Top Divorce Lawyers in Newcastle and Hunter Region
Burke Mead Lawyers are experienced Newcastle divorce lawyers assisting clients in a range of family law matters, including divorce and separation.
Our family-focused legal services are delivered by a team of expert family lawyers, whose experience with family law court proceedings and knowledge of divorce will assist in guiding you and your family to the most beneficial resolution.
Whether you are dealing with a straight-forward separation or need support with more complex circumstances, our team can offer guidance to resolve family law matters such as separation, filing for divorce, parenting and custody arrangements, spousal maintenance, child support, property settlement and other binding financial agreements, and more.
For practical legal advice, contact Burke Mead Lawyers about a divorce consultation today.
The Benefits of Legal Representation When Seeking a Divorce
Legal representation in family law matters is extremely beneficial, as family lawyers specialise in mediation and negotiation to resolve any family law disputes, and Burke Mead Lawyers are some of the top family lawyers in Newcastle.
The end of a marriage is not an easy decision to make and we pride ourselves on handling this difficult time with clarity, sensitivity and with a focus on the needs of your family moving forward.
Our conscientious team will work with you every step of the way to ensure a resolution that benefits your family and minimises the financial and emotional toll often associated with divorce and separation.
With experienced and caring legal representation, our team can assist with:
- Marriage and de facto relationship breakdowns
- Spousal maintenance and child support, and other types of binding financial agreements
- Children and parenting arrangements, such as child custody and parenting orders
- Property settlement, including home and contents, family trusts and SMSF, and assets related to businesses
- Matters where allegations have been made about family violence or other risk issues
- Appealing court decisions
How the Divorce Process Works
The divorce process in NSW can be a complicated and involved process. To legally end your marriage you will need to apply (can be a sole or joint application) to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for a divorce and provide a variety of documentation and evidence to support the application.
You will need to provide the following:
- Proof of Australia citizenship, permanent residency, or living in Australia for at least 12 months (required before applying for a divorce)
- Marriage certification or equivalent documentation to prove you have a valid marriage
- Proof that the marriage has broken down beyond reconciliation and there is no chance that you and your spouse will get back together
- Your separation date, as you must be separated for 12 months before applying for divorce
- Show that proper arrangements have been made for the care of dependents or show there are circumstance that warrant making the divorce order even if the Court is not satisfied that care arrangements have been made (only applies if you have children under the age of 18)
The process of divorce includes the following steps:
- Complete the divorce application online
- Serve the application to your spouse if you are making a sole application at least 28 days before the hearing date (you do not need to serve any documents to your spouse if you made a joint application)
- File the service documents, which is proof to the court that your spouse has been served (if applicable)
- Attend a court hearing if you have children under the age of 18 or are asking the Court to make other orders about service (you do not have to attend a court hearing if you made a joint application, have no dependents, or have been married less than 2 years)
- The Court makes it final decision/s which can include granting your divorce, grant your divorce without finalising it until proper arrangements are made for dependents, adjourn your case (postpone it if the Court requires more evidence or information), or dismiss your application.
To learn more about the divorce process and how to proceed in relation to your unique circumstances, contact Burke Mead’s experienced family lawyers.
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Divorce Law FAQs
Do you really need a divorce lawyer? If by ‘need’, you mean ‘is it required to proceed with a divorce?’ then the answer is no.
However, if you want the proceedings to happen as quickly and painlessly as possible, then the answer is yes, you will want to work with a divorce lawyer. Especially in cases where the separation is less amicable, having an objective legal expert on your side can be extremely useful.
There are people who do not use a lawyer when getting a divorce, especially if the divorce is straightforward and amicable. However, it is worth noting that a divorce order only ends your marriage and does not include arrangements for your children or your finances moving forward post-divorce. Experienced family lawyers, like Burke Mead Lawyers, can assist you with these additional family law proceedings.
