Separation, Divorce, Finance and Kids – Family Law Basics

When can I get a divorce? Will a divorce sort out all financial and parenting issues? Are there any time restrictions for sorting all these things out? Are De Facto relationships different?

divorcingWhen can I get a divorce and will it sort out finances and parenting?

A divorce will not sort out finances or parenting matters. Being divorced is a legal status. The primary reason that people want to get divorced is so that they can get married to someone else. You need to wait a full 12 months from the date of separation before you can apply for a Divorce. Most Divorce Applications are successful. The most typical obstacles to success are (i) if there is a dispute as to whether 12 months have passed since separation, and (ii) if one of the parties to the marriage cannot be located.

What time periods exist for arranging finances and parenting?

The process involved in sorting our finances and parenting matters can be commenced as soon as separation occurs (and legal proceedings, if required, can be issued immediately) for both married and de facto relationships. You do not need to wait.

However, while you do not need to wait any minimum time after separation to commence your application for a financial/property settlement, in some circumstances you need to be careful not to wait too long. For instance, if you were married and then you get divorced, you only have 12 months from the date of the divorce order to make a claim regarding financial matters. Or, if you were in a de facto relationship, you only have two years after the date of separation to commence your financial claim. After these time periods, you will need special permission of the court, which can be hard, or impossible, to obtain.

For Parenting/Children’s matters, there are no real time periods. You can make an application immediately after separation and/or at any point in time in the future.

What is different for De Facto Relationships?

Generally speaking, you need to have been in a de facto relationship for two years to have the legal right to apply to a Court to determine the way that the assets & liabilities from the relationship should be distributed (i.e. to make a claim). However, you may also be able to make a claim if (1) there is a child of the relationship, or (2) one party made such significant contributions that it would cause a “serious injustice” if the Court did not allow it.

Contact us to arrange a chat. It doesn’t hurt to ask.