Most, if not all, people who have separated would describe the process as one that is incredibly challenging and stressful. It can be soul destroying, all consuming and expensive. Knowing what to do, and what not to do, can make all the difference and the sooner you know that the better. It can mean the difference between enduring a bitter long running battle that impacts the rest of your life and your child’s life, or an amicable negotiated outcome that allows for respect and dignity in the years ahead.
While there are many things to consider when you separate, there are real benefits in seeking legal advice in the early stages of separation – or even better, BEFORE you separate. Consider getting advice about issues such as: Should I leave? What can I take? What is the best way to do it in a way that doesn’t lead to an all-out war? How will I survive? Can I force the other person to leave? What arrangements should I make for the kids or the mortgage? Can I change the locks? Should I involve the Police? How should I talk with my ex? Should I negotiate with my ex? What is the best way to negotiate with my ex? What am I entitled to? Should I mention I have a new partner?
Many think that speaking to a lawyer is only needed if you are going to Court– but that is wrong. In our experience about 99% of family law matters are finalised by negotiation – not by a Judge. Our role is to help you make informed decisions and to help you get the best outcome – whatever that means for you. “Knowledge is power” and the more you know the better the decisions you can make.
The ‘right time’ to take action about a property settlement is obviously when the time feels best for each individual,
but there may be circumstances when action might be required urgently. An important factor to also be aware of is that property of the marriage/relationship (including: assets, liabilities, superannuation and financial resources), is not valued as at the date of separation but is valued as at the date of any settlement negotiations or of the Court hearing. If the relationship is over, delay in taking action can often lead to complications and negative consequences. Whether you action a settlement now or later is up to you – but getting advice causes no harm and creates no obligation. It can only help.