Depending on the complexity of your circumstances, the amicability of the parties separating and the experience of the family lawyers you’re working with, the time it takes to complete divorce proceedings (including child custody and property settlement) can vary.
The minimum amount of time you could reasonably expect is approximately 4 months, but it could take as long as 18 months to resolve. However, how long your divorce will take will depend on your unique needs, as no two cases are the same, which is why it’s best to work with an experienced divorce lawyer.
To prepare for a divorce consultation, you should try to gather as much information and details on the following:
-Yourself – identification documents, work history and financial details
-Your spouse – identification details, work history and financial details
-Dependents – details relating to your dependents
-Marriage details – legal documents, dates of marriage and separation, financial assets, businesses, superannuation, etc.
Essentially, you’ll want to bring anything that might seem relevant that refers to a date, time, finance, or logistic of your marriage and the individuals affected by your marriage (such as children), and any existing arrangements that have been made since separating. Read more on preparing for your legal consultation.
‘Irreconcilable differences’ is the only ground for divorce in Australia and must be evidenced by a period of not less than 12 months’ separation. To file an application for divorce you must prove to the court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that suitable arrangements are in place for the children of the marriage.
You can apply for a “no fault divorce” under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), which allows an individual to divorce their spouse without a provable reason. This means that either one of the spouses must simply satisfy a Registrar of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia of the requirements for divorce for it to be granted. To do this you must “satisfy the Court that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months, and there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming married life. It is possible to live together in the same home and still be separated. This is known as being separated but living under one roof.” (FCFCOA)
It is easier if both parties sign the Divorce Application. It is also worth noting, that if you make a joint application, you do not need to serve documents on the other party and court attendance will not be required.
However, if you are applying for divorce as a sole applicant, then you will need to serve a copy of the application to your spouse, who will then need to file a Response to Divorce stating whether they agree with the application for divorce or not. If they don’t agree or make it difficult to serve papers to them, this process can take much longer. In these circumstances it is vital to work with an experienced divorce lawyer.
Superannuation is included as part of your property and assets when it comes to divorce and can be claimed after a divorce. However, there is a time limit from the date of separation – one year after the divorce order is finalised. For de facto couples, this limit is up until two years after the breakdown of the relationship.
Much like the average time a divorce will take, the average cost of a divorce (including custody and property settlement) in Australia can also vary depending on the complexity of your needs and the amiability of the parties. Some costs you can expect include:
-Filing Fee – A legal divorce requires an Application for Divorce to be filed with the Court, which is $930 (correct as of July 2020). However, if you need to go through the Court for custody and property settlement, the cost can become quite expensive, costing thousands (tens of thousands even) of dollars. This is why it’s best to work with a specialist divorce lawyer, like BurkeMead Lawyers, who are experienced in mediation and negotiation.
-Solicitor Fees – Most divorce lawyers have an hourly rate which can vary between $300 to $500 per hour, depending on their experience and other factors.
The end cost of completing divorce proceedings can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the case and the amiability of the parties involved.
If you are working with a divorce lawyer, they can file your application for you. If you are not working with a professional, you can apply for divorce online and there are two options: you can apply on your own (sole application) or with your spouse (joint application). You will need to complete and print your application and sign the Affidavit for eFiling Application (Divorce) in front of a solicitor or Justice of the Peace.
Yes, you can file for divorce while living in the same house as your spouse, but you do need to prove you have been separated for at least 12 months. If you and your spouse choose to remain separated under one roof, you should clearly define what the terms of your relationship are for the divorce proceedings. You do not need to wait to divorce before finalising custody and property settlements, you can start that process immediately after separation.
One of the most common concerns people have prior to and during divorce proceedings is how the division of assets will be handled. In Australia, there is no 50-50 split rule to determine how the assets are divided in a divorce. This is negotiated during proceedings (if you are including property settlement and binding financial agreements as part of the divorce proceedings) and the division can be influenced by a variety of things, including legal documentation such as a pre-nuptial agreement, individual/financial contributions and more.
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