Dignan & Hanrahan Solicitors can provide assistance for a range of matters relating to family law and de facto relationships, including assistance with:
Divorce & separation
Parties that have been separated for a period of 12 months can apply for a divorce. An Order for Divorce dissolves a marriage.
A divorce does not deal with adjustment of property interests or care arrangements for children. Such matters are necessarily the subject of separate applications to the Court.
We are able to assist you with a Divorce Application and, in most cases, can obtain an order without the need for your attendance at Court.
The Family Court can make Orders requiring only one party to assist with the financial support of another. The Court will usually make Orders for spouse maintenance in circumstances where:
- One party is unable to adequately provide for their own financial support, and
- The other party has the capacity to continue to do the same
Orders for spouse maintenance can involve the payment of a periodic sum or a lump sum in certain circumstances. Orders can be made on an urgent basis if required.
Division of property & assets
The division of matrimonial assets can be achieve by way of negotiated settlement or Order of the Family Court.
In determining what is an appropriate division of matrimonial assets, the Court will have regard to:
- The nature and value of all assets and liabilities
- The contribution each party has made to the acquisition and improvement of such pool of assets in both a financial and non-financial matter;
- What adjustment to the division may be appropriate in light of the respective future needs of the parties, and
- Whether it is “just and equitable” to otherwise make any further adjustment.
We recommend that detailed specialist advice be obtained before entering into any consent agreement to resolve the issue of division of assets.
Child custody matters
Parents are able to enter into orders formalising the care arrangements for their child/ren. Such orders can regulate all matters relating to the same including with which parent they live, how much time they spend with the other parent, the school at which they attend, extra-curricular activities in which they engage, medical treatment to be received and other matters.
At all times in making such orders, the best interests of the child/ren is the paramount consideration to which the Court will have regard.
There are a broad range of other considerations to which the Court will also have including any history of family violence, the children’s wishes, the nature of the relationship between the children and their parents, the capacity of each parent to care for the children and other practical considerations.
Orders regulating the care arrangements of the children can be achieved by way of negotiation, mediation or, if necessary, litigation before the Court.
Binding Financial Agreements
Parties are able to enter into agreements called “Binding Financial Agreements” which deal with both the division of assets and the payment of spousal maintenance.
Such agreements can be entered into:
- Before parties commence to cohabit
- During the relationship of the parties, or
- Following the termination of a relationship.
A Binding Financial Agreement removes the entitlement of parties to approach the Family Court for Orders dealing with a division of assets or payment of spouse maintenance. Accordingly, there are strict legal requirements in respect of both the nature of such agreements and the manner in which they are entered if they are to be binding.
Terms of Settlement
It is recommended that the parties who have reached an agreement in respect to the division of their assets or the care arrangements for their child/ren formalise the same by entering into Consent Orders.
Consent Orders set out in detail the agreement which has been reached by the parties. Such Consent Orders are accompanied by an Application to the Court for approval of the same.
The making of Consent Orders does not involve the parties in attending at Court and is a preferable way to resolve issues relating to the division of assets and care arrangements for children.
De Facto Disputes
Parties who have lived together in a relationship but have not married are referred to as having lived in a de facto relationship.
The issue of division of assets and the care arrangements for children of parties who have lived in a de facto relationship are now dealt with following recent amendments made to the Family Law Act.
The Family Court now has regard to the same considerations in respect to de facto couples as it does in respect to parties who were married in determining the above issues.
Contact David Duncombe for all your family Law enquiries or to arrange a consultation with an experienced solicitor.