Concerned about financial stability following divorce?

Find out about how to get on financially after a divorce

When two people divorce, it is common to have shared assets resulting from the partnership. You may own a home together, or have made mutual investments. A separation means that combined assets need to be divided, and disputes can arise in working out what each party should receive.

A court may need to intervene and play a deciding role in your separation, or you may be able to decide on how to split assets in a dispute resolution process.

No matter how a decision is made, divorce or separation can result in financial instability — particularly while waiting to reach a settlement. It can also result in financial instability even once a property settlement is made, which requires one party to pay support or spousal maintenance for the other party.

The financial impact of divorce and separation

The financial costs of divorce and separation stem from spousal maintenance:

  • Legal costs involved in managing your divorce and achieving a resolution
  • Moving house and needing to maintain two households
  • Childcare and additional care needs
  • Employment and earning prospects
  • A loss of disposable income
  • The impact on health and wellbeing after a divorce

While there is little that can be done about the costs associated with a split, the legal fees component can be addressed, at least in part, by working with a lawyer who focuses on swift and appropriate resolution of key issues in the most inexpensive and effective way.

Your Rights After Divorce or Separation

When a heterosexual couple separates, it has been shown that it is the woman in the partnership who is most likely to face economic hardship.

A report from the Women’s Legal Service Victoria found that many women would choose to walk away from their benefits rather than go through the process of fighting for a share of superannuation, or property.

For example, if you decided in your relationship that one parent would not go to work and raise the children (thus forgoing superannuation, an independent income and other work benefits) only to face divorce after fifteen years, the parent who did not work is likely going to be entitled to a share of their former partner’s superannuation. They would need to put forward a claim, but it is possible. Unfortunately, many people either do not know about this option or find it all too hard to go through after the trauma of separation.

Superannuation splitting, as it is known, is a complex area of law. We can help you with this, and many other areas, to ensure you get the best possible outcome following a divorce or separation.

How to Reach a Settlement After Divorce

When people separate, they need to decide how to split assets and manage property and debts. You can do this in a number of ways:

  • You can agree on how to separate your assets without any court involvement – and can also formalise this agreement with a consent order in the family court, or by way of a Financial Agreement.
  • If you disagree on how you wish to split your assets, you can apply to the family court for a financial order — which can include an order about how to divide property and the payment of spousal maintenance and de facto partner maintenance.

As part of your divorce or separation, the court will need to factor in potential child support and ongoing financial maintenance.

How Does A Court Decide?

A court is not bound by any particular rules or formulas when choosing how to divide assets — they will make a decision based on what evidence is put before them. Any decision is dictated by the Family Law Act 1979 (Cth) and provides that the court may make any decision it deems appropriate.

A court will:

  • Examine what you own, what assets you have, what you owe and any past or future contributions
  • Look at any direct financial contributions made to the relationship
  • Look at non-financial contributions made to the marriage
  • Look at contributions to the welfare of the family, such as homemaker and parent contributions.
  • Consider future requirements such as health, age, financial resources, ability to earn, and care of children

The court will then decide how to split your assets. Note that if the court makes a decision that is not financially in your favour, you can apply for an appeal. However, this can only be based on an error of law, that is — if you are simply unhappy with a decision, you may not have grounds for an appeal.

This is a complex area, and you should seek legal advice as soon as possible if you wish to appeal as there are strict time frames.

Manage Your Divorce With Australian Family Lawyers

Ultimately, going through the courts is an expensive and potentially difficult way to divide your assets. While it may seem hard at first to try and reach an agreement with your former partner or spouse, you will save yourself massive costs. Going through a court trial is costly and often emotionally challenging. You may save yourself time and stress by aiming for dispute resolution.

Dispute resolution with a family lawyer is a positive way for former partners to reach a mutually beneficial agreement and to divide assets without the potentially huge costs of attending court. 

We are committed to achieving the best possible outcome for every client, and with our expertise in family law matters, we have helped many people achieve a positive outcome for their matter. We provide free consultations and fixed fees in some situations, so you always know where you stand with us.

At Australian Family Lawyers, we believe that each party should get what they are entitled to, and we can help you in your matter no matter how complex. Contact us today for straightforward advice and help in your divorce matter.

Do you have a question about family law or relationship law?

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