Wyatts Are Your Family Law Experts
Wyatts offer a personalised service for those dealing with family law matters including divorce, settlement, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance. Our lawyers will treat you with the respect you deserve.
Do you need legal support as you file for divorce?
Are you entering into a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement?
Do you need help with a superannuation dispute?
Do you need help with property and financial settlement?
Are you looking for a child custody lawyers or child support lawyers?
Family law matters can be complex and challenging, particularly when there is an intense dispute, or when children are involved.
You do not need to deal with the legal issues associated with divorce, separation, property settlement and child custody alone. That is why our team of lawyers offers a personalised, caring and attentive legal service at this difficult time.
If you are entering into a marriage or de facto relationship, Wyatts can help you create a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement. A prenuptial agreement details the assets held by each party, and clarifies how these will be dealt with in the event that the relationship ends. Our team of lawyers offers comprehensive expert advice so that your rights are protected, giving you peace of mind.
Getting divorced can be a challenging process, particularly at a time when you are experiencing emotional distress. It is possible to obtain a divorce without legal help, and there are plenty of online resources to assist you. However, it can be useful to speak to a divorce lawyer, as they can help relieve you of some of the burden involved in filing for divorce. They can also ensure that your rights are protected.
Criteria For Applying for a Divorce
To apply for a divorce, there are certain criteria you must meet:
- You must have been separated for at least 12 months (living separately or in the same home)
- There are no prospects of reconciliation
- You or your spouse must
- have Australian citizenship
- have lived in Australia for at least the past 12 months
- consider Australia to be your home
- intend to remain in Australia
Married Less than Two-Years?
If you have been married for less than 2 years (calculated from the date of marriage to the date of applying for a divorce) you must meet the criteria above, but you must also pursue one of two options:
- You and your spouse must undertake counselling with a family counsellor (or another nominated counsellor). If there is no possibility that you will re-unite, the counsellor must provide a certificate to confirm that reconciliation was discussed
- You must seek permission from the Family Court to apply for the divorce
Applying for A Divorce
Submitting an Application
After the one-year separation period you can complete and submit a divorce application online through the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. You can apply for a divorce by yourself, as a sole applicant, or you can submit a joint divorce application with your spouse.
Serving Divorce Papers – for Sole Applicants Only
If you are a sole applicant, you must formally serve the application to your spouse. In other words, they must be formally notified of the application for divorce. This can be done by sending specific documents to your spouse via the postal service. Serving by post should only be done if you feel certain that your spouse will sign and return the Acknowledgement of Service to you. Otherwise, you must arrange for the application to be served in person. This must be done by a person over 18 years of age, and can be a friend, family member, or a professional process server.
When you submit the form, you will be allocated a file number, and you will be notified of the date and time of the court hearing. If a joint application was made, you do not need to attend the court hearing, unless you have indicated that you wish to attend. However, sole applicants will need to attend the hearing if there is a child of the marriage that is under the age of 18 years.
Granting the Divorce
If the court approves your application for divorce, you will receive a divorce order that will come into effect one month and one day after the hearing.
Filing for a divorce can be complex, particularly as you will be required to provide the court with relevant legal documentation to support your application. Our team of lawyers can help you complete and submit an application, and can provide you with legal advice concerning your eligibility, your rights and your responsibilities. In order to fully understand your situation, we will listen to you with attentiveness, care and compassion. We will represent you so that you receive your best possible outcome. Contact us today to speak to one of our lawyers.
A de facto relationship is one in which an unmarried couple lives together in a genuine domestic situation. Importantly, the term applies to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.
The Family Court of Australia and the Family Law Courts consider property settlement, child custody and support, and spousal maintenance matters in de facto relationships in the same way as they do for married couples. In other words, under the Family Law Act, if your de facto relationship has ended, you have the same rights and responsibilities as if you had been married.
When dealing with property settlement, division of superannuation, spousal maintenance, and child-related orders, the Family Law Courts will consider;
- The duration of the relationship (must be at least two years)
- The degree of commitment to a shared life, and the presence of a sexual relationship
- The nature of the shared residence
- Property ownership and use
- The financial and non-financial (e.g. parenting and home duties) contributions made by each person, and the presence of any financial dependence
- Whether there are children of the relationship, and the division of child care responsibilities
- Whether the relationship has been registered under State or Territory law
It is important to know that under the Family Law Act, sole applications for property settlement, division of superannuation, spousal maintenance, and child-related matters must be made within two years of the end of the relationship. However, applications can be made after this time if both parties consent, or if the court grants permission for the application to be made.
Family law matters can be complex and challenging, particularly during a period of intense stress and vulnerability. The team at Wyatts are here to guide you through this difficult time, with personalised, compassionate and thorough legal support. We will listen carefully to your particular situation, and will work with commitment and dedication to help you get the solution and outcome you deserve. Contact Wyatts today to take the first step towards your best outcome.
