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Divorce Advice when Children are Involved

By Andrew Banna, a Principal of Matthews Folbigg, in our Family Law Group.

It is important to recognise that divorce and parenting arrangements are two separate matters. There is a requirement that individuals wait a year in order to divorce however this time restriction is not in place in relation to making parenting arrangements. Couples can be separated and never divorce, however they are permitted to engage in parenting proceedings with a divorce lawyer immediately after separation.

In the event of a divorce or relationship breakdown it is highly recommended that individuals seek advice, particularly when children are involved. Legal advice from a divorce lawyer can assist you and your partner in negotiating and reaching short-term arrangements prior to implementing formal Court orders that may become necessary if an agreement cannot be reached.

Such short-term agreements may consist of:

  • Where the child/children will live until you reach a final agreement
  • Who will occupy the family home
  • How much time the children will spend with each parent
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The Role of Child Support Lawyers

Child support is an issue likely to transpire for parties separating with children. It is the way in which separated parents address their financial responsibility to their children.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics defines child support as:

“Cash or in-kind payments towards the financial well-being of children. These payments are usually made by the non-resident parent to the parent who has primary care of the children.”

What is the Child Support Agency?

The agency is a Government Human Services department that has the primary role of registering, assessing and collecting payments.

How do child support lawyers help?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009-2010) found that approximately 1.1 million children were impacted by child support. Consequently, it is safe to say that a significant number of parenting matters will involve a child support assessment and often this provokes some conflict between the parties.

Private agreements with the assistance of child support lawyers are a method through which parties can address the issue other than through a child support assessment. Private agreements may either be ‘binding’ or ‘limited’ agreements.

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Divorce Lawyer advice on the Impact of Divorce on Retirement

Often during a highly stressful divorce or property settlement, for instance where domestic violence may be involved or the parties are simply eager to settle quickly and move on with their lives; individuals are readily settling without consideration of future financial stability.

In particular, an article by Patricia Babalis highlighted a report by the Swinburne Institute for Social Research which discovered that at divorce, asset settlement ‘is often mishandled due to emotional tension and ignorance of what can be included in a settlement’.

Further, the article touched on the reality that is financial instability from divorce. Where separating parties do not achieve a settlement that ensures future stability, individuals may find themselves struggling in their retirement plans due to reduced super balances and sale of property.

In reiterating the words of Babalis, divorce is a stressful and sometimes unexpected time. However, ‘knowing what you may be entitled to could be a good start to making sure asset distribution is fair.’ A divorce lawyer  from  our  team is able to give you the guidance you need in regards to your current situation, as well as ensuring the best for your future long term financial position.

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Prenuptial Agreement

Going into a marriage or de facto relationship, couples do not plan to fail, however often couples fail to plan, overlooking benefits that a prenuptial agreement may have.

A binding financial agreement is a way that couples can plan out the potential future rights or obligations of either party in the event that the relationship doesn’t work out. Such an agreement can be made before or after entering the marriage or de facto relationship.

What can the agreement include?

Prenuptial agreements can cover a range of assets, financial resources and liabilities that are often precluded from individuals minds. Such areas other than income that may be addressed by a prenuptial agreement may include:

  • Superannuation
  • Inheritance
  • Trusts
  • Businesses
  • Real Estate
  • Investments
  • Pensioner entitlements
  • Debts and liabilities

What are the benefits of a prenuptial agreement?

Although often viewed as a negative way to commence a relationship, a prenuptial agreement could serve as a positive way for couples to openly communicate about the potential distribution of assets and debts as well as any expectations either individual may have.

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