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Family Lawyers Newcastle

We understand the emotional, mental and financial strain the breakdown of a family unit has on an individual. It’s generally a time of frustration, anger and sadness all at once, when you need to make arrangements for moving forward in life. Coutts boasts an experienced team of Family Lawyers including an accredited specialist, who approaches every matter with compassion, empathy and understanding.

Speak With Our Newcastle Family Law Experts

Expert advice on family law from understanding, compassionate professionals is essential in getting you through this period. That’s what our Newcastle Family Law team provides in all of the family law areas we briefly outline below.

Separation Lawyers Newcastle

Separation can be a complicated and difficult process. Often, the parties to separation are left trying to reach an agreement regarding property, children or both. If the separation results in a divorce proceeding, the parties will need to show evidence that they have physically and financially separated, even if they continue to live under the same roof.

Seek legal advice if you’re unsure of this distinction, or how to demonstrate it with evidence.

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Divorce Lawyers Sydney, Wollongong, Parramatta, Narellan

Divorce Lawyers Newcastle

To be eligible to apply for divorce, you must first show that you were legally married, that the union has broken down irretrievably, and that you’ve been separated from your ex-partner for a period of at least 12 months. You must also show there’s no prospect of reconciling.

In addition, to be eligible to apply for divorce in Australia, one of the parties must satisfy the following criteria at the time of filing the application: Be an Australian citizen, permanently live in Australia, be an ordinarily resident in Australia or have been for a year prior to the filing of the application.

You can apply for divorce jointly or on your own. There are some legal differences if making the application solely, so legal guidance should be sought before making this decision.

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Parenting After Separation Newcastle

Working out arrangements for raising children from a relationship that has broken down is one of the most difficult aspects of separation and divorce. Under the Family Law Act, couples must undertake dispute resolution (with some exceptions) before seeking orders from the court about parenting issues.

A court’s main priority under the Act is in the best interests of the child/ren. This includes an assessment of a number of factors, including the benefit of the child/ren having a meaningful relationship with both parents, the effect of any change in living arrangements on the children, and depending on the age of the children, the wishes of the child.

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Parenting After Separation in Wollongong Lawyers
Parenting Lawyers Wollongong

Parenting Lawyers Newcastle

Under the Family Law Act, all couples are required to attempt to resolve parenting matters outside of Court. The Act requires that all parties attend mediation with a Family Dispute Resolution service before they can go to court.

Lawyers need to look at all information prior to assessing what is right for the child/ren. However, the main priority is always what is in the best interest of the child/ren. When determining what is in a child’s best interests, the following things are generally assessed: The benefit of a child having a meaningful relationship with both parents, ensuring the child/ren are prevented from harm/family violence, the effects of any change in living arrangements and the lifestyle, maturity and background of both children and parents.

Depending on the age of the child/ren, their wishes can also be taken into consideration.

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Child Relocation Lawyers Newcastle

When one parent wishes to move a child to a place that is not convenient for the other parent, conflict can often be the result. This is a complex matter and requires specialist legal advice. The parent who wishes to move can apply to the court for relocation orders. The court will consider whether moving would be detrimental to the child and their relationship with the other parent.

Relocating a child out of Australia is an even more complex issue, potentially involving international law provisions, and expert legal guidance from Family Lawyers in Newcastle should be considered.

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Child Relocation Lawyers Wollongong
Child Recovery Orders Wollongong Lawyers

Child Recovery Orders Newcastle

Where one parent removes a child without the consent of the other parent or fails to return a child at an agreed time, recovery orders can be applied for from the Court and heard urgently if required. These orders can also be used to prevent one parent from relocating a child to an overseas location.

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Binding Child Support Agreements Newcastle

These agreements are reached between separated or divorced parents allowing them to flexibly work out the best financial arrangement for supporting the raising of their children. An agreement may provide for the main ‘breadwinning’ parent to pay periodic and non-periodic payments to the primary caregiving parent for the purposes of feeding and clothing a child, as well as for ad hoc expenses such as school costs, medical and dental treatment, and entertainment.

