I have separated from my partner. Do I need to go to Court?

Family Law 13 June 2018

The short answer is “no.”
In fact, an overwhelming majority of matters resolve without having to set foot in a Court room. If you and your partner have separated and are looking to or divide your finances without having to go to Court, you are encouraged to do so.

I have separated from my partner, what should I do now?

  1. Seek legal advice as to your next steps. A lawyer can advise you of your rights and how you should proceed . If you are concerned about your safety and/or that of your children there are legal tools available to assist you, but you should seek advice immediately. If the circumstances warrant, you may have to to consider a Family Violence Protection Order or an Intervention Order to protect you and/or your children;
  2. If you are amicable you may want to discuss settling your financial and/or parenting matters between you and your partner. This may help resolve your financial and/or parenting matters quickly without the need for litigation. However, before signing any documentation you should seek legal advice to ensure your agreement reflects your entitlement;
  3. If your matter is urgent, you may have to issue Court proceedings. A lawyer can advise on the circumstances which would warrant you having to do so. We can also advise the procedure and the costs you are likely to incur as a result.

My partner and I have reached agreement, do we need a lawyer?

The short answer is “no”, however if you choose not do so your agreement may not be considered “non binding” and be set aside as a result. This could leave you at risk to a greater pay-out in the future.

You may also have difficulties enforcing your agreement if it fails to comply with the formalities that are required.

If you have reached agreement should receive advice to ensure:

  1.  the agreement reflects your entitlement; and
  2.  the agreement is documented formally to avoid any issues in the future.

My partner and I have reached agreement, do we each need our own lawyer?

The short answer is “no”.

Whilst it is recommended that you both seek independent legal advice you are not necessarily required to do so for the purposes of documenting an agreement. This will depend on the way the agreement is documented.

In any event, a lawyer can only act for one party. Your partner can choose to be self-represented.

If you require any further advice or any further information on the matters discussed in this article please contact our Family Law team on 03 5273 5244.

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