Getting Started With Separation in South Australia
A guide to Separation & Divorce in South Australia:
Whether it’s a 150 billion dollar empire or a few joint assets, we’re here for you.
In recent news, the world has been closely watching the divorce of billionaire philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates following 27 years of marriage. The separation has been regarded as one of the largest matrimonial settlements to date. The couple goes their separate ways, each with a portion of their epic fortune of $148 billion. Relatable, right?
Regardless of wealth, time and effort put into building a relationship, sometimes they just don’t work out. And whether you’ve found yourself owning an empire, or you have a few smaller assets to your name, the process you need to undergo to finalise your matrimonial separation remains the same - and so does our service.
Are you separating in South Australia?
No matter your circumstances, we understand the emotion surrounding separation is still there – and we’re here to make the process as seamless as possible.
So, where do we start?
Before you jump straight for a divorce, it is important to ensure you have negotiated and finalised your matrimonial property settlement with your ex. That is, you have a valid Binding Financial Agreement in place, or you have been granted Property/Financial Consent Orders in the relevant Court.
The division of your assets will not always be a 50/50 split but will be dependent upon the settlement terms reflected in your Binding Financial Agreement or Property/Financial Consent Orders.
Don’t be fooled. Once a divorce has been granted, the parties are given only 12 months to finalise their matrimonial property/financial settlement. In most cases, this isn’t much time at all. However, depending on the nature of your relationship, we understand things can get messy, and unfortunately, there’s always that possibility that negotiations may be dragged out beyond this deadline.
If, for some reason, you are unable to reach an agreement during this timeframe, don’t stress. Although not ideal, there are ways forward, and, as always, we will be here to guide you through each step.
Still, need to sort your property settlement?
Get in touch!
Whether you require a Binding Financial Agreement or Consent Orders, our team of experienced solicitors can assist.
What’s involved? Both documents are required to be prepared by a solicitor, and each includes a detailed summary of your relationship, as well as the agreed settlement terms moving forward.
A Binding Financial Agreement outlines the background of your relationship, details of the assets each party came to the relationship with, what assets and liabilities the parties currently hold in their joint and sole names, and who will be retaining what. This Agreement does not need to be approved and sealed by the Court, and for this reason, it is seen as a quicker approach to finalising your property settlement. Although you can escape the lengthy court process by going down this path, it also means that a Binding Financial Agreement can be set aside by the Court in the event full disclosure is not made by the parties and the document is not drafted correctly. Each party is therefore required to engage a solicitor to obtain independent legal advice on the Agreement prior to signing.
Then there are Consent Orders. Our solicitors can prepare an application for Consent Orders, as well as the Consent Minutes of Order, that accurately outlines the settlement agreement you have reached with your ex. Each party must sign the documents, however, it is not mandatory that they each obtain independent legal advice on the fairness of the percentage split they have negotiated. The Application is then filed with the Court for a nominal fee and will be assessed by the Registrar as to whether the settlement terms are and equitable in the circumstances. The process can take several weeks, depending on the Court’s workload at the time – which is something to consider when determining how you’d like to finalise your property settlement. Although the process can be lengthy because The Court formally seals consent Orders, it is very difficult for them to be set aside or overturned.
Save yourself the added complications. You don’t have to wait until you are divorced to get going on finalising your property/financial settlement it’s in your best interests to get started straight away.
If you’re ready to apply for divorce, keep reading!
A divorce application is filed with the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and can be filed by an individual solely or together with their ex-spouse. Together, our solicitors will step you through all the information we need to prepare and finalise the Application, as well as your eligibility to apply.
Eligible applicants will be Australian Citizens or long-term residents of Australia who have formally separated from their ex-spouse for a period of at least 12 months. When thinking about separation, it is important to be sure that your marriage has “broken down irretrievably” with no reasonable likelihood of you and your ex getting back together.
Can you be separated under the one roof?
Believe it or not, you can be separated from your ex whilst living under the same roof – and it’s quite common too! Whether it be for a few days - or a few years - following separation, this is unlikely to affect your eligibility to apply for divorce; the Court will just require some extra information to understand your circumstances better.
If this is the case, we can prepare an affidavit that details any changes in your marriage that evidence your separation. This can include changes in sleeping arrangements, the division of household duties, e.g. separate cooking and cleaning and reduced participation in shared activities or family outings, to name a few. This affidavit acts as an explanation to the Court of why you have remained under the one roof and how you have demonstrated separation whilst doing so.
But – this will only apply if you have been living in the same home for part or all of the required 12 months of separation. If, for example, you have lived with your ex for a few years but have since lived separately for a period of 12 months or over, this extra step won’t be required.
Once your Application is received, your divorce hearing will be set at a date scheduled by the Court. If all goes well, the Divorce order will be granted and finalised in one month and one day.
Want to know more?
Get to know your options and your next move. Book a consult
Allow one of our divorce lawyers to take you through the in’s and out’s of separation – and make the process a lot less daunting than you probably expected. Whatever situation, at whatever stage, you can expect honestly, informed advice tailored specifically for you.
Our available times are listed on our website so you can seamlessly schedule an appointment best for you. Click here to book Or, you can chat with us on (08) 7325 0219 each weekday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.