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Seven common myths about family law…

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As family lawyers we often hear from clients at the outset that “they know what to expect (in their situation) because a friend/colleague/ family member went through a divorce or separation”. More often than not, the “advice” that they have been given is incorrect or misleading. Every family law matter is different and it is important to seek specialist advice (about your specific circumstances) as this will enable you to make informed decisions about your family and about your future. Below we dispel some common myths about family law:

1. You have to go to Court:

• The vast majority of family law matters resolve by agreement

• There are many different options available to resolve disputes

• A small percentage of matters that end up in Court finish in Court

2. All family law matters drag on:

• There is no set or standard timeframe

• Going to Court typically takes the longest amount of time

3. You have to be divorced to do a property settlement:

• The requirement for a divorce is that you have been separated for a
continuous period of 12 months

• You can finalise parenting arrangements at any time

• You can finalise your financial arrangements prior to divorce BUT you must make any application to the Court for property settlement or spousal maintenance orders within 12 months of your divorce

4. The care arrangements for your children should be “50/50”

• Every family is different

• This arrangement may not be suitable for your family

5. The only benefit of formalising your property settlement is for a stamp duty exemption on the transfer of property between spouses:

• There are other benefits such as:

i. Certainty – If you formalise your property settlement properly, it is very difficult for the other party to make a future claim

ii. Simplicity – post-separation contributions can significantly complicate property matters as they are usually treated differently to contributions made during a relationship

iii. Protection of assets accumulated post-separation

6. You only need a ‘pre-nup’ if you are rich:

• Financial Agreements (or ‘pre-nups’ as they are commonly known) can:

i. Give you control over your financial affairs

ii. Avoid conflict

iii. Provide asset protection

• ‘Pre-nups’ can be entered into before, during or after a relationship

7. You don’t need lawyers:

• Despite popular belief, we don’t bite and we can advise you about your options, including creative ones

• We can help you do it right the first time

If you would like to make an appointment with one of our specialists, please call us on 6212 7600.

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