The Do’s and Dont’s of Divorce in Australia

Divorce in victoria

Divorce and separation is often a stressful time in people’s lives. It can be a long and difficult process, so it’s important to stay focused on achieving a peaceful outcome. Melbourne Law Studio, experts in family law, provide you with some dos and don’ts of divorce in Australia to ensure you a successful divorce settlement.

DO get advice from a family law expert who understands the Australian divorce process as quickly as possible to start the process on the right foot. Family law is a complex area of law and is one that requires someone experienced. From the time you and your partner divorce, there is a 12-month period where financial matters such as the division of property must be dealt with. If there is a delay in pursuing legal action, you may lose the right under the Family Law Act 1975. Because of this, it is important that you get the advice of a qualified lawyer as early as possible, usually even before the divorce is finalised. Speaking to someone as soon as possible will ensure that property settlement issues and asset division during separation is dealt with proactively. 

DO hire a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable. When dealing with divorce in Victoria, it is crucial that you feel that your Melbourne divorce lawyer has your best interests in mind. For different clients, these interests will vary. While some will be focused on the division of any assets, other divorces may be focused on creating an amicable split for the sake of any children involved. As divorce is an emotionally draining process, it is important that you are comfortable enough with your lawyer to express your needs and your primary interests during this process. Your best outcome for these proceedings do not necessarily need to be legal ones, and an experienced Melbourne divorce lawyer will take that into account.

DO be honest with your lawyer, so they can best assess your situation to provide you with the best and most accurate advice. The strategy your lawyer takes will be directly dependent on what you choose to share with them. Withholding elements of your relationship may undermine your case by hindering that strategy, especially if new information is submitted during formal court proceedings. By being honest with your divorce lawyer, you are equipping them with the best information in order for them to achieve your desired outcome.

“It is completely understandable that, in situations where a person has ‘brought in’ an asset into the relationship, or has created an asset during the relationship, they feel as though it is completely unfair for their ex-partner to derive a benefit from it. This can happen if someone already owned an investment property when they got married, or held shares, or made cryptocurrency a hobby during the relationship. The best way to protect these assets however, is to tell your divorce lawyer about them so they can be kept out of the asset pool legally. This can be done in various ways. If the assets are dealt with properly, then there is less of a chance of your ex-partner coming back for ‘seconds’ if they find out about the asset after the separation is finalised.”

Amicable Divorce in Victoria

DO keep meetings brief, concise and productive as to avoid conflict and stress, and waste of time and money. When engaging a Melbourne divorce lawyer for the first time make sure you are prepared to answer any questions they may have, such as information about any children involved, your assets and any current court orders issued in relation to your divorce. Having this information early in the divorce process will give your lawyer more time to work on your strategy. 

DO be clear as to what you’re requesting from the other party (and vice versa). This will reduce confusion or conflict down the road, potentially resulting in more legal fees and court battles. In order to get the best client outcome, your divorce lawyer needs to know exactly what that looks like. While your exact outcome may not always be possible, being able to state exactly what you want in the divorce will help your lawyer understand your priorities during this process. 

“When it comes to divorce in Victoria, it’s not uncommon for clients to say that they ‘want to keep their cards close to their chest’. They think that if they are evasive or elusive in terms of what they are after, they will somehow confuse or trick the other side into giving them what they want. Unfortunately, this is not how it works and can lead to delays, frustration and a waste of legal costs. A well thought out strategy is paramount, however part of that strategy involves understanding what it is that you want, how much you are willing to spend to get it and when the time has come to file proceedings.”

Divorce Diverging Paths

Best Advice for Divorce in Victoria

DON’T go straight into court proceedings without exploring mediation options thoroughly. Mediation could potentially save time, energy, stress and money in the long run by avoiding unnecessary conflicts. In parenting matters attending Mediation prior to any court proceedings is compulsory. It is required that a genuine effort be made to settle the dispute amicably before more formal legal proceedings commence to protect a further breakdown of family dynamics. However, there are exceptions to this rule in some circumstances that you may discuss with your lawyer. 

DON’T neglect your finances, make sure money-related issues are still being taken care of, and money doesn’t go missing. Just because you are going through a divorce in Australia doesn’t mean your financial obligations as a couple go away. It is important to keep paying things like your mortgage even if you are not living in the home if it is under your name. If this puts you in financial hardship, there are various methods you may undertake to ease this burden, like asking your ex-partner to pay or contacting the bank. If you are unsure of how to proceed under these circumstances, it is always best to contact an experienced lawyer.

DON’T cause unnecessary stress, confusion and drama for your children; this may create negative long-term psychological effects for them. When going through the process of a divorce in Victoria, all parties should be focused on the children. This means any actions you take that show you are not putting their needs first will be looked at unfavourably by the courts. Therefore, you must show the courts you can set personal grievances aside to work with the other parent to support your child(ren) through this process. 

“It’s easy to get confused about what’s important. Not because clients are bad parents, but because there can be so much anger and emotion that takes over. Kids require long term care. They need their parents and will benefit much more from mum and dad having an amicable relationship than one or the other having an extra $20,000 in the bank. It sounds like it is an unfair and simplistic view, but it’s true. When parents say ‘I want what is best for my child’, they don’t always see what will be best in 2 years when the family law matter has resolved.”

Woman being comforted through divorce

Final thoughts on Divorce in Victoria

DON’T keep to yourself – accept help and support from friends and family during this difficult stage of your life. Going through a divorce is emotionally and financially draining. Because of this, it is important that you reach out to your support system for help. Having a support system can help to make sure that you are thinking clearly and come out of this process in the best position possible, considering the circumstances.

The divorce process is never easy. Hopefully, by following these Do’s and Don’ts, your separation can be a peaceful one that minimises undue stress, worry, and tensions. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the best outcomes are achieved for all parties, particularly when children are involved. 

While it can be easy to let emotions get in the way, this is why you need an experienced family lawyer to help guide you through this process. Melbourne Law Studio are experienced in Family Law. They have dealt with many divorces in Australia and know the ins and outs of the divorce process. Based in Melbourne, Melbourne Law Studio are approachable and will serve anyone. If you are going through separation or divorce, get in touch now for a free 30-minute Family Law consultation. 

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