Family Law – FAQs

1. I’m thinking of separating what do I do?

Separation is a difficult process and an emotionally confronting time. If you are thinking of separating in our experience it is good to have a game plan in place. Getting early advice and information from a family lawyer gives you choices and empowers you to make the right decisions. At Walls Bridges Lawyers we specialise in all aspects of family law. An initial consultation can give you all the information you need in relation what your options are, not just in relation to entitlements, but also about how to approach issues and manage a situation with your partner. In our experience, early advice helps clients be better informed about the separation process.

2. My ex-partner and I can’t reach agreement what are my options?

It is often difficult to negotiate and reach agreement with your ex-partner.  If you are in this situation you do have options. At Walls Bridges Lawyers we can help you with the big picture. For example, what am I working towards overall, where do I stand legally, and what is the best forum and strategy for me to get agreement with my ex-partner?   Getting advice from one of our family lawyers helps you to know where you stand and what your options are.

3. My ex-partner and I have reached agreement – what happens next?

If you and your ex-partner have reached agreement it is important that you get legal advice from a family lawyer. If you have reached agreement about property and finances, a family lawyer can advise you about your options to legally formalise that agreement, and whether the agreement works legally, and is fair in the eyes of a Court. It is important to legally document your agreement otherwise it is not legally binding and either person can renege on the agreement at any stage. If you have reached agreement about parenting and children’s arrangements, it is useful to talk to us about your options to formalise that agreement.

4. We have separated – what can I expect?

Separation can happen over time or be marked by a particular event. You may know it’s coming, or it may happen unexpectedly. Whichever way separation occurs, it is emotional and it can be stressful and difficult at times. Even if separation happens with a particular event, the process of separation, including working out new living arrangements, a property settlement and care of the children, takes time. At Walls Bridges Lawyers we are here to support you through the process. In our experience, separation is often difficult, but things do work out okay. All of our clients get through it and go on to embark on new lives. However, it is important to get support and look after and honour yourself in the process. At Walls Bridges you can rely on us to be there to help get you through it and get you a fair outcome.

5. I’m worried about what happens with the children- please help?

Safety and children’s issues are the most important concerns in the process of separation.   If you are worried about your children and what this process means for them, we recommend that you get advice from a family lawyer. We can help you explore options for parenting arrangements, explain the law to you, and point you in the right direction. We can assist you with mediation and put you in touch with local experts who can assist. We can assist you with Court representation in situations involving children, including where mediation has been unsuccessful, you have concerns about your ex-partners’ time or relationship with the children, you have been denied time with the children, or have other issues.

6. I have concerns about family violence – what can I do?

Family violence is a very serious matter. Family violence includes not only physical injury but direct or indirect threats, sexual assault, emotional and psychological torment, economic control, damage to property, social isolation and any behaviour which causes a person to live in fear. Family violence may be situational in that it relates to the hurt, anger and grief that often arises due to the separation, or it may be a feature of the relationship itself. A relationship which is marked by family violence is one of control. The abuser intentionally uses violence as a means to control and dominate the other person to get what they want.The means to exert control may start out subtle and increase in intensity over time. The relationship may be marked by cyclic patterns of behaviour where an abuser is abusive then charming and affectionate. The intensity and seriousness of family violence often increases at the time of separation.  If you have concerns about family violence it is important to get support and work out a safety plan. Our family lawyers at Walls Bridges are experienced in matters involving issues of family violence and work collaboratively with counsellors and support works where required to best assist you. We can guide you through the legal framework and support you with intervention orders and issues involving protection and safety of children.

7. I’m in the Court process – what can I expect?

Sometimes the Court process is a necessary step to achieve an outcome.When Court proceedings are initiated the Court will set a date at which time all parties involved in the Court proceedings must attend. The Court date is primarily a day that both parties negotiate an outcome. This may be a final outcome or an agreement about interim Orders.  Interim orders are temporary orders put in place pending a final outcome which assist the parties and the Court to progress issues in dispute. If important issues cannot be negotiated and agreed the Judge may make a decision. A Judge will only make a decision about a final outcome in your case at the very end of the Court proceedings at a final hearing.   This may take 12-24 months from when an application is first made to Court. The Court process is essentially a means to gather information important to your case and to try to negotiate an outcome. It is only if a final outcome can not be negotiated and agreed that a Judge needs to make a decision.  All of the family lawyers at Walls Bridges are very experienced in Court proceedings. Most cases are resolved by agreement without having to go to final hearing.

8. I just want this over – what can I expect?

Relationship breakdown is often difficult and emotional. To separate out property and finances and come to agreement about arrangements for the children takes the involvement and commitment of both parties to the relationship. This can take time.   Often each party is in a unique emotional place and deals with the separation differently. At Walls Bridges Lawyers we are experienced in dealing with the emotional side of separation, as well as different personality types.  This means that we can provide you with objective advice as to what options you have to resolve you matter and what the best strategy may be for you to get an outcome. At Walls Bridges Lawyers we are committed to helping you best sort out your situation so that you can move on with your life.

9. Do I need a family lawyer?

A family lawyer has experience and expertise in the law as it relates to family breakdown, separation and divorce. An accredited family law specialist has undergone rigorous study and assessment to achieve a recognised higher level of expertise. At Walls Bridges Lawyers we specialise in family law and our principal is an accredited family law specialist. We know how the law and the legal system operates and we are your resource to support and guide you through the process. Having a good family lawyer on your side helps you get an outcome and know where you stand.

10. I’m in a new relationship but want to protect my assets – what do I do?

If you have been in a genuine domestic relationship for 2 years or more or you have a child you’re your partner, you and your partner come under the provisions of the Family Law Act 1975.

If you are becoming serious with your partner or thinking about moving in together, but want to protect your assets from a potential claim if the relationship doesn’t work out, you can do that by way of a Binding Financial Agreement. A Binding Financial Agreement is a specific legal document, similar to a contract, in which both parties to the relationship agree on how their assets will be divided if the relationship breaks down. One of the terms of the Agreement may be that you each keep what you brought into the relationship and share the fruits of what you purchase together. The Financial Agreement must be entered into voluntarily by both parties and each party requires a lawyer to finalise the Agreement. All of our family lawyers at Walls Bridges Lawyers are experienced in preparing Financial Agreements in accordance with the legislation.

Videos

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