by Kiarah Grace Kelly
As Family Lawyers we meet people at all stages of their Family Law matters; some come sure that their matter won’t be able to resolve without lawyers getting involved, some need guidance to help them DIY their family law matter. If you’re in the camp that’s looking for a nudge in the right direction but think you’ve mostly got it covered, the rest of this article is for you!
Say you’re in a Lawyer’s office because you’ve recently separated and you need to know what to do next, it’s pretty likely that you’re feeling-
- that you need legal advice just in case there’s something you’re missing and, even though things seem mostly okay between you and your ex, you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by doing the ‘wrong thing’ without knowing;
- that you’ve got a good idea about how you’d like to see your assets divided, you just don’t know how to pitch that to your ex; and
- totally overwhelmed by everything you’ve been reading online and the opinions of the seemingly-now-hundreds of people that you know that have had a dreadful divorce.
If you resonate with these things it’s very likely a visit to my office would result in me prescribing you to go off and attempt a difficult conversation. If you come to me with a similar story to this– in that you’re pretty confident you can reach an agreement with your ex but you’re not sure how, there’s every chance I’m going to recommend you give it a go! To do that, you need my secret tip, the one question you need to ask your ex which could settle your divorce-
Is there any reason our assets and liabilities shouldn’t be divided equally?
If you sit down at your kitchen table and ask each other this one question, it’s going to flesh out a whole lot- maybe one of you came in with significant assets at the outset of your relationship, maybe one of your parents helped you both out a lot throughout your time together, maybe one of you faces a less secure financial future than the other? Maybe there’s no reasons and maybe you both have always felt your property should be divided equally. I bet these are things you’ve already thought about anyway.
The key takeaway here is to have a conversation, there’s very little to lose here. I’d struggle to find a Family Lawyer who’d be cross with their new client if they attempted a kitchen table discussion just like this one. With so little to lose, you actually stand to gain a whole lot- an understanding of how you each reflect on your relationship, the start of a conversation about what you each want from a property settlement, how far apart your goals are, and maybe just maybe an agreement.
The trick to Family Law (well, it’s not a trick at all, it’s a beautiful thing!) is that you can do absolutely anything by agreement. A good Family Lawyer will move mountains to formalise an agreement reached, this simple trick could help you get the hard part out of the way.
There is always a strict legal answer to this based on principles of the Family Law Act, some of them are mentioned above but a lot of them aren’t. If you take rundown of the agreement you’ve reached to a Family Lawyer they will let you know if the agreement you’ve reached is hugely outside the realm of what an appropriate legal outcome is. I say this as I really do believe you can give it your all to these preliminary kitchen table discussions in the comfort that you can find a legal advisor later down the track if you need to.
The content of this article is general legal information only. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain advice specific to your family.
If you have any concerns about these issues, please get in touch with me (or another member of our fantastic team at Brisbane Family Law Centre) on (07) 3862 1955 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.