Tips and Traps For Separating Couples
The end of a de facto or married relationship can be a very distressing time for anyone who has to go through such an event.
There are ways that you can make the separation process better for everyone involved, and we have set out some of these strategies below:
It sounds quite simple but the amount of damage that separating couples can do by not remaining civil to each other when separating can be devastating, not only to the person who is on the receiving end of poor behaviour, but to any children who might be involved, and to the person who is behaving badly.
If parties can refrain from acting badly towards each other it is much more likely that they will be able to reach a relatively amicable settlement.
In the end an amicable settlement is likely to save you thousands of dollars in legal fees, months or even years in the court process (which you will never get back) and you will have untold benefits if you can reach an early, out-of-court settlement in the amount of stress that you won’t have to live through.
Court proceedings can be very stressful, and for some who are already going through a stressful separation and possible change in address, this really is best avoided if at all possible.
Don’t take legal advice from friends
All of us know people who have divorced or separated, many of whom may think because they have been through the process they know all there is to know about how the family law system works, and about how it will likely turn out for you.
Every separation has different issues that need to be carefully taken into account in accessing what a reasonable outcome may be in the circumstances. No two cases will be the same.
The only person who can give you proper advice about your entitlements and your rights is an impartial properly qualified family lawyer.
Even if all you do is get some initial advice to get some guidance it definitely beats relying on what friends and family might tell you about their experiences, which might end up being quite different from your own.
Just because you have “unfriended” or “blocked” your estranged partner from your social media account doesn’t mean that you can vent your opinion about them or things that you think they have done.
Invariably the two of you will have mutual friends and whatever horrible things you may be saying about your ex have an uncanny way of finding their way back to your ex.
In fact, private investigators can be very skilled at “digging up dirt” on parties in family court proceedings, and often the first place they will start is by looking at social media accounts.
Remain civil! At least on public forums.
Whilst venting your anger or frustration on social media probably isn’t the best way to express your emotions, it can be very important when going through a separation to have people to talk to about what has gone wrong and why.
Friends and family can provide very good support for people at the time of a separation, but sometimes speaking to a psychologist can be what is really needed to make a positive difference, and to help you through the darker times.
Formalise any agreement
People will often think that a property settlement can be formalised by a written agreement, a statutory declaration or some other seemingly ‘formal’ arrangement between the parties.
Not many people are aware that in order for a property settlement to be binding in Australia it must be formalised by way of court order (this can be done by way of an application for consent orders if an agreement is reached) or by way of a binding financial agreement (“BFA”).
Anything short of a court order or a BFA will mean that technically no finalisation has occurred in relation to a property settlement and either party can make a claim against the other’s property into the future.
When is the financial relationship at an end?
Contrary to popular belief the financial relationship between a separating couples doesn’t end upon their separation, it continues until such time as it is finalised by way of a court order or a BFA.
This can, and at times does, mean that couples who have been separated for years may have an ongoing claim to property that the other party has acquired well after a separation.
As you might imagine the matters discussed above are but a small few of the many matters people may face when they are separating from their partner.
At Lynn & Brown we deal with hundreds of people dealing with separations each year, and with our experience in mediation and collaborative training, our lawyers are in an ideal position to provide you with some once-off advice in relation to your separation, or to walk you through the entire process.
Don’t hesitate to call us today for an appointment to see how we can help.
About the author:
This article has been authored by Jacqueline Brown who is a director at Lynn & Brown Lawyers. Jacqui has over 20 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning. Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.