Contrary to popular belief, most Australians actually do not need to go to the Family Court of Australia to make arrangements for children, parenting or property once the relationship/ marriage has dissipated.
Whilst a Divorce Order must be obtained through the Court, there is no necessary requirement for parenting or financial/ property arrangements to be decided by the Court. The process of going to Court to resolve any disputes you may have with your ex-partner is a very expensive, cumbersome and stressful situation. Even so, you may also not get the result you want.
Nevertheless, it is essential that if you have separated from your partner, it is essential that all parties come to an agreement with regards to your children and/ or property.
Did you know there are many different options separating families can take besides going to Court? Here are some of them:
Parenting arrangements without going to Court
In order to ensure the needs and best interests of the child is met, it is essential to come to an agreement with you and your ex- partner. Parenting agreements can come in the form of:
- An informal parenting agreement or a written parenting plan
This is a written record of an agreement that is signed and dated between you and your ex-partner with regards to how the care of the children will be undertaken. However, it is important to note this is not a legally enforcement document in Court.
- Consent Orders from the Court
If you and your ex-partner continue to disagree about the parenting arrangements, you may want to consider entering into consent orders which is enforceable by a formal Court or the Police (if for example, your child/ children are not returned or kidnapped)
Property arrangements without going to Court
Even if you believe you and your ex-partner can come to an agreement between yourselves to divide your property without going to Court, it is essential that you seek legal advice to ensure that your interests are well protected.
- Informal agreement
Whilst an informal parenting agreement can be entered between you and your ex-partner, they are not enforceable by the Court which can be an issue should a disagreement arises in the future. Therefore, it may make more sense to make a financial agreement or have Consent Orders entered into between the parties.
- Binding Financial agreement (BFA)
This is a written document which outlines how your property will be split with your ex-partner. Whilst a financial agreement does not need to be approved by the Court, there are strict guidelines. In order to make a financial agreement, you must also obtain legal advice.
- Consent Orders
This is a written agreement which is approved and enforceable by the Court. When a Consent Order is made, it also has the same effect as a Court Order made after a hearing. However, it is a much more time and cost-efficient method. We would highly recommend for you to seek legal advice to ensure your best interests are protected.
Please do not hesitate to contact Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors on (02) 8917 8700 or by email to [email protected] to discuss your legal avenues!