Documenting Separation

Documenting Separation

Article Published:
January 10, 2022

Are you going through separation?

Here are 5 legal documents you may need if you have reached agreement.

1. Binding Financial Agreement

Under Section 90 of the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”), de facto and married spouses can privately document their financial arrangements and property division agreements in a Financial Agreement document. This document relies on both parties to be transparent with one another about their property, assets, and liabilities.

It is mandatory for the validity of Financial Agreements that each party seek legal advice from separate independent lawyers about the contents of the document and its effect. There are several types of Financial Agreements under the Act, so legal advice is important to determine which type is appropriate for you.

2. Consent Orders

When an agreement is reached by de facto and/or married spouses after separation about parenting arrangements, property division or both, it can be documented in an Application for Consent Orders and filed with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (“the Court”).

If the Court finds the agreement to be just and equitable to both parties, it has the power to adopt it as Final Orders.

3. Child Support Agreement

If there are children of the relationship under the age of 18, it may be useful to seek legal advice about the potential benefits of entering a Binding Child Support Agreement. This is a private and legally binding agreement which is in force instead of an administrative assessment by the Child Support Agency (Services Australia).

Many parents opt for the private agreement as a means of documenting specific and sometimes unique financial support arrangements they may have in place for their child or children. It allows parents to make decisions about child support amounts and frequencies rather than be subject to assessments by the Child Support Agency.

4. Divorce Certificate

The Family Law Act 1975 requires married couples to be separated for twelve months before being eligible to apply to the Court for a Divorce Order, commonly referred to as a “Divorce Certificate”. This timeframe also includes periods of being separated while continuing to live in the same residence. Applications can be made by one party alone or by both parties jointly. After a Divorce Order is issued there is a limitation period that applies for parties to resolve their financial and/or property disputes.

5. Updated Will

It is important to ensure that all joint accounts, interests and affairs are updated after separation or divorce to reflect the change in personal circumstance.

Not updating your Will document after separation or divorce could have unintended consequences; it may not be reflective of your last wishes.

Want to know more about which of these documents is right for you? Contact I relate. Collaborative Family Law today to book a consultation for legal advice with one of our friendly lawyers.