Family Law can be a tricky area to navigate. This is why so many people end up in a Family Court in Sydney. There are many myths surrounding family law, especially when it comes to divorce and/ or separation. This results in individuals entering proceedings with false or misinterpreted information.
It is important that you understand just the basics of family law before entering proceedings and you aren’t influenced by any incorrect information. By having some sort of expectation, you should have a better understanding of your entitlements.
Here we will address the most common family law myths and explain why they actually aren’t true:
Myth 1: Division of assets is 50/50.
While in a marriage you probably accumulated some assets, i.e. cash, house or a car. We find that many people assume that all these assets will be spilt 50/50. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Every separation is different and there are a significant amount of factors that come into play when the issue of division of assets is brought up.
The Family Law Act 1975 lists a few of the key factors:
- Previous assets before the relationship started
- The duration of relationship
- If the situations of the relationship impacted the income capacity of one party
- Individual age and health
- Children from the relationship and how much time they will spend with each respective parent
Myth 2: You will always need to go to a Family Court.
Some family law matters are quite simple, i.e. if no children and limited assets are involved. If this is the case then you don’t have to make the trip to a Family Court in Sydney. Even if the issue is slightly complex there are many different alternatives offered to resolve the issue then simply going to Court.
Sometimes you could enter with the best of intentions however the other options aren’t working and you still can’t seem to reach a conclusion. In these cases it is better to go to Court in order to get the issue dealt with as quickly as possible.
Myth 3: Child custody is 50/50.
Like myth 1, this isn’t always the case. Separation becomes significantly harder when children are involved because this is usually that area that parents fight for most. You should never assume that you will automatically be granted 50/50 custody of your children.
Every individual situation is different and if the parents can’t come to an agreement a judge might have to decide. However, usually parents can understand what is best for their child/ children and they make the right decision.
The Family Law Act explains that the children’s best interest is imperative when the Family Court produces parenting orders and decisions about their living provisions. Parents should always have equal shared responsibility in areas such as choices of schooling, health and religion. This does not, however, translate into equal custody especially if it is not in the child’s best interests.
For example, if the parents lived in different states and they wanted shared custody. This would not be in the child’s best interests because they would be at one school half the year and another for the second half of the year, which would disrupt their learning especially if they were in high school.
Myth 4: You must be divorced in order to have a property settlement.
The truth is that this isn’t necessary and both parties can discuss and come to an agreement of a property settlement during any stage of their separation. There is a difference between separation and divorce. Divorce is the official ending of a marriage.
Parties cannot apply for divorce until they have been separated from their partner for more than 1 year. Once the Court has granted your divorce, you will only have 1 year to sign and agree on your property settlement. This is why it is recommended to have your property settlement finalised before applying for divorce.
The Norton Law Group can assist you with all matters relating to Family Law. If you have to visit a Family Court in Sydney we are the team you want by your side. If you have any question please contact us, we are more than happy to help.