A Divorce Lawyer Has Responsibilities Beyond The Courtroom
For some people who are about to embark on divorce proceedings, they may assume their lawyer is only crucial for court representation. In reality, the dissolution of marriage is a process that comprises numerous moving parts. Thus, your divorce lawyer will have additional responsibilities other than simply being your court representative. Some of the roles that they take on by becoming your lawyer can include being your counsellor, your bookkeeper, your detective and more. Knowing what responsibilities you can task your solicitor with will make it easier for you to know how best to navigate the dissolution process. Below are some of the responsibilities your divorce lawyer will have beyond the courtroom.
Initiating the separation process
It should be noted that in Australia, the Family Law Act requires that you and your spouse to have been separated for at least twelve months before you can apply for a divorce. Therefore, your divorce lawyer will be tasked with initiating the formalities by filing the necessary paperwork with the court. This step is crucial, as you would need to prove to the court that you and your former spouse have legally been separated, not only claim that you have been living in different homes. You do not need to wait for twelve months to deal with the financial settlement or parenting arrangements though, you can address that straight away.
Negotiating your financial settlement
A misconception some people have about divorce is that the spouse with the lesser income is entitled to half of everything. The truth of the matter is many factors go into determining what the financial settlement for either spouse would be. Therefore, you would need the expertise of an experienced solicitor to ensure that they are negotiating a settlement that you deserve. These negotiations would include aspects such as splitting up of the marital assets, determining the amount of money that could be paid in spousal maintenance and more.
Collecting your financial information
It is not uncommon to find that in some marriages, one spouse would deal with the monetary affairs of the household. This can apply in particular to homes where there is a sole breadwinner. If you are in this situation and cannot make head or tail of your family’s financial records, then you would be best advised to leave this to your divorce lawyer.
Your lawyer will not only know what financial information would be crucial for the divorce proceedings, but will be able to organise them in a manner that would benefit you financially. It can sometimes be through this process that some spouses end up finding out about hidden accounts, hidden properties and more that could all go into their financial settlement.
Negotiating a parenting agreement
Whenever there are children involved in the dissolution of marriage, the process can become significantly more complicated. These complications can be aggravated if one spouse is trying to use the children to exact revenge on their former spouse by trying to keep their offspring away from them. Instead of coming up with parenting agreements based on high-strung emotions, it is best to involve your lawyer.
As long as the children are not in any danger with the other spouse, your solicitor can liaise with you and your spouse on which type of parenting agreement would be best suited for your specific situation.
For instance, you may get primary care of the children, which would mean the children live with you. However, if your spouse has equal parental responsibility, it would mean all major decisions relating to the children would have to be agreed with them first, even if they do not have physical custody of the kids.
As previously mentioned, going through a divorce involves a number of stages. A misconception some people have is that once the proceedings are over, they can simply move on with their lives. In reality, the conclusion of the proceedings can open up a new set of concerns, particularly changing of your status. Your lawyer can guide you through the process of changing your name, undertaking the conveyancing on the sale or purchase of property, preparing a new will, notifying your Super fund and more.
For instance, if you are paying spousal maintenance and your former spouse is planning to get married, your divorce lawyer will guide you through the process of ceasing these payments. Alternatively, if you were paying spousal maintenance and lose your primary source of income, your lawyer would initiate the process of having these payments reduced to reflect your current situation.
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