Are You Considering a Divorce?

Etheringtons Solicitors Can Help You Achieve Positive Solutions.

A divorce is the legal end of a marriage. Obtaining a divorce is also the initial step in making future arrangements concerning children, property and spousal maintenance. It is possible for parties to live together and still be separated, however, in most cases it is beneficial for both parties to go through the process of a divorce.

Am I eligible to apply for a divorce?

If there is no reasonable likelihood of the parties reconciling and resuming married life and you and your spouse have lived apart continuously for 12 months, you should consider obtaining a divorce. For example, if you wish to remarry, it will be necessary to obtain a divorce first.

You can apply for a divorce in Australia if either you or your spouse:
  • regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or
  • are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or
  • ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.
  Importantly, the time frame for seeking any property or financial orders in the Family Court is twelve (12) months from the date of the divorce being granted.

Divorce cases where children are involved

If there are any children under the age of 18, a court can only grant a divorce if it is satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for the children. The Court’s paramount consideration is what is in the child’s best interests. When deciding what is in the child’s best interests, the Family Law Act 1975 requires the Court to take primary and additional considerations into account.   Primary considerations consist of the benefit to a child of having meaningful relationships with both parents and the need to protect a child from physical and/or psychological harm (from being subjected or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence).   Additional considerations in relation to a parties’ conduct include, but are not limited to, the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, the maturity, sex, lifestyle and background of either of the child’s parents and the attitude of each parent to the child and to the responsibilities of parenthood.

Other considerations

However, the granting of a divorce does determine the issues relating to property settlement, spousal maintenance or parenting arrangements for your children. If you wish to address arrangements concerning those issues you may:

  • make an agreement with your spouse and file the settlement material with the Family Court; or
  • if you are unable to resolve your matter by agreement, you may file an application in the Family Court.

We know that the divorce process can be strenuous for both parties.

How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer

1. Assess your needs

Every divorce lawyer has strengths in different areas. When choosing a divorce lawyer, you should always ask yourself – what is it that you require the lawyer to do for you? Obtaining a divorce order does not automatically determine issues relating to property, maintenance or children, therefore it is important to consider the impact your divorce may have on these aspects of your relationship.   Where there are many legal facets to your separation, you will benefit from a legal representative with experience in Family Law. It is also important to consider how you want the process resolved. There are collaborative alternatives to litigation, such as mediation, in which you have more autonomy to determine the outcome and the lawyer plays a different role. Such options are available and can be applied depending on the facts and circumstances of your matter. However, if an amicable agreement between the parties cannot be reached, you may need to consider engaging a lawyer to assist you in court proceedings.

2. Do your research

Understanding the advice you are provided with is essential and key. The core principles of advice can be a good start and the Family Court has an online resource that provides an essential guide, however there is no substitute for good legal advice.   Once you have a basic understanding of divorce law, you will be better equipped to start researching different lawyers. Factors to consider when assessing whether a lawyer is right for you include:
  • Level of skill and experience (divorce is a specialised area of law so choosing someone with the right skills is essential);
  • Recommendations from trusted people;
  • The values of the firm the lawyer works within; and
  • Any initial information regarding their approach and communication
Your research should assist you in compiling a list of lawyers you can contact. It is recommended you do not limit yourself to just researching one law firm in the event that they are not available or are not a good fit for helping you to achieve your desired outcomes.

3. Initial consultation

The next step is to arrange an initial consultation with the lawyers on your short list. This will enable you to gauge the attributes of each lawyer. At Etheringtons Solicitors, we offer a discounted rate for an initial consultation, during which you will receive preliminary advice and you will have the opportunity to better understand who your lawyer is and how they can assist you.   It is important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer as they will be assisting you through a vulnerable stage of your life and your decision may greatly impact other parties, such as grandparents and children. Therefore, personality and ease of communication is also a factor to consider.

Etheringtons Solicitors can assist with your separation and divorce.

Paul Etherington

Paul Etherington is the Principal and founder of Etheringtons Solicitors. In 1989 Paul commenced practising as a sole practitioner and with vision and strategy, the firm has grown to become a highly regarded legal practice, located at North Sydney.
Paul Etherington

Andrew Ters

Andrew joined Etheringtons Solicitors in June 2019 as a Senior Solicitor focusing on the area of Family Law. The scale and breadth of Andrew’s Family Law work extends from straight forward divorces to divorces involving separation under the one roof; child support agreements; financial agreements and reaching agreements through negotiations, mediation, collaborative practice and through the Court process.

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