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Binding Financial Agreements Lawyers Wollongong

Binding Financial Agreements Newcastle

These agreements exist outside the family law system and act like a contract between a married or de facto couple. They are sometimes commonly referred to as ‘pre-nups’. They can be entered into before, during or even after a relationship, and provide detail on how the property and financial assets of the parties (as well as dealing with superannuation, debts and maintenance) will be divided if and when the relationship ends.

It’s very important that legal advice is sought before either creating or signing a binding financial agreement, to prevent costly, lengthy and stressful legal action should the terms of the agreement later be challenged by one party.

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Property Settlements After Separation Newcastle

There are a number of steps to be worked through when it comes time for an ex-couple to fairly divide assets from a relationship. Identifying what items should be considered as part of the asset pool from the relationship is the first step. This may comprise the family home, investment properties, savings and investment accounts, shares, superannuation, vehicles/vessels, business interests, inheritances, debts and other liabilities.

Next, it must be worked on what each party contributed to the relationship, financially but also contributions of time and effort in homemaking and/or child-rearing. The court then considers the future needs of each party and what division would be ‘fair and equitable’ in the circumstances.

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Property Settlements After Separation Lawyers Wollongong
Settling Matters Outside of Court Wollongong Lawyers

Settling Matters Outside of Court Newcastle

Going to Court should be a last resort in Family Law matters. Our Newcastle Family Lawyers can help you avoid the stress and cost of legal action by helping you achieve an out-of-court settlement with your former partner.

Family Law matters can be very taxing on your time and your emotions. At Coutts Newcastle, we’ll take the stress and worry out of helping you achieve a resolution to your Family Law matter.

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Newcastle Family Lawyers FAQs

If you’re thinking of going through separation or divorce, our Newcastle family lawyers can help and guide you through the procedure without wading through all of the technical requirements for seeking a divorce.

Before a family court would consider granting you a divorce, you must usually address the following issues:

Residency

  • Are you a citizen of Australia?
  • Do you consider Australia to be your home?
  • Have you spent the previous 12 months in Australia?

Relationship

  • Have you been married for a minimum of two years?
  • Have you been separated for a minimum of a year?
  • Is your marriage on the rocks, and there’s no way you’ll ever get back together?

Separation under one roof

This might count towards your separation time if you and your partner live separately under one roof. However, significant evidentiary requirements must be met before a family court may accept “separation under one roof.”

Children

  • Do you have any kids under the age of 18?
  • Is there a suitable arrangement in place to accommodate them?

In Australia, divorce is a “no-fault” process.

It’s important to know that “fault” has no bearing on whether or not a divorce is granted. This has been the situation since 1975 when the Family Law Act was passed.

If you are seeking to keep the former family home, you will usually need to pay the other person to ‘buy them out’. How much you pay them depends on several factors but is usually an amount that is agreed upon between the parties or ordered by the court.

It is imperative to have your finances sorted out before you enter into discussions about buying the other party out. You should make sure that you have approval from your bank to take over the mortgage and pay the other person out. We recommend that you speak to your bank or broker as soon as possible so that you know what your borrowing capacity is.

Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by a party to a marriage to their husband or wife (or their former husband or wife) or their previous de facto partner in circumstances where the other party is not able to adequately support themselves.

In assessing whether you are entitled to spousal maintenance, many factors need to be considered such as the age and health of parties, each parties income, property and financial resources, earning capacity and whether the relationship has impacted a parties capacity to earn an income.

You are not entitled to maintenance if you re-marry. If you start a new de facto relationship the court will consider the financial relationship between yourself and your new de facto partner before awarding spousal maintenance.

Your initial consultation with Coutts is crucial. We’ll sit down with you and listen to your story and learn about your current family situation, your financial condition, and what you want to accomplish.

We then put up a written document that gives you choices and advice on how to proceed with your case. We lay out how much we estimate your case to cost and what your next steps will be if you choose to work with Coutts.

Book an appointment with a Family Lawyer in Newcastle today.

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