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Divorce/Separation :
Legal questions

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 MumaBear1978 (original poster member #79830) posted at 9:34 AM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Hi everyone,

I have an appt with legal aid next week. I have no idea where to start.

WH moved out on 13 May and you have to be separated for at least 12 months in Australia before you can legally file for divorce (not sure if it’s the same in US/UK?).

I’d love some suggestions on things to ask, or things you wished you knew about, early on in this whole divorce mess. WH said he would continue paying the bills and the mortgage when he moved out but I can’t count on him doing that for long. He’s made many promises and broke every single one so I can’t trust anything he says anymore.

Obv my main concern is what is going to happen to our house if he decides to stop paying. And what exactly I’m entitled to when we do divorce. I know I’d get some form of child support for our 14 yr old but our 19 yr old still lives at home and even though he pays for some things (his phone bill, car rego/insurance, petrol, etc) I still pay for everything else.

I currently work part time but I don’t earn enough to cover our mortgage, bills, groceries, etc by myself.

posts: 129   ·   registered: Jan. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8754314
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The1stWife ( member #58832) posted at 12:56 PM on Thursday, September 8th, 2022

Can you get a legal separation order or signed agreement that puts everything in writing regarding bills, child support, etc. for the next 12 months?

Survived two affairs and brink of Divorce. Happily reconciled.

posts: 12497   ·   registered: May. 19th, 2017
id 8754321
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VezfromTaz ( new member #80815) posted at 9:31 AM on Friday, September 9th, 2022

1. You wont be eligible to be legally aided to resolve property matters, unless there is a pilot running in your state - there is currently a Small Property Pool Pilot running where the asset pool is less than 500k. Property matters you only get one off advice usually from a clinic.

2. If you are both on the title to the home, or have other assets that are jointly owned, you don't apply for a divorce because you will want to access the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia if you cant resolve how to split the assets. You only have one year from date of divorce to do that.

3. As of last year, parties must take genuine steps to resolve property matters, which effectively means mediation is compulsory. There are community based mediation services in each state. If you cant pay the bills, and he wont come to the party voluntarily (either through mediation or discussions), you may have no choice but to get a lawyer involved

4. You may be eligible to be legally aided if there is dispute in relation to children - there is a means and merits test. For children's matters, again mediation is basically compulsory before going to court although there are exceptions. Legal Aid conducts mediations if you are legally aided (note that you dont need to go through Legal Aid to be legally aided). There are some good parenting apps around.

5. There is a DIY kit on the family court of australia website for property matters. It sets out the information you are going to tell you lawyer, which is essentially key dates, names of parties, the asset pool. contributions (financial and non financial), future needs etc. Superannuation can also be split, but is considered a separate to the asset pool. Maybe start filling it out.

6. I dont know anything about your matter, but if there are domestic violence issues Legal Aid will be able to assist with that as well.

7. There is a new website called amica which has been designed to help parties come to an agreement regarding assets. I think Legal Aid designed it.

8. You will need a binding financial agreement or consent orders if you come to an agreement, and one or the other is removed from title. This is to avoid stamp duty.

9. Depending on whether this is a high conflict separation, you may be advised to sever the tenancy if it is a joint tenancy to become tenants in common. You can then update your will and in the event you predecease your ex that half of the home would form part of your estate.

Cant think of anything else. Good luck.

[This message edited by VezfromTaz at 9:34 AM, Friday, September 9th]

posts: 34   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8754479
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 MumaBear1978 (original poster member #79830) posted at 3:22 PM on Saturday, September 10th, 2022

Wow! Thank you for all of this helpful information. I am so grateful.

posts: 129   ·   registered: Jan. 25th, 2022   ·   location: Australia
id 8754720
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VezfromTaz ( new member #80815) posted at 12:33 AM on Sunday, September 11th, 2022

I was going to add one thing which I am sure you are already on to- contact Centrelink about all your benefits and Services Australia regarding Child Support. Adult children may be eligible for maintenance but you need to discuss eligibility requirements with CSA. You can get an exemption from seeking child support if there is domestic violence so it doesnt affect your other payments. Also, my advice: if your ex is controlling, especially about money, consider going through Child Support for payments (ie dont negotiate a private agreement with him). The controlling ones hate being made to pay child support (hence the exemption if there is domestic violence issues).

posts: 34   ·   registered: Sep. 1st, 2022
id 8754764
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