Often when we think of family lawyers we think of custody disputes, but there are many more scenarios that they can assist you with.
It is important to ensure that you engage the right lawyer for your situation. You need someone that you can build a rapport with and who you can trust that to have the best interests of you, and your children, at heart.
Many law firms offer a free first interview; take advantage of this to ensure you have found the right person for the job.
Here are some of the situations to call in a family lawyer for:
Marriage or Relationship in trouble
If your relationship is in trouble and you think that separation is a real possibility, it is a good idea to call an expert and get legal advice before the separation. This will help offer peace of mind if you understand what you are entitled to and what your rights are.
You may then work through your issues and not separate but you will still have that knowledge if you ever need it.
Separation or Divorce
The breakdown of a relationship is always fraught with emotion and this can cloud judgement. Calling in an expert will help ensure the best outcome for yourself and your family.
A family lawyer can help look at all aspects of the separation in an objective manner and offer advice without emotional bias, and explain things clearly so you aren’t left overwhelmed and confused.
The breakdown of a de-facto or same-sex relationship is often similar to a divorce, and can be just as complicated.
Division of Property and Assets
People often assume that after a separation the division of assets is an automatic 50/50 split, however this is not the case. A family lawyer will help ascertain your entitlements and the fair division of assets.
A verbal or even a written agreement signed by both parties is not a binding agreement. Formalising any agreement in the form of a consent order or BFA (Binding Financial Agreement) will avoid unnecessary stress down the track.
An expert in the field will have a full understanding of what constitutes property in the instance of a separation to ensure the full scope is addressed. In the division they will take into account the position before the relationship and what was gained during the relationship.
Spousal Maintenance and Child Support
Private Child Support Agreements can be made with the help of a lawyer in lieu of a Child Support Agency assessment. Child support can be a complex and stressful issue, and a family lawyer will help to ensure that the payment is sufficient, parents are supported through the initial process and the agreement is legally binding.
Spousal Maintenance is something that many may not be aware of, and is a payment that can be made in a lump sum or periodically. Spousal maintenance is not automatic and the factors that need to be considered, and sometimes reconsidered, are:
- Age and health
- Earning capacity
- Income, asset and financial resources
- What constitutes a suitable standard of living
- Whether the relationship has affected your ability to earn an income
- The living arrangements of minor or disabled children
- The beginning of a new de-facto relationship or marriage
Binding Financial Agreements
A family law expert can help you draw up a Binding Financial Agreement that will protect your financial position in different circumstances.
Cohabitation, Pre-Nuptial and Post Nuptial Agreements are beneficial in that couples who sit and make these binding agreements while they are happy are more likely to come to agreements that both parties think are reasonable.
There are different Binding Financial Agreements depending on your circumstances.
- Cohabitation Agreement – if you are in a de-facto relationship, living together or planning to live together.
- Pre-Nuptial Agreement – for couples intending to marry
- Post-Nuptial Agreement – for couples who are already married
- Separation Agreement – for couples who have separated, there are different ones for de-facto and married couples
- Divorce Agreement – for couples who have divorced and want to document their property settlement
The best interests of the child should be paramount in any custody issues; unfortunately in the event of a relationship breakdown emotions can cloud both sides’ judgement.
Seeking assistance with family law can help parents come to a shared parenting agreement that works for everyone, while keeping the child’s best interests a top priority. What parents want, or deem fair, is often not what’s best for the child.
Care agreements can also be made that include contact with grandparents.
Family Lawyers can help protect the rights of everyone involved in a relationship at all stages of the relationship. Engaging the services of a lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean you will end up in court; it is in the best interests of all parties for matters to be resolved quickly and peaceably outside of a courtroom.