As part of our role handling divorce proceedings on behalf of clients, there are some basic facts about the process that you should be aware of. You can apply for a divorce if you have been separated for at least one year and there is no possibility of a reconciliation.
When a relationship comes to an end, you should reach an agreement about the division of your assets and liabilities, which, if you are married and live in Western Australia, includes your superannuation.
If you and your partner are experiencing difficulty in reaching an agreement about financial issues and/or arrangements for your children, we will encourage you to participate in mediation to see if, with the assistance of an independent mediator, an agreement can be reached.
Whether married or not, you have the opportunity to enter into an agreement with your partner, either before you start living with each other or while you are living together, which covers the ownership of property and payment of maintenance while still together or when the relationship comes to an end.
Western Australia has its own set of laws, pertaining to both financial matters and child issues, which provide people who live in a de facto relationship, including same sex couples, with similar rights and responsibilities to people who are married, other than in relation to superannuation.
If your relationship has come to an end, you may be entitled to claim financial support from your former partner, whether you are married or not.
Once a child reaches the age of 18 years, normally parents no longer have a legal obligation to provide financial support.
Both the Commonwealth and State Parliaments have passed laws governing the support parents must pay towards children until they turn 18.
One of the most difficult decisions parents must make when separating, concerns how they will continue to care for their children and make decisions regarding their future.
If you reach an agreement with your former partner in relation to financial issues and/or arrangements for the care of the children, it is important to seek advice concerning whether it is necessary or prudent to formalise that agreement.
Unfortunately sometimes, even though a Court has ordered a party to do something, they fail to do so or even though the parties have reached an agreement, they fail to honour it.
You should have a Will dealing with what is to happen on your death in relation to your property and appointing guardians for your children. Usually spouses leave property to each other in their Wills.