Just sign here …

by Natasha Heathcote on December 20, 2015

Natasha Heathcote

Is it all as simple as it seems?

If you watch Winners and Losers, an Australian TV show, you might think that getting a divorce and obtaining final parenting and property Orders between you and your spouse is simply a matter of signing a few documents in the heat of the moment, like Bridget in the show.

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but property settlement and finalising parenting matters is just not that simple.

In the show, Bridget and Wes have been married for several years and have a three-year-old daughter Olivia. Bridget and Wes have been going through a rough patch and Bridget decided to separate. Bridget has contacted their solicitor friend, whom she works with, and proceeds to sign a bundle of documents to file for a divorce and to seek sole “custody” of Olivia, and Orders “splitting” their assets.

Despite the TV show being set in Melbourne Australia the reality is much different.

In Australia you must be separated for period of at least 12 months prior to filing for a divorce. In TV land they have only been separated a couple of weeks!

Upon receipt of a Divorce Order each party may then remarry. A Divorce in Australia does not finalise matters in relation to parenting or property issues between you and your spouse.

To make arrangements regarding children and property issues requires either an agreement with your former spouse or an application to the Court outlining the Orders you seek and providing evidence to support your application.

Some couples are able to come to an agreement amicably to finalise their parenting and property issues; whether alone, through the assistance of lawyers or mediation. Other couples are quite acrimonious and may require a Judge to make a decision for them.

If you find yourself in need of advice following the recent breakdown of your marriage, please do not hesitate to contact us at Armstrong Legal.

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