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  1. Get professional advice. It is important to receive advice from a divorce lawyer you can trust. You will have someone to confide in who can advise you on your rights and responsibilities. Your lawyer will be able to provide options for you to take. Be sure to ask as many questions as possible so you are familiar with your legal standing.
  2. Mediation and Family Law Dispute Resolution are two options that parties are recommended to try before going to Court. These options are an effective way to resolve family law issues, without the stress and burden of going to Court. It is a less expensive, shorter process, which also fosters communication lines between parties. In children’s matters, mediation is compulsory before commencing Court proceedings. While it may not work in all cases, it is the best option if both parties are willing to negotiate and compromise in good faith.
  3. Get your finances in order. Firstly, document how much you have in your bank accounts, and the value of your assets and property. If possible, take half of your joint savings and start up an independent bank account. Anticipate your expenses, and prepare to spend beyond that number. In most divorce proceedings, each party is required to pay for their own legal costs, so it’s important you have a clear understanding of your financial standing.
  4. As tempting as it would be to keep some assets for yourself, be sure to disclose all property and assets to your divorce lawyer.
  5. Look after your kids. Depending on their age and emotional maturity, many kids may not understand why mum and dad are getting divorced. It will be very difficult for them to transition from a full family structure to a fragmented family. Their well-being is paramount in the eyes of the law, so always look out for their best interests.
  6. On that note, be prepared to be civil to your ex-spouse in relation to custody arrangements. It is important to maintain and foster a positive relationship with your ex-spouse so it does not create a difficult situation for your children as they grow older.
  7. Document all forms of abuse. Finding that there is an allegation of violence may influence the Court’s decision on who is responsible for the children, where the children live and the overall financial settlement of the case. You may be able to arrange an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) for you and your children if you believe you are in danger during or following the separation process.
  8. Keep yourself clear-minded and healthy.  Divorce is a difficult, emotional and stressful time for all parties. It can be an isolating experience and you may feel emotions of depression, anger, resentment and regret. There are plenty of resources and services for men, women and children to assist in coping with the grief of a family separation. Your mental health is important, particularly if there are children in your care.
  9. DO NOT try to hurt your ex-spouse. This means you should avoid posting negative things on the internet about them or speaking poorly of them in front of your children. Not only does this reflect poorly on you, this may negatively impact your case during Court proceedings. Also keep in mind that anything posted on the internet is forever, so your friends and family may come across it in the future. Your children may not appreciate your negative portrayal of their other parent as they grow older.
  10. Update your will and Superannuation binding nomination. In the constant flurry of divorce paperwork and visits to a divorce lawyer, your will may be the last thing you think of. This means they will not inherit your assets. It is recommended you appoint a power of attorney to take care of things if you’re incapacitated and appoint the correct beneficiaries who will receive your valuables and assets upon your passing.

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Family law situations can be complex and sometimes they can involve serious issues.  Information outlined is proposed to provide general guidance only. Due to the seriousness of legal matters as well as the uniqueness of your individual situation, professional advice should be sought. For advice, please contact one of our Family Lawyers.