Moving through family transition with peace and integrity
Sometimes you find yourself in a situation you never wanted to be in. Perhaps you have decided that you can’t live with the way things are anymore, or perhaps your partner has shared the news that your family unit is going to change shape. One, or both of you, want to separate.
At Corney & Lind we understand that when families change shape it can be an extremely difficult adjustment to make. There are legal issues to be worked through, practical arrangements to sort out, and relationships to deal with. In the midst of the grief and shock of separation, many people are trying to –
- figure out how to financially support themselves – maybe they need to look for work, write a resume, or change jobs
- budget for their changed circumstances
- make sure the children are ok
- make arrangements for how much time the children will spend with each parent
- work out a fair division of property
- deal with the emotional fallout and opinions of friends and family
- confront and work through their own beliefs about marriage, families, and personal faith
It’s our conviction that the legal issues that arise from separation are only one part of their bigger picture.
So in response we have developed a model of care to meet people’s needs as their family moves through this period of transition. At Corney & Lind our family lawyers do not work alone – they are part of a wider network of support for clients which includes counsellors, support workers, referrals, and education services.
Clients are able to access one, some, or all of our services, depending on their unique circumstances.
Our Brisbane Family Law Team
If you’re looking for experienced family lawyers in Brisbane, we are here to help.
When relationships break down, it can be the start of a traumatic process for everyone involved.
We’re here to listen with care and work to understand your situation. Only then can we develop an effective strategy to resolve your matter with the minimum cost and time delay.
Our Family Lawyers Can Help You With:
We understand the complexity of family law and have the experience and skills to help you find the best way through this period of transition. Usually, no-one gains from a lengthy and bitter struggle over children and property. Proactive (not reactive) counsel from our team will help you to make wise, informed decisions, and we aim to resolve matters quickly. We will assist you to make decisions about your legal matters which are in accordance with your personal values, so you and your family can move through this period of transition as peacefully as possible, with your integrity intact.
Want to know more about our mindset? Ask us about our core values.
Speak to One of Our Team
Give us a call and ask to speak to one of our client liaison team members. They’ll find out more about you, have a chat with you about your situation and schedule a meeting with one of our family lawyers.
10 Family Law FAQ
A divorce is the legal recognition of the end of your marriage.
You can divorce if your marriage has irretrievably broken down and you have been separated for no less than 12 months.
Despite popular belief, you do not have to prove who was at fault and you do not have to wait 12 months after you have separated to finalise your property settlement.
There is no one legal definition of a de facto relationship as there are different requirements for different legal purposes.
However, a de facto relationship is between two persons (not legally married) who are not related by family and, having regard to all of the circumstances of the relationship, have a relationship of a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.
After you have separated, you can lodge an application with the Department of Human Services (Child Support) to have support assessed for your child if you are unable to reach an agreement with the child’s other parent.
A Parenting Order made by the Court typically deals with the following issues:
- Allocation of parental responsibility (i.e. all of the duties, powers and responsibilities and authority, which by law, parents have) in relation to the children (whether sole or joint);
- Who the children are to live with;
- Who the children are to spend time with;
- Any other aspect of the care, welfare and development of the children, or any other aspect of parental responsibility for the children.
When a Parenting Order is made, it is a legal requirement that parties follow the Order.
If a parent does not follow a Parenting Order (in the absence of providing a reasonable excuse), it is called contravening a Parenting Order.
There are serious ramifications which flow from a contravention of a Parenting Order such that it is possible for the Court to order parents to attend programs, facilitate make up time, enter a bond, pay a fine or even 12 months imprisonment.
It is therefore important that you read and understand the terms of a Parenting Order made by a Court.
Despite popular belief, there are no fixed rules as to who a child shall live and who a child shall spend time with.
The Court’s paramount consideration in determining which parent the child shall live with, and how much time the child shall spend with the other parent, is what is in the best interests of the child.
The Family Law Act 1975 sets out the factors that are to be taken into account in determining the best interests of the child.
Contrary to popular belief, the process that the Court uses to determine a family law property settlement is not a mathematical one.
Unlike other countries, there is no starting rebuttable presumption that the parties’ net property pool is divided 50/50.
Each relationship is unique.
The Court has a wide discretion in making property settlement orders and outcomes vary.
In other words, you could potentially get 5 different outcomes before 5 different Judicial Officers on any given day at a trial and each outcome would be acceptable, provided it falls within a range of possible outcomes.
In practice, the Court generally follows a long-standing process involving a number of steps in determining the entitlement of each party to a relationship.
These steps are as follows:
- The Court must decide if it would be just and equitable to adjust or change the parties’ current legal ownership of assets.
- To make a list of all of the current assets, liabilities and superannuation of each of the parties and arriving at a net figure known as the net property pool.
- To assess the contributions of each party throughout the relationship to the net property pool and to the welfare of the family. Contributions can be:
- To assess the current and future circumstances of each party and make adjustments to the percentage arrived at in step 3. The list of factors in Section 75(2) of the Family Law Act 1975:
- For the Court to step back and assess whether the percentage or division achieved by application of the above 4 steps is appropriate or just and equitable in the circumstances.
Spousal maintenance is money paid by one spouse to the other in circumstances where one spouse can’t adequately support themselves following separation.
In determining whether or not spousal maintenance is appropriate, the Court will consider the following:
- Whether the threshold is met, that is, there is a need for one party to be financially supported by the other;
- The capacity by the other party to support the first party for a period of time; and
- The matters in Section 75(2) of the Family Law Act 1975; and
- The extent of support required (what is adequate in the circumstances) and the amount of time maintenance is required to be paid for.
What must be remembered is that the Court is not required to ensure that either party has the same standard of living that they had before separation. It only has to be reasonable in all the circumstances.
Unless a property settlement is determined by a Court Order or is properly recorded in a Consent Order or a BFA, then the issue of property settlement is always potentially alive (subject to time constraints) and either party can commence proceedings in the future to make a claim against the other party.
There may also be costs savings and tax advantages in transferring property and signing documents pursuant to a Consent Order or a BFA. This includes capital gains tax and stamp duty exemptions.
You must resolve or commence proceedings for property settlement and spousal maintenance within 12 months after divorce.
Otherwise, you must seek leave of the Court to do so (which is only granted in exceptional circumstances). In our experience, this is a difficult, costly and lengthy process.
A financial claim at the end of a de facto relationship must be filed within 2 years after the date upon which the de facto relationship ended.
You can (and should) commence negotiations or file an Initiating Application for property settlement and spousal maintenance immediately after separation from your spouse as a result of the irretrievable breakdown of your relationship.
Where Are We Based?
We’re located in Herston, opposite the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital – just north of the CBD.
We’re within easy access of all parts of Brisbane.
The RBWH Bus Station is across the road from our office, Bowen Hills train station is within 10 minutes walk, and there are a few parking options available.
Can’t Get to Brisbane? No Problem
Our family lawyers will connect with you via teleconferencing or Skype – let our team know and we’ll arrange this for you.
Contact One of Our Family Lawyers
We’re here to help guide you through your Family Law legal matters after separation.
Please call our family lawyers in Brisbane on 07 3252 0011 to discuss how we can help you.
Family Law Information From Our Family Lawyers
Putting in place parenting arrangements including:
Finalising your divorce including:
Sorting out child support arrangements. Find out about:
- General principles and the child support formula
- Binding child support agreements
- Limited child support agreements
- Applying to vary the assessment
Breaches and contraventions of existing court orders. Read about:
- Your obligations
- Potential penalties
- The court process