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Family Law FAQs

1. What is the process for obtaining a divorce?

When there has been a separation of at least 12 months, either party can file an application or a joint application can be filed at the Federal Circuit Court of Australia for a Divorce Order. Once the Application is filed, you will be given a court date for your divorce to be heard by a Registrar of the Court.

At the divorce hearing, the court will consider all the details of your divorce. Once they are completely satisfied, the Registrar will make a Divorce Order which will become final 1 month and 1 day after the hearing.

2. What details does the court need to declare a divorce?

At the divorce hearing, the court will look into the following:

  • Your citizenship or residency status
  • Your marriage
  • Your separation of at least 12 months
  • That there are proper arrangements made for any children under the age of 18
  • That the application is personally served on your spouse

The court will consider the above mentioned factors when making a Divorce Order. Any dispute in relation to child custody and property settlements is dealt with separately.

3. How does the court make a decision with regards to child custody?

When a relationship breaks down, and there are children of the relationship, then the parties can seek what is known as Parenting Orders.

Parenting arrangements can be made by the parties themselves, with any agreement made filed as Consent Orders at the Family Court. If there is no agreement, the parties will need to attempt mediation before applying to the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court.

Any parenting orders made will be based on what the Court believes is in the best interests of the child. In deciding what orders to make, the Court will look into several determining factors, such as each parent’s individual relationship with the child, the parent’s ability to meet the child’s needs, the parent’s attitude towards parental responsibility, the parent’s past involvement in the child’s life, the child’s age, sex, maturity, and wishes.

Both parties will be given the opportunity to present their future proposals and evidence with regards to past involvement with the child. These factors include: who the child will live with, the amount of time the child will spend with the non-resident parent, who will have the major decision making responsibility for the child, and other such factors. The Court will then take everything into consideration and will make binding orders for the future arrangements of the child.

4. What rights do De Facto couples have in NSW?

De Facto couples that separate have the same rights as married couples, as of 1 March 2009. All rights and obligations upon the breakdown or separation of married or De Facto relationships are now governed by the Family Law Act 1975.

The old State legislation that is the Property Relationships Act 1984, still governs the rights of De Facto couples who separated before 1 March 2009. Such couples do, however, have the option of “opting in” for the Family Law Act, if they wish to do so.

According to the changes that were made in legislation on 1 March 2009, De Facto couples have the same entitlements in terms of property settlement, superannuation splitting, parenting matters and spouse maintenance as couples. Problems do, however, arise in determining the duration and start time of De Facto relationships that are sometimes not considered a relationship at all in the first place.

It is thus important to obtain proper legal assistance and advice in terms of Family Law matters. We at Platinum Lawyers NSW provide this legal advice to you every step of the way and are experienced in the field of family law.

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