When couples separate it is important to make arrangements about the distribution of property, and if there are children involved then arrangements should be made about who the children will live with, and when and where the other parent will spend time with the children.
Many separated parents can reach agreement about these issues and can and put this into effect without legal advice and without signing any formal documents.
However, this can be very risky because it is not always the case that the parties will continue to agree on these issues or will stick with the plan. People can and do change their mind, and things don’t always remain friendly. Down the track and sometimes many months or even years after an informal agreement is reached, you and your ex-partner may no longer agree about the arrangements for the children and/or the division of property.
This can lead to one person asking for more assets from the other, or there can be conflict about parenting arrangements. Your ex-partner may decide that they have not received enough in the agreement that you previously had. They may change their mind about who the children should live with or one parent may develop concerns about their ex-partner’s ability to look after the children.
If you don’t have formal arrangements in place and the relationship between the separated people becomes unfriendly, this can lead to severe stress and anxiety on a financial and emotional level, sometimes at a time long after agreements have been made. This is why it is better to see a solicitor to make the arrangements legal, binding and lasting.
If you do not have a formal agreement in place which is approved by the Court and you die, your ex-partner can make a claim on your estate, even if they have already received assets from you when you first broke up.
If you have separated or are thinking about it, and would like advice in relation to your entitlements in a property settlement or arrangements for children or if you would like more information about family law matters in general, please contact us to arrange an appointment.
Lisa Cooke-Dolan – Marriott Oliver Solicitors Pty Ltd – 2016