Family Law

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What do I need to know about Family Law?

The breakdown of any relationship can be a difficult, emotional, and stressful time. Whether you are thinking about separating from your partner, have just recently separated, or have already applied for divorce and are needing to finalise property or child custody arrangements, SGM Legal can help.

Binding Financial Agreements (Prenuptial)

Our lawyers can guide you through the process no matter what the circumstances. We can explain and give advice on applying for divorce, negotiating property settlement, interpreting and drafting parenting orders relating to the care of your children, as well as more complex areas such as superannuation splits, spousal maintenance and child support. We can also support you in international family law issues, where you or your ex-partner might move overseas, and the impact of such a move.

Australian Family Lawyer

Family law is governed by federal legislation which means it applies across the whole of Australia. Australian family law is designed to help you resolve the legal aspects of your family issues, leaving court proceedings as a last resort where you cannot come to an agreement with your ex partner or family member. An important characteristic of our family law system therefore is attempting to come to a suitable, just and equitable resolution acceptable to both you and your ex partner. This may involve attending a roundtable mediation conference where we outline the main issues with the other person and negotiate the best outcome for you and your situation.

Who is Entitled in a Separation?

One of the most prominent questions clients going through family law proceedings ask is ‘what am I entitled to?’ The Australian family law stipulates that courts will only approve orders, by consent or otherwise, that are deemed ‘just and equitable’ to you and your ex-partner, while considering what is in the best interests of any children involved. This means there is no magic formula or black and white answer to this question as each situation will be different, and various factors will have to be taken into account.

Australian Family Lawyer

Family law is governed by federal legislation which means it applies across the whole of Australia. Australian family law is designed to help you resolve the legal aspects of your family issues, leaving court proceedings as a last resort where you cannot come to an agreement with your ex partner or family member. An important characteristic of our family law system therefore is attempting to come to a suitable, just and equitable resolution acceptable to both you and your ex partner. This may involve attending a roundtable mediation conference where we outline the main issues with the other person and negotiate the best outcome for you and your situation.

There are things courts will look at, however, which can give you an approximate guide as to what you might be entitled to under the law, such as:

  • How long you have been together
  • The financial contributions to the relationship
  • The non-financial contributions to the relationship - this factor is difficult to measure as it includes things like caring for children, and performing household duties and tasks, which are not necessarily measurable in any real monetary sense
  • Capacity to work, and the type of work available to you, for example if you are the primary carer of your children, your employment opportunities might vary significantly from that of your ex-partner who has the ability to work more
  • Superannuation contributions, which again may require a superannuation split to recognise unpaid, non-monetary contributions to the relationship
  • Assets and liabilities both joint and individual
  • The relationship your children have with both you and your ex-partner
  • Child support and spousal maintenance where appropriate; and,
  • Any other factors such as health conditions and need for medical care and support.
two children walking together

If you have already been through a divorce, you might consider a Binding Financial Agreement. Entering into a Binding Financial Agreement before you get married is commonly referred to as a prenuptial agreement (a ‘Prenup’). It is also possible to enter into a Binding Financial Agreement if you are already married. This is sometimes called a postnuptial agreement (or a ‘Postnup’).

Having such an agreement in place can avoid the complexities and strain of going through property settlement and parenting orders in the event your new relationship breaks down, or where you have particular assets you wish to protect, as the agreement sets out each person’s rights, entitlements and obligations in the event the relationship breaks down.

Protecting the interests of children from a previous relationship can be a motivator in wanting to enter into such an agreement. Like with property settlement and parenting orders, it is extremely important to get sound legal advice before agreeing to a Binding Financial Agreement because these can often be disputed and the legal requirements for a valid agreement are very strict.

With so many factors to consider, particularly in a stressful time, coming to a family law resolution can be overwhelming. SGM Legal is here to help you through the process, providing you with accurate, timely and cost-effective advice to resolve the matter as painlessly as possible.

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