The top ten questions about Family Law
The only ground for divorce is an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. This requires living separately and apart for 12 months. You can only file an application for divorce after the 12 month period has expired.
For more information about divorce, click here.
It is possible for you to live separately “under the one roof”. However, you must have independent evidence of the breakdown of your relationship.
Generally, if you co-habit for a period of 2 years or more, or have children together, you have legal “de-facto couple” status. This means that you may apply to the Family Court for property settlement as if you were married.
You must initiate proceedings for property settlement (at the latest) within 12 months of your divorce order being granted, or within 2 years after the date of separation for a de facto relationship. Otherwise, you will need to apply to the Family Court for leave to file an application.
A delay can be devastating, especially where a “status quo” develops. The Court may be reluctant to let you change existing arrangements unless you can prove there is a compelling benefit for the children or other parties involved. Prompt action on separation is essential to avoid this.
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The Family Court decides how to divide your property. There is no automatic presumption of an equal division of property. The Court will consider the extent of the asset pool to be distributed; the financial and non-financial contributions of both parties; and their respective future financial needs.
For further information regarding the property settlement process, click here.
No, an administrative assessment of child support is not final. If you or your former spouse’s circumstances change, you should notify the Child Support Agency immediately.
For more information about child support, click here.
Superannuation is now regarded as property which can be divided when a marriage breaks down. However, this does not yet apply to de-facto relationships in Western Australia. You should ask for legal, taxation and financial planning advice before proceeding with a superannuation splitting order.
Yes, they are legally valid and enforceable if they meet certain strict legislative requirements. However, this applies only to such Agreements made after December 2000.
For more information about Financial Agreements, click here.