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Common Questions We’re Asked As Family Law Specialists

Common Questions We're Asked As Family Law Specialists

For over 20 years, our Family Law Specialists in Chatswood have guided many hundreds, if not thousands, of family law clients to successful outcomes in their family law matters. Our Family Law Specialists in Chatswood are accredited by the NSW Law Society, experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to Family Law matters.
We want to share with you the five most commonly asked questions (and the answers) from our Family Law Specialists.

 1. I have decided to separate from my partner, what’s next?  1. I have decided to separate from my partner, what’s next?

Our Family Law Specialists understand that separation from your partner may be an extremely emotional and stressful time for you. This is coupled with an unfamiliar path that you will now have to navigate.

There are three key steps that our Family Law Specialists recommend that you take to give you a head start when you separate

  • i. One of the most important things you must do is to note down the date that you and your former partner have separated. This date is crucial as it can determine when you can file for divorce (12 months from the date of separation) and it can also significantly impact the division of assets during property settlement. If you and your partner cannot agree on a date of separation, the Court considers various factors to determine the date
  • ii. If you would like to engage in property settlement, you will also have to organise and gather numerous financial documents. This is because property settlement requires both yourself and your former partner to provide “full and frank financial disclosure” to each other in order for the Court to know the extent of the net asset pool and to make the appropriate property division orders.
  • iii. The most effective step you should take in your family law matter is obtaining early family law advice from an experienced NSW Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist near you. Over the years, we have seen family law clients who have initially refused to retain an experienced NSW Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist only to make detrimental mistakes in their family law matter. This means that once a family lawyer is onboard, they are spending time trying to reverse the damage first before guiding you along the right path. Our Family Lawyers are Accredited Family Law Specialists and can help you along every step of the way.

2. How does the Court divide property?

No matter if you are a married couple or de facto couple, the Family Court will apply the same principles to determining how they divide property.
The net asset pool is generally calculated by obtaining the total value of both partners’ sole and joint property (including real property, cash, shares, cars, businesses, caravans and more) and subtracting it from the debts owed which were incurred during the relationship (mortgages, loans, credit cards).
How property is divided in family law is not solely dependent on how much in financial contributions each party has made (including deposits or mortgage repayments) but also the non-financial contributions as well, such as parenting contributions, homemaking contributions and how each party has conserved or improved the property’s value over the years. Further contributing factors which assist the Court in determining the just and equitable amount a partner should receive in a property settlement also includes, amongst other things, the state of health of the parties, their financial commitments and the earning capacity of the parties.
However, property settlement is not always black and white and the Family Court has the discretion to add or remove certain items from the net asset pool. For example, if you acquire property after separation, it is not always excluded and will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. As a result, our Family Law Specialists highly recommend obtaining legal advice at the beginning of separation to assist you in quickly identifying your rights and obligations in relation to property settlement.

How is custody of children decided

3. How is custody of children decided?

In Family Law, the concept of “equal shared parental responsibility” is a presumption that both parents will have the equal responsibility in making decisions on the major long-term matters relating to the child. This may include where the child goes to school or in relation to the child’s health however it does not mean that there is a right for both parents to spend equal time with the child.
In terms of which parent the children will live with, the Court considers numerous factors which may also include what your child may want, to determine what arrangement would be in the best interests of your child.
Parenting matters are often complex due to the sensitivity of the issues. Our Family Law and Divorce Lawyers will present your case in a clear, cost effective and convincing manner.

4. Who pays the mortgage after separation?

No matter if you are a married couple or de facto couple, the Family Court will apply the same principles to determining how they divide property.

The net asset pool is generally calculated by obtaining the total value of both partners’ sole and joint property (including real property, cash, shares, cars, businesses, caravans and more) and subtracting it from the debts owed which were incurred during the relationship (mortgages, loans, credit cards).

How property is divided in family law is not solely dependent on how much in financial contributions each party has made (including deposits or mortgage repayments) but also the non-financial contributions as well, such as parenting contributions, homemaking contributions and how each party has conserved or improved the property’s value over the years. Further contributing factors which assist the Court in determining the just and equitable amount a partner should receive in a property settlement also includes, amongst other things, the state of health of the parties, their financial commitments and the earning capacity of the parties.

However, property settlement is not always black and white and the Family Court has the discretion to add or remove certain items from the net asset pool. For example, if you acquire property after separation, it is not always excluded and will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. As a result, our Family Law Specialists highly recommend obtaining legal advice at the beginning of separation to assist you in quickly identifying your rights and obligations in relation to property settlement.

5. How do I resolve my family law matters without going to Court?

The Family Law system in Australia requires that parties try to reach an amicable agreement prior to attending Court, which is usually the last resort. Our Family Law Specialists recommend first taking steps to try to reach an amicable agreement with your former partner by communicating with them with the assistance of an experienced Family Law Specialist. Reaching an agreement does not have to be undertaken by yourself and enlisting an accredited family law specialist prior to communicating any offer is in your best interest. A qualified Family Law and Divorce Lawyer near you can help you understand and explore your concerns and interests in resolving your family law matter and present your family law offer in a less formal and non-combative way.

If you have any questions relating to your separation, please contact our Accredited Family Law Specialists at Chatswood Family Lawyers today on (02) 9412 4500 for a free 15 minute consultation.