3 Common Misconceptions About Family Law

There are many sensitivities around divorce and separation, but it is important to know your rights and what you can expect from the legal process. When entering this process, many people assume certain things which may not necessarily apply to their situation. Every case is different and varying factors involved can affect the outcomes regarding financial disputes and children. Read on to see a few family law myths dispelled.


“When we separate, my partner is automatically entitled to half our assets”

As every case is different, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to division of assets. There are many factors to be considered when reviewing how assets should be distributed which is outlined in the Family Law Act 1975. These factors must be considered after the breakdown of a marriage or even a de facto relationship.

A few factors include whether there are children from the relationship, whether the parties had assets before the relationship commenced, whether one or both parties made special contributions during the relationship (eg. inheritance), each party’s age and health, and more. You should contact your lawyer to find out the full list of these factors and how it is likely to affect your specific situation.

“Every case is entitled to a 50/50 child custody outcome”

While this may be a good outcome for some families, it may not apply for all. The children’s best interests are paramount as defined in the Family Law Act, and will always be top of mind when the Court is considering any child custody case. Sometimes spending an equal amount of time with each of the parents will not be in the child’s best interests or may not be practical to occur for their health, schooling, religion and so on. If you are worried about the long-term parenting arrangements for your children or have any questions about the decision, you should seek legal advice.

“To have a property settlement, we must be divorced”

Contrary to widespread belief, it is not necessary to be divorced to have a property settlement. After you separate and prior to being divorced, both parties can negotiate and formalise a property settlement at any stage. The formal process of ending a marriage is a divorce, and this can only be applied for by both parties until after they have been separated for 12 months.

At Australian Family Lawyers, we deal with family law services in divorce and separation, property settlement, children’s matters, spousal maintenance, same-sex and de facto couples, intervention orders, child support, mediation and more. Contact us to make an appointment and find out more today.

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