Do you need a family lawyer for separation and divorce?

This is a question many separating couples ask themselves and the simple answer is “no, not necessarily” – however there are some caveats when it comes to divorcing without a family lawyer.

Let’s take a look at whether you really need a family lawyer for separation and divorce.

Do you need a lawyer to get divorced?

Legally, you do not have to have a lawyer to get divorced or settle things after a relationship has broken down.

However, if you do end up in Court, attempting to represent yourself without having some understanding of the family law and the procedures and processes of the Family Court can be challenging, even for seemingly uncomplicated and amicable divorces.

Unless it’s a very simple divorce with no disputes and no children involved, the very least you should know before trying to get issues resolved is what your legal entitlements and obligations may be in order to ensure a fair outcome. Therefore, consulting a legal professional specialising in family law is usually recommended.

When should you engage a family lawyer for divorce?

The earlier you seek advice from a competent family lawyer the better. The moment you decide that your marriage/relationship is over, you should consult a family lawyer to avoid making unnecessary and costly mistakes, with potentially serious consequences.

Every divorce and separation has its own unique circumstances. An experienced family lawyer will be able to advise you whether going to Court will be your best option.

What You Need To Know About a DIY Divorce

Most people who choose a DIY divorce do so to save money.

In simple divorces that may be an option, but a DIY divorce only ends the marriage legally. It is purely an administrative process and that is the easy part. DIY divorces do not deal with the splitting of assets or resolve financial separation or issues in relation to ongoing arrangements for children. These often crucial issues are left for the couple to work out on their own. And that’s where problems can arise.

Application forms and Family Court documents need to be prepared and submitted correctly.  Mistakes or oversight can delay the process or lead to your application being rejected by the Court. Understanding the legal terminology and the prompts to navigate the system also pose challenges to many who are not familiar with legal jargon.

Having a family lawyer to assist you to navigate through all this and ensure the process is carried out correctly, may not be a bad idea.

Settling Financial Matters

Arriving at and implementing a fair and reasonable financial settlement can be contentious and stressful in many divorces. It requires both parties to negotiate a settlement regarding the division of their property and draw up an agreement that is just and equitable; this then has to be submitted to the Family Court for final Orders.

A family lawyer can provide information on these issues. They can assist in the valuation and splitting of assets, advise about your legal rights and establish whether you may be entitled to spousal maintenance.

Settling Children’s Matters

Divorcing parents also need to make arrangements for the ongoing care arrangements for their children. This might entail drawing up a parenting plan or applying to the Family Court for Parenting Orders.  The Plan or Orders will deal with issues like who the children will live with, when and how often they will be with the other parent, schooling, special occasions, holidays, schooling etc.  These issues may also be contentious and highly emotional.

Lawyers can assist in children’s matters, advising whether a Parenting Plan or Parenting Orders are appropriate and ensure that the documentation complies with the Family Court requirements.

Lawyers may also refer you to, or are themselves qualified to practice family mediation, which is mandatory in Australia where children’s issues are to be brought before the Family Court.

Why Choose Family Mediation For Your Divorce

Apart from being mandatory in some matters, family mediation is by far the quickest, least stressful and least costly way of divorcing in Australia. Unlike going through the Court where each party hires their own lawyer, in mediation, the costs of one mediator will usually be shared by the parties.

A mediator (depending on their experience and qualifications) might offer general legal guidance to both parties. They will also encourage them to find solutions to their issues and work towards a settlement that is both practical and acceptable to their family’s needs. The process is less formal than a court case and all information disclosed remains strictly confidential.

Many divorced couples are motivated to find resolution rather than fighting things out in expensive, time consuming and stressful Court proceedings. As a result, the success rate of mediation is very high.  to Court. That’s why a significant number of people choose to divorce through family mediation in Australia.

Ready to get started? Book your family mediation session with Ian Shann, an accredited family mediator in Perth, today!