Dividing it up: how to get what you're owed in a divorce
Divorce can be a messy battle that no one wants to face. You wouldn't be blamed for putting your head in the sand, hoping the whole thing blew over as quickly as possible.
But knowing your legal entitlement is worth your time.
With one in three of Australian marriages now ending in separation, and with the new year one of the most popular times to file for divorce, now is a good time to understand what you're entitled to.
Whether you're happily married, experiencing marital issues or considering divorce, it's important that you know the facts.
Discussing your situation with a family lawyer can help you receive and protect all that you are entitled to.
Prepare by protecting your assets
If you think your relationship may be heading towards separation, it's key that you begin to protect your assets.
Whether you've inherited a home from your parents, built a business or have a savings fund that was obtained during your marriage, it may be seen in the eyes of the court as joint assets available to split.
More often than not, people aren't aware that they can protect their belongings before going into divorce.
Speaking to a family law expert early will set out what legal documents can be put in place to protect what's rightfully yours before heading into divorce.
Planning to give you the upper hand for child custody
Child custody can be an emotional time for all family members. Often the kids get pulled into parents' disagreements and are used as emotional leverage.
It's important to keep a clear head and focus on what's best for the children.
Working with a family law specialist to document the money and time you spend with your kids can give you the upper hand when fighting for custody.
Additionally, you might want to consider not moving out of the family home, as in the eyes of the court it can diminish the amount of time you spend with your children.
A common misconception is that mothers get favourable rights for custody, when actually both parents have an equal opportunity to win custody.
Keep a clear head and make the right arrangements to give you the best chance for custody.
Splitting the superannuation
Did you know that super can be split during a divorce?
If you haven't been earning but your partner has, you could have legal rights to claim a chunk of their super. Likewise, this can be reversed.
Legal prenuptial agreements can be put in place by family lawyers either before or during marriage or in the process of divorce to define what happens to each party's super.
If you want to protect your super, it's worth getting legal protection in place.
Get to know your rights to the home family home
Knowing what to do with the family home can be one of the most complicated decisions during divorce.
A common misconception is that in separation the family home will get sold and proceeds are split 50/50; when in reality you may have the right to stay.
An expert can help you look at options to buy the remaining share of your property, allowing you to stay in your home with the children.
If you don't have the cash to do this, there are legal options such as using your superannuation towards the payments or have the sale of the property deferred until the children leave home or the spouse remarries.
Beware of unwanted debts
A main reason for breakdown in marriage is finance. If your partner has been racking up their credit card and now you're filing for divorce, it's important to be aware that unless you get legal help you may be end up with some of their debts in the settlement.
Debts are eligible to be shared in divorce, including: credit cards, loans and mortgages.
Your family lawyer can give advice on legal actions to remove yourself from the debt, and help you create the correct legal documentations proving who has accumulated which debts.