Documenting Separation

At this difficult time, there are practical matter that need to be considered

Separation agreements

Once an agreement has been reached and a relationship does need to end, we can assist with documenting the separation either by way of Family Law Consent Orders or a Financial Agreement (for both defacto relationships and marriages).  Family Law Consent Orders can document agreed parenting and/or property arrangements.

This is a document that, once all agreed and signed, must be also be submitted to and approved by the Family Court. Once Consent Orders are made, they are enforceable and there are very limited grounds upon which they can be appealed, set aside, varied or discharged.


Financial agreements

Financial Agreements documenting separation can be entered into whilst parties are separated but not yet divorced, or even after a divorce. A Financial Agreement is a private agreement which can only document property and/or spousal maintenance matters and is not reviewed by the Court.

For a Financial Agreement to be legally binding, both parties must each receive independent legal advice in relation to a list of matters specified in the Family Law Act. There are also additional grounds upon which Binding Financial Agreements may be set aside which do not apply to Consent Orders.

If you have reached an agreement with your partner, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to obtain legal advice before formalising any legal documents.  It is often the case that terms might need to be changed once further aspects of a particular case such as tax implications or maintenance issues are considered at length.

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Important Dates and Limitation Periods

For defacto couples, it is important to remember that there is a two (2) year limitation period from the date of your separation in which to finalise property and/or spousal maintenance matters. It is also important to be aware that if you are married and already divorced you only have 12 months (from the date of the Divorce Certificate) in which to finalise property and/or spousal maintenance matters in Court (if you have not already done so). This also applies to Consent Orders but not Financial Agreements.

If you have any queries regarding how we might assist you, please feel free to send us an email or call us on 03 9670 1188 us to discuss your matter with one of our family law specialists. Contact Us.


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