Going through separation, divorce, and attending family court is difficult and confusing for most people. During this time there are so many details to consider that it can add to the strain of an already stressful experience.
To help clear the way, we’ve created a thorough checklist for divorcing in Australia.
Get support right away
Divorce can be an incredibly emotional and stressful time for you and your family. As soon as you separate with the intention to divorce it’s a good idea to get support from experienced family lawyers, accountants and a psychologist if you’re struggling with the situation.
Separate first and record the date
In Australia family law requires that you are separate for 12 months before you can apply for divorce. So once you’re separated, record the date and set a reminder for a year from that date.
Get your documents ready
Gather all relevant documentation concerning your marriage and your financial position. This could include:
- Birth certificates.
- Marriage certificates.
- Bank statements.
- Superannuation documentation.
- Insurance policies.
- Statements for loans, credit cards and store cards.
- Car registration.
- Details of all investments.
- Property documents, including title, mortgage documents and a lease if you’re renting.
Make digital copies of these documents and email them to yourself or store them in the cloud (Google Drive, DropBox etc) so they can’t be lost.
Create a list of your financial and non-financial contributions to the relationship
Next create a list of how you contributed to the relationship. This could include paying the mortgage, bills and other expenses, or providing childcare and homemaking.
Understand what you own (and owe) together
Once you’ve got all your documents together, go through them and work out everything that you own together, including cars, property and investments – and everything you owe, including mortgages, credit cards and personal loans.
Divide all your property
Once you’ve got an understanding of all your assets, property and debt you can start dividing them up. Remember – at this stage it’s always better to resolve these issues amicably outside of family law court so do your best to compromise and come to a fair agreement. If you can’t agree, your first call should be to a divorce lawyer who can help mediate your discussion and formalise any arrangements you make.
Sort out your mortgage and property
Do you want to sell your property? If so, make a plan for the sale and decide how the proceeds shall be split. If you’d like to keep the property, decide who will own it and what will be done with it after divorce.
Open bank accounts, update wills and super
It’s a good idea to open new bank accounts for your income and savings soon after separation – as well as updating your superannuation and your will to reflect your new circumstances. Speak to a family lawyer for help updating your will.
Sort out your new living arrangements
The vast majority of separated and divorced couples live apart. Once you’ve agreed that you’ll separate it’s a good idea to start arranging new living arrangements as soon as possible.
If there are children involved make sure you coordinate where you live so that managing future childcare is as easy as possible.
Write a detailed parenting plan for your kids
One of the most important tasks after divorce is arranging the future care of your children – a good family lawyer can help you create a detailed parenting plan.
Your parenting plan should include details on how education and childcare costs will be divided and if any ongoing support will be paid. It should also include key information like religion, where your child will live, how you will split time and where they will go to school.
Get help from an experienced family lawyer
Divorce is difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. As soon as you separate it’s a good idea to speak to a local family lawyer that you can trust so you know your legal options and can move forward with confidence.
Get in touch with Testart Family Lawyers today and book your first consultation free.