Getting a divorce, or even thinking about moving ahead with one is an emotionally taxing and confusing time. Sometimes the last thing you want to be dealing with is paperwork, or figuring out where the family will live. But knowing what to consider and when is very important not only for your own welfare but also for the safety and wellbeing of those close to you. Here are some key things to consider when getting a divorce:
Know the divorce timeframe
Divorces are lengthy and in some cases can drag on for years. Avoiding this messy process is advisable from an emotional and financial standpoint. However, no matter how amicable the split, there are still legal timeframes that must be adhered to.
- After 12 months of separation, a divorce can be applied for through the courts.
- Application for divorce is filled out on or after this 12 month period is observed.
- In the event that one party is applying for divorce without the consent of the other, the application must be served to the other party.
- The hearing will determine the outcome of the divorce.
Children in a divorce
This is a crucial aspect to get sorted as soon as possible. The welfare of children is one of the most pressing issues during a divorce. From where they will live, to their healthcare, education, and development, these are all important aspects to consider when heading into a divorce.
If you have children under the age of 18 the court will need to be satisfied that proper living arrangements have been arranged and are being carried out. The court may not be satisfied if there are inconsistencies with housing, or if one partner is not in close or regular contact with the children yet still housing them, or the applicant may also be unaware of where the children are being housed.
Avoid stagnating the process
To avoid delays in the divorce process, arranging with your partner either personally or through qualified lawyers to have these arrangements in order before the court hearing will be a huge relief. A divorce will not be permitted unless these arrangements are deemed secure and lasting.
Child support vs child maintenance
Child support is when one partner provides financial support to the other for the costs of raising children. You will be responsible for providing financial assistance for children despite:
- Never having lived with your partner;
- Not spending any time with the children;
- Having adopted the child.
Although child support payments usually end after a child turns 18, there may be instances where continued support may be required. This is called child maintenance. Having a plan about how you will manage payments, and making the necessary steps to ensure your income will cover these is a critical factor to consider.
Property and asset division
Another major factor to consider is your shared property and assets. All property is on the table during a divorce, no matter who bought it, who has used it, or even who ‘owns’ it. The easiest and pain free way of dividing property is by coming to an amicable solution between the partners, or through other avenues such as dispute resolution processes.
Always aim for an amicable solution
The alternative becomes quite costly. Applying for a property settlement can take up to or even over 18 months and can be emotionally draining. Speaking with lawyers who can give you personalised and objective advice will mean you’re better placed to make these kinds of decisions, be it outside or inside the court.
What is spousal maintenance
Spousal maintenance is when lump sum or continuous payments are made to support a former husband, wife, or partner. A spouse who, usually through the process of separation is thrown into financial distress can apply for spousal maintenance. While it is not given the same priority as child support payments and can be applied for on the day or after separation takes place.
Getting the help you need
Knowing when and how to seek legal assistance during a divorce is critical. While it can be done alone, the legal jargon can be overwhelming at times. Furthermore, when a divorce is contested or the division of property or children is not going to plan, there can be severe ramifications for your personal life.
Having qualified legal representation not only takes a lot of the stress away, but it also ensures you get the best possible outcomes available to you and your family. Reaching out to divorce lawyers in Perth, and ideally a firm that specialises in family law, is one way of coming closer to your preferred outcome.