It is common knowledge that separation amongst de facto and married couples sits at around 50% across Australia.
With separation therefore being a foreseeable event these days, people appear to be more accepting of the need to legally formalise the agreements that they’ve reached with their partner after separation, to allow them to move on emotionally and financially from the relationship. Such agreements might include the division of assets, debts and superannuation, child support, spouse maintenance, and/or care arrangements for their children. (Formalising financial agreements also offers benefits such as stamp duty exemptions on the transfer of real estate, shares and cars between a separating couple).
Basically, it has become ‘normal’ to legally formalise agreements after separation than it was say, 25 or 35 years ago.
With an increased awareness about how the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) works, easier access to resources and information online, we’ve found in our practice that separating individuals and couples are more inclined to try and reach an agreement between themselves, without lawyers, and then prepare the documents themselves to formalise their agreements in a legal way.
Seemingly, the new way to separate seems to be together.
(Quite the oxymoron!)
Horror stories about Court and expensive legal fees dissuade many from even seeking the input of a lawyer. From a family lawyer’s perspective, this can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
It can be a good thing because the individual doesn’t want to end up in Court and therefore will try and reach an agreement with their partner but the downside can be that the individual may be agreeing to something that isn’t “right” for them. “Right” for the individual in the sense that, for example, the proposed financial agreement isn’t just and equitable according to the law, the parenting arrangements may not be in the children’s best interests and/or child support and spouse maintenance haven’t been factored in in the couple’s agreement.
Input from an experienced family lawyer can give you process advice about options to reach an agreement with your partner and tell you how the law applies to you and your circumstances. Such input can then help you to reach an agreement with your partner and yet still do it ‘together’.
We work with those separating couples who have already reached an agreement with their partner and simply want to legally formalise the agreement. We also will work with individuals one on one, providing input (advice) about what would be considered an appropriate outcome for them in terms of an agreement according to what the law says.