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Divorce Law Near Me

Divorce Law Near Me

Divorce Law Near Me: Get the Right Help

If you’re considering divorce or separation in Australia, it’s important to understand the relevant laws and processes. Divorce law can be complex, and having the right legal guidance and representation is crucial. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of key aspects of divorce law in Australia and discuss how to find experienced divorce lawyers near you to help navigate this challenging time.

Understanding Divorce Law in Australia

In Australia, the Family Law Act 1975 governs divorce and the division of property after separation. To apply for a divorce, you must meet certain eligibility criteria:
• You or your spouse must be an Australian citizen, live in Australia and consider it your permanent home, or ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for at least 12 months before applying for divorce
• You must have been separated for at least 12 months
• Your marriage must have irretrievably broken down with no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life
• Proper arrangements must have been made for any children of the marriage under 18 years old

If you meet these requirements, you can apply for a divorce either jointly with your spouse or on your own. The divorce application is filed in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.

The granting of a divorce does not determine issues of property division, spousal maintenance, or parenting arrangements for children. These matters are dealt with separately, before or after divorce, by agreement between the parties or through court orders.

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Property Division After Divorce

Under Australian law, the division of property after a divorce is based on a number of factors, including:
• The financial and non-financial contributions of each party to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of the property
• The contributions of each party to the welfare of the family, including homemaking and parenting roles
• The future needs of each party, taking into account things like age, health, income, and care of children
• The length of the marriage and extent of integration of finances

The court has broad discretion to make orders for a just and equitable division of property, based on an assessment of these factors in each individual case. This can include cash, real estate, investments, superannuation, businesses, and other assets and liabilities.

If parties can reach an agreement on property division, they can formalize it through a binding financial agreement or consent orders approved by the court. If not, the court will decide the division of property after a trial. In complex property cases, it’s especially important to get advice from experienced divorce lawyers near you.

Spousal Maintenance

In some cases, one party to a divorce may be eligible for spousal maintenance from the other party. This is financial support paid by a party to their former spouse in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves.

When determining entitlement to spousal maintenance, the court considers:
• The age and health of each party
• The income, property, and financial resources of each party
• The ability of each party to work
• What constitutes a suitable standard of living
• Whether the marriage has affected a party’s ability to earn an income
• Who is caring for any children of the marriage under 18

Spousal maintenance may be ordered for a limited period to allow a party to get back on their feet or to undertake training or education to improve earning capacity. In some cases, it can be ordered for a longer period. The amount and duration depends on the particular circumstances of the case.

Parenting Arrangements After Divorce

Divorce law in Australia prioritises the best interests of the child in determining parenting arrangements after separation. The court’s primary considerations are:
• Protecting the child from physical or psychological harm caused by being subjected or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence
• The benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents

Where parties can reach agreement on parenting arrangements, they can enter into a parenting plan or apply for consent orders. If not, the court will make parenting orders after a trial. The court must consider the particular circumstances of each child and family in deciding what arrangements are in the child’s best interests.

Parenting orders can deal with things like:
• Who the child will live with
• How much time the child will spend with each parent
• How parental responsibility will be shared
• How the child will communicate with a parent they don’t live with
• Any other aspects of the care, welfare and development of the child

Lawyers practicing divorce law near you can provide advice on likely parenting outcomes in your case and represent you in court if needed.

At Mediations Australia, we have a team of family lawyers and mediators across Australia. 

Alternatives to Court: Mediation and Collaborative Practice

Going to court for a divorce can be costly, time-consuming and stressful. In appropriate cases, mediation or collaborative practice can help couples reach agreement on property and parenting issues without litigation.

In mediation, an independent third party assists divorcing couples to identify issues, consider options, and work towards an agreement. Mediators don’t provide legal advice, and agreements reached need to be formalised through binding financial agreements or consent orders.

Collaborative practice involves each party engaging a collaborative lawyer. The parties and lawyers agree in writing not to go to court. They then work together in a series of round table meetings to try to resolve issues cooperatively. If agreement can’t be reached, the collaborative lawyers must withdraw and the parties need to engage new lawyers if they want to go to court.

Divorce lawyers near you with training in mediation and collaborative practice can discuss whether these options may be suitable in your case.

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Divorce and Mental Health: Taking Care of Yourself

Divorce is one of life’s most stressful experiences. Even if you initiate the separation, it’s common to cycle through feelings of grief, anger, anxiety and loneliness. Particularly contentious divorces can take an even greater toll on mental health.