A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup” is a legally binding contract between two people who are currently in, or are entering, a marriage or de facto relationship. Prenups are intended to outline the rights and responsibilities of each party in the event that the marriage or relationship ends. They specifically state how property, financial assets, debts and liabilities will be divided.
A prenuptial agreement can provide assurances about the division of
- Property/real estate
- Investments and shares
- Superannuation and pensions
- Family trusts and inheritance
A prenup is particularly useful in the event that one person has considerably more property or greater financial assets than the other person, if one person may be the future recipient of an inheritance, or if children from a previous marriage or de facto relationship need financial protection.
Further benefits of a prenuptial agreement include;
- Both parties are aware of each other’s assets and liabilities
- Any current and future financial uncertainty is alleviated
- Future inheritances are protected
- The couple can avoid future court proceedings
- There is less stress involved in property settlement
Prenuptial agreements are binding contracts that must comply with strict legal requirements. Therefore, if you are considering drawing up or entering into a prenuptial agreement, you must consult a lawyer, and this lawyer must provide a certificate that states that you have received appropriate legal advice. The team at Wyatts will listen carefully to your particular circumstance, and will offer you a solution that protects your future, and the future of your family. Contact Wyatts today to discuss your best way forward.
Under family law, property includes not only real estate, but also cash, investments and stocks, superannuation, family businesses, family trusts, pensions, inheritances and entitlements, debts and other liabilities. All these will be taken into consideration by the Family Law Court when dividing property after divorce or separation.
There are also a number of other important factors that are considered. For instance, the Family Law Court considers any non-financial contributions made to the relationship (e.g. care of children) when dividing property. The health and earning capacity of each party is taken into account, as well as the care of children (e.g. time spent with each parent).
It is vitally important that the division of property is done legally, and in accordance with the Family Law Act. An informal agreement can result in an ex-partner seeking to claim a future share of property (e.g. inheritance). It is also essential that both parties disclose, or reveal all their assets, debts and liabilities, as not doing so will likely have unwanted consequences in the future.
Superannuation is a particular type of property that can be split as part of settlement. It continues to be subject to superannuation laws and is usually held until retirement age. You and your ex-spouse can value your existing superannuation and split ongoing superannuation payments.
If you and your ex-spouse agree on how superannuation should be split, you can enter into a formal written agreement following independent legal advice. You can also seek a consent order via the Family Court to split any superannuation. However, if you and your ex-spouse disagree on how superannuation should be split, a case can be heard in court.
To determine the value of your superannuation, you will need to obtain information from your superannuation fund trustee. To do this, you will need to complete a number of forms available in the Superannuation Information Kit. When seeking court orders, you are required to advise your superannuation fund trustee. You must then send them a copy of your agreement or order.
As with all assets and liabilities, it is vital that you report all your superannuation, even if you do not intend to split it.
Splitting superannuation is complex and the various laws and procedures governing this area of property settlement can be overwhelming. It is important that you seek expert legal advice before making any decisions about splitting superannuation. Wyatts team of lawyers will carefully listen to your situation, and will explain your legal rights and responsibilities. We can help you reach an agreement with your ex-spouse so that you do not have to go to court, and we can assist you with mediation where helpful. If you are required to attend a court hearing, we will represent you with commitment and tenacity so that you receive the outcome you deserve. At Wyatts, we listen, and we care. Contact us today to speak to one of our lawyers.
If during a marriage or de facto relationship you were financially supported by your spouse, and if you are unable to provide for yourself after divorce or separation, then you may be entitled to seek spousal maintenance from your former partner.
Spousal maintenance is a financial contribution made to you by your ex-spouse in either a lump sum or as a periodic payment. The amount that you will be paid will depend on your financial needs, and on your ex-spouse’s capacity to make payments. Other factors, including your age, ability to work, income, health status and whether you are responsible for the care of children from the relationship will be considered.
If you form an agreement with your former spouse about a payment amount and schedule, then these terms can be stated in your consent orders. After these orders are approved by the Family Court, they then become legally binding. If you and your ex-partner are not able to agree on the terms of spousal maintenance, then an application can be made to the Family Court, and a court order may enforce any spousal maintenance.
It is important to note that time limits apply. Specifically, applications for spousal maintenance must be made within one year of the finalisation of a divorce and two years of the ending of a de facto relationship. If you are applying outside these time limits, contact Wyatts today for legal advice on seeking spousal maintenance under special circumstances.
Spousal maintenance payments will no longer be made if you remarry or enter into a de facto relationship in which you are financially supported. Payments can also cease or change if your capacity to work increases, or if there is a change in the amount of care you provide for children from the relationship. If there are any changes to your spousal maintenance arrangements, then it is necessary to make an application to the Family Court.
Thorough legal advice is required when making an application for spousal maintenance. Seeking the support of a lawyer is also important if you are required to pay maintenance to a former spouse. Wyatts can help you navigate this complex area of law, and we will do so with dedication, commitment and professionalism. Please contact us today to secure your future!