- You have separated for a period of at least 12 months.
- There is no reasonable likelihood that you and your former partner will get back together.
- You have made arrangements for your children (if you have any children under the age of 18 years).
- If you were married for less than two years, you have attended counselling and obtained a counselling certificate.
An order granting a divorce is known as a “decree nisi”. A “decree nisi” becomes final after one month. You can apply for property orders at any time, but once your “decree nisi” becomes final you only have 12 months to apply for property orders. You may still be able to apply for property orders after that time only if the Court gives permission (which may only be given in limited circumstances).
For more information about divorce, please visit www.familycourt.gov.au.
Binding Financial Agreements
A Binding Financial Agreement (also known as a BFA, financial agreement, pre-nuptial agreement, post-nuptial agreement and divorce agreement) is an agreement about property and finances made by:
- De facto couples
- Married couples
A BFA can be entered into before, during or after a relationship ends. The BFA needs to be carefully drafted so that it complies with all legislative requirements otherwise it may not be legally enforceable. Before signing the BFA both you and your former or current partner require independent legal advice. By signing a BFA you can avoid significant legal and emotional costs which are associated with the breakdown of a relationship.
If you need advice in relation to any family law matter then please phone Kelly on 6162 8271 to make an appointment with our Family Law consultant, Siobhan Vincent, who has over 30 years’ experience in family law.
Our Family Law Services include:
- Parenting matters
- Arrangements for children
- Domestic and international relocation
- Child abuse
- Child support agreements
- Adult child maintenance
- Grandparent applications
- Child custody and access
- Surrogacy, IVF & artificial insemination
- Property and related financial matters
- Matrimonial & de facto property
- Asset division
- Spousal maintenance
- Pre-nuptial and financial agreements
- Family violence
- De facto relationships
- Same sex couples (LGBTI)
- Enforcement of agreements & orders/recovery orders
- Consent orders
- Family Dispute Resolution
- Court representation
- Full Court of the Family Court of Australia
- The Family Court of Australia
- The Federal Circuit Court of Australia
- The Children’s Court of Western Australia
- The Magistrates’ Court of Western Australia in Perth and regional areas