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For anyone considering separation or families going through a separation, it can be a difficult time filled with mixed emotions.
The family unit can be thrown into disarray, with one or both parties suddenly having to decide on issues such as who remains living in the matrimonial home, who the children live with and when they may spend time with the other parent, who pays the mortgage, general expenses and school fees and the legal effects of such decisions
If you are separated the following list of Dos and Don’ts may assist.
- Seek Family Law legal advice if you are contemplating separating or have separated.
- Arrange a Family Dispute Resolution Conference (mediation) with the other parent if you are yet to reach an agreement for parenting arrangements for the children or if you would like to change the current parenting arrangements.
- Formalise any parenting arrangements by way of a Parenting Plan or Parenting Consent Order.
- Follow the terms of any Parenting Plan or Consent Order in relation to parenting arrangements for the children. Failing to do so may mean you are in breach of the Orders (if you have them).
- Do not commit family or domestic violence against your partner or children and do not expose your children to such behaviour. Domestic violence is defined broadly and can include not only physical abuse but emotional, psychological abuse, economic or financial abuse.
- Follow the terms of any Domestic Violence Order. Any breach of a Domestic Violence Order is a criminal offence.
- Do not speak badly of the other parent in front of the children or where the children are able to hear you.
- Do not relocate the children’s residence without the written consent of the other parent or without a court order if relocating would make it more difficult for the other to spend time with children.
- The children cannot travel overseas without the written consent of the other parent if you have a Parenting Order in place which does not allow for overseas travel (or an Application for Parenting Orders has been filed in Court).
- Watch the time! If the time limit is approaching for a property settlement, file proceedings within the time limit which is two (2) years from the date of separation for de facto couples and for married couples, within 12 months from the date your Divorce Order becomes effective.
It is important to seek specific advice regarding your circumstances as this fact sheet provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice.
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