Separation Lawyers Perth

Separating from your partner is never easy and it can often be an emotional and stressful period in your life. Beginning legal proceedings at this stage may be the last thing you want to do, but it is important to understand your rights and obligations at the end of a relationship. You will need to consider things such as protecting the assets you have acquired during your relationship, and protecting yourself against future liabilities.
We understand that it can be overwhelming especially so soon after the end of a relationship but it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our team of experienced Family Lawyers Perth will assist you and support you through the legal process after separation.

Separation And Legal Processes

Separation occurs when your romantic relationship with another person ends. Most couples choose to live in separate homes after the break down of their relationship. However, there are times where circumstances do not allow you to leave your shared home with your former partner.

The Family Court of Western Australia will still acknowledge that the relationship has come to an end, and this is known as ‘separation under one roof’.
In order to establish that you are separated under one roof, the Court will look to various factors such as:

  • Whether the parties sleep in the same room together;
  • Whether any sexual relations exist between them;
  • If there is any difference in the sharing of household duties and meals than during the relationship;
  • Any sharing of money or bank accounts; and
  • Whether the family and friends think of you as a separated couple.

No single factor is conclusive and the Court will make its decision based on the evidence presented before it. Please contact our experienced team of Family Lawyers to discuss how you can establish to the Court that you have separated from your former partner.

What Are The Steps For Separation?

You are separated when you decide that your relationship has come to an end, and you communicate this to your partner. Your partner does not have to agree to the separation. Following the end of your relationship, you may wish to consider making the following arrangements:

  • Make parenting arrangements in respect of any children;
  • Inform your family and friends;
  • Notify organisations such as Centrelink, Medicare, or Child Support;
  • Inform your superannuationor insurance companies;
  • Determine how you will pay any debts and loans;
  • Whether you should continue your joint bank account(s);
  • Agree about the separation of superannuation or insurance entitlements; and
  • Whether you need to change your will.

We understand that it can be overwhelming process in an already difficult time. Our experienced team of Family Lawyers can assist you so please contact us.

Legal Rights After Separation

Your legal rights and obligations after separation are governed by the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) and the Family Court Act 1997 (WA).

      1. Legal Rights For Property

You may begin proceedings to divide your property immediately after separation. If you were married, you have 12 months from the date of your divorce order to deal with your property matters. If you were in a de facto relationship, you have two years from the date of separation to deal with your property matters. However, the Court is still willing to allow legal proceedings to commence long after the time limit has passed in a number of exceptional circumstances. It is generally best to deal with your property division as soon as possible to prevent complex legal proceedings in future. When making orders for the division of property, the Court will consider what is ‘Just and Equitable’ in all the circumstances. The Court will look to factors such as:

  • Your initial contributions at the start of the relationship;
  • Financial and non-financial contributions made by the parties during the relationship;
  • The current assets of each party including superannuation entitlements;
  • The ability to obtain gainful employment of each party;
  • If either party has the care of children or any other persons; and
  • The future needs of each party.

No family law case is the same. There is unfortunately no guarantee that the Court will make a ruling in your favour. It is best to get legal advice as soon as possible regarding your rights and obligations. Please contact our experienced Family Law Team to discuss your circumstances and what to expect when commencing legal proceedings for the division of your property.

      2. Legal Rights For Children

Parents are able to enter into Parenting Plans with each other regarding the care of their children without the involvement of the Court. A Parenting Plan is a written agreement between you and your former partner which can be changed at any time by entering into a new Parenting Plan as long as both parties agree. However, a Parenting Plan is not legally enforceable and relies on both parties honouring the written agreement.

If you and your former partner agree to the care arrangements of your children and would like the agreement to be legally enforceable, you can apply to the Court for Consent Orders. However, even if both parties agree on an arrangement, the Court will only approve the Consent Orders if they are of the view that it is in the ‘best interests of the Child’ to do so.

In determining the best interests of the child, the Court’s main concerns are the following:

  • Protecting the child from physical or psychological harm from being exposed to abuse, neglect, or family violence; and
  • The benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents.

If you and your former partner are unable to agree to care arrangements for your children, then the first step would be to attend family dispute resolution or mediation. If you have been unable to reach an agreement regarding the care of the children after family dispute resolution or mediation, you may apply to the Court for Parenting Orders.

Parenting Orders are when the Court will determine the care arrangements for the child. As with Consent Orders, the Court will make Parenting Orders in the best interests of the child. Arranging for the care of your children can be a complicated process and appropriate arrangements may change as your children grow and circumstances change. Do not hesitate to contact our experienced Family Law Team to discuss the best options for you and for the care of your children.

Get The Best Legal Advice From A Family Lawyer

In order to protect yourself and your children in the event of separation, you may wish to consider entering into a Binding Financial Agreement with your partner. A Binding Financial Agreement can provide certainty as to the division of your assts in the event of separation and greatly reduce the possibility of prolonged legal proceedings.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the best options for your with our experienced Family Law Team.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When your partner or one party doesn’t agree on the separation, you can give them some time or be very clear about your decision. Otherwise, you can simply move out from where you resided with your former partner and live separately. 

There is no legal process available for separation in Perth. But you have to provide evidence that you have separated or might have to give the date you separated with your former partner in the future. For instance, you have to prove that you and your partner have separated in applying for a divorce. 

When you have decided to protect the financial rights of your children right after separation, you have to apply for the child support program. Doing so will allow you to protect your children’s rights and also provide them with the necessary support they require, such as religious observance and health decisions, so on.

A legal separation agreement is a court-order agreement, where a married couple lives separately by residing away from each other. They stand out as an excellent alternative for divorce when both parties are unsure about the state of their marriage but wish to create financial responsibilities and boundaries. 

During the legal separation, the couple decides to live separately and will take the help of the family court lawyer to create a legal separation agreement. The trial separation is an informal agreement between a married couple, and there is no presence of any legal agreements and the court or the lawyer are not involved.

Yes, you surely can. You can change the terms of the separation agreement only if you and your partner agree to it. But if you still wish to change the terms after the legal advice from your lawyer, you can get the separation agreement rewritten where you can provide the terms that you want. 

Having a lawyer during the separation process will make the job a lot easier. They are highly qualified and skilled individuals who have the power and knowledge to deal with separation-related work. They will surely represent you well in the courtroom and make sure you receive a positive outcome

Divorce stands out as the formal and legal way to end a marriage, often leading to a separation. To receive a divorce, you and your partner have to live separately for 12 months. A legal separation is an act of ending a de facto relationship or a marriage. In simple words, a couple separates when they do not wish to live as a couple. 

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