To manage the emotional fallout of divorce, consider the following strategies:

• Lean on loved ones: Reach out to trusted friends and family for emotional support and practical help. Isolating yourself can compound feelings of sadness and anxiety.

• Prioritize self-care: Make time for activities that promote physical and mental wellbeing, like exercise, time in nature, relaxation practices, and hobbies. Avoid negative coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol consumption.

• Set boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with your ex-partner about communication and be selective about the divorce details you share with others. Constantly rehashing the breakdown of the marriage can keep you stuck.

• Seek professional help: Consider speaking to a counsellor or psychologist who can help you process your emotions, develop coping strategies, and adjust to your new reality. At Mediations Australia, we have a team of divorce counsellors who can help.

Remember, the distress of divorce is often temporary. With time and support, you can heal and move forward. Divorce lawyers near you may be able to recommend mental health professionals who specialize in supporting people through divorce.

Financial Considerations in Divorce

Divorce can have significant short- and long-term financial implications. To protect your interests and secure your financial future, consider the following:

• Get a clear picture of your assets and liabilities: Gather all relevant financial documents, like bank statements, tax returns, superannuation statements, and property deeds. This will help you and your lawyer understand the asset pool available for division.

• Don’t rush into agreements: Take time to carefully consider any proposed property settlements or financial arrangements. Once you sign an agreement, it can be difficult to change.

• Plan for the future: Develop a budget reflecting your income and expenses post-separation. Consider your long-term financial goals and how the divorce may impact your ability to achieve them.

• Update important documents: After divorce, update your will, powers of attorney, and beneficiary designations on insurance policies and superannuation funds.

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The Impact of Divorce on Children

Divorce can be particularly tough on children. While every child reacts differently, common responses include anger, sadness, anxiety, and even guilt. Some children may act out or regress developmentally.

To support children through divorce:

• Break the news gently: Tell children about the divorce together with your spouse, if possible. Reassure them that the divorce is not their fault and that you both still love them.

• Maintain stability and routine: Minimize disruptions to children’s daily routines and living arrangements, to the extent possible. Consistency and predictability can help children feel secure.

• Don’t put children in the middle: Avoid criticizing your ex-partner in front of the children or using them to relay messages. Let children express love and enjoyment of time with the other parent.

• Be emotionally available: Make time to check in with children about their feelings. Let them know it’s normal to experience difficult emotions and encourage them to share with you or another trusted adult.

• Consider professional help: If children are struggling to cope, consider child psychologist or divorce support group. Divorce lawyers near you may be able to recommend child-focused support services.

With love, reassurance, and age-appropriate support, most children can navigate divorce successfully. The most important things you can do are to minimize conflict with the other parent and to be emotionally attuned to your children.

New Relationships After Divorce

Ending a marriage can be lonely and many people hope to find love again. When considering new relationships:

• Heal first: Make sure you’ve processed the emotional fallout of your divorce and developed a sense of identity and independence before jumping into dating.

• Take it slow: Avoid rushing into commitment. Make sure you get to know the person and how they fit into your new life before making significant decisions.

• Be thoughtful about introducing new partners to children: Consider waiting until the relationship is stable before introducing a new partner to your children. When you do, frame it in an age-appropriate way and don’t expect too much too soon.

• Update legal documents: A new marriage or de facto relationship after divorce may affect your legal rights and obligations. Consider updating your will and other important documents.

In the aftermath of divorce many people go on to build happy, healthy new relationships. Legal and relationship counseling can help you navigate post-divorce relationships successfully.

Emerging from Divorce with Strength

Divorce is never easy and the road forward may feel uncertain. With time, support, and good advice, it is possible to emerge from divorce with strength and resilience.

Key steps include:

• Finalizing legal and financial arrangements properly so you can have closure and security moving forward
• Prioritizing your mental and physical health by seeking support, practicing self-care, and giving yourself time to grieve and heal
• Focusing on your children’s wellbeing and adjusting to co-parenting with maturity and cooperation
• Rediscovering your sense of self and gradually building a happy, fulfilling life in the next chapter

Remember, divorce doesn’t define you. By approaching the process with integrity and accessing the right professional assistance – including experienced divorce lawyers near you – you can navigate it successfully and look to the future with optimism.

While the information in this article is general in nature, divorce laws do vary by state and territory in some respects. If you are considering separation or divorce, book a free, no-obligation consultation wit one of our family lawyers, mediators or divorce counsellors today.

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