Understanding the separation process

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As a leading family law practice on the Gold Coast, MCG Legal know just how difficult the divorce process can be for our clients. When a relationship breaks down, understanding the process will help you to navigate the various stages. At MCG Legal, we have actually been through it ourselves, so have the personal experience of going through the stages of the process. It is important to approach each stage and the way you think about the process in the right way, but we believe that first, you need to understand it.

There are three main stages to the separation and divorce process. It is important to seek help as early as possible. Everyone copes with the various stages in different ways and the point of seeking help early is so you can make decisions based on good information.

Stage 1 – Separation

The first step in the process is the separation. It is important to understand that you can still be living under the same roof and be legally separated, but separation usually occurs when one of the parties leaves the home. You don’t have to apply to the court or fill out any forms, however, you may need to inform Centrelink and Medicare, for example. You will also need to make some decisions at this stage about practical issues concerning your family – How will debts be paid? What will you do about your joint bank accounts? How will you sort our living arrangements for your children?

Stage 2 – Financial Settlements and Parenting Arrangements

Like many couples, you and your partner have likely accumulated assets during your relationship. The quickest and cheapest way to settle financial and parenting arrangements is by agreement. You should always try to sort out these issues without any court intervention and the most effective way to distribute the matrimonial assets and sort out parenting arrangement is through a binding financial agreement, or consent orders. These orders are separate to the actual divorce.

We recommend attempting to resolve these matters through mediation. A “successful” mediation generally involves both parties giving ground and walking away from the mediation “sharing the pain”. However, if you are unable to do so, you may need to go to court to resolve your financial and parenting disputes.

Stage 3 – Divorce

In order to apply for a divorce, you and your partner must have been separated for at least 12 months. A divorce application can be made by either party individually or by both parties jointly. When a sole divorce application is filed, it is essential that the documents are served on your partner in accordance with the rules of the Court. If all goes well, you may not have to attend Court.

Nonetheless, going through a divorce can be stressful, so having a trusted legal advisor providing you with support is important.  MCG Legal is here to provide you with that support.

At MCG Legal we have a number of legal representatives who are able to assist in resolving your family law matters. If you have any questions, please contact MCG Legal for more information or call us on (07) 5591 2222.

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