What You Should Know Before You Engage Family Lawyers in Sydney

Signing of Certificate of Divorce


Conflicts that result from the breakdown of any long-term adult relationship are incredibly complex and are usually never black and white affairs. They involve a high degree of emotional baggage and can often result in vindictive decision making from bitter ex-partners that usually manifest on both sides of the issue.

Those living in metropolitan New South Wales and dealing with these issues will normally choose to engage with professional family lawyers in Sydney in order to help them transcended their emotions and reach an ideal legal outcome. A solicitor who specializes in issue of divorce, child custody and the division of marital assets is normally a close ally of people going through these situations and seeks to cut through all of the high-strung emotions and work with the legal realities at hand.

However, before you engage to a family lawyer in Sydney there are several things that you should probably be aware of so that you can have the best working relationship possible and in turn give you the best chance of achieving the legal result you are seeking. Let’s take a look at a few things you should know about prior to engaging to some professional family lawyers in Sydney.


division of marital assets


Understanding the concept of ‘no-fault divorce’

Before working with a family lawyer in Sydney you should obviously acknowledge the fact they are operating under Australian law and therefore you should try to become familiar with legal concepts unique to our geographic region. In the case of relationship breakdown, one of these concepts is known as ‘no –fault divorce’.

As the name implies, no-fault divorce refers to a legal precedent in which it is decided that no party can be held responsible for the events that led to the divorce. This is primarily to defeat old-hat notions that there must be an issue like adultery or abandonment to justify a divorce.

It also works to ensure that issues like infidelity are not used as legal ammunition in order to achieve particular outcomes.

For example, in Australia it would not be legal for a wife to demand a greater share of marital assets because her husband was unfaithful. Because adultery is not a crime in Australia it would not be considered fair for it to be used as a means of determining the outcome of a civil case.

This means that the decision for a couple to divorce can’t be anchored on one parties supposed inadequacy as a partner and instead must be related to the couple’s inability to continue a successful relationship. While issues like infidelity are valid as justification to get a divorce, the concept of no-fault divorce prevents it from being used to achieve a legal outcome.


Understanding ‘separation under one roof’


While in most marital separations it’s common for one party to move out of the shared residence, this is not always financially convenient or even possible in some circumstances. In these kinds of cases, separating couples will need to go to added lengths to demonstrate to the court that they are truly no longer in a functioning relationship and this is an area that any a reliable family lawyer in Sydney should be able to assist in.

This is known as proving ‘separation under one roof’.

This usually means one party moving to a spare room and sleeping in a separate bed which is symbolic of the end of any sexual relationship. In these cases, both parties will usually need to invoke the testimony of friends and relatives who can confirm that any romantic or sexual relationship has functionally ceased, even if the couple is sharing utilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.


Understanding the legal rights of children in a separation

Another thing that’s important to understand before soliciting the services of family lawyers in Sydney is the manner in which the legal rights of any children are handled. Normally, the ultimate fate of children in a separation is one of the most contentious issues as both parties seek custody of their children.

This contention can often result in opposing parties being incredibly vindictive towards one another and even in some cases inventing claims of child abuse in order to destroy the other party’s chances of winning custody. The court system in Australia is extremely cautious of attempts by disputing parties to manipulate this process of child custody and will always defer to whatever course of action it believes is in the child’s best interests.

When determining the best interests of the child the court will normally look at which parent is has functioned as the child’s primary caregiver (most often the mother as the father is usually in full-time work) and will try to ensure that the child’s existing lifestyle is maintained. This means ensuring that the child continues to get the same quality of education and that; on the whole, the practical advancement of their life is minimally affected by the separation of their parents.

Older children, especially teenagers who have a more nuanced understanding of the circumstances, are given more autonomy by the court in terms of determining which parent they want to have custody of them. Younger children are normally not considered to have the mental maturity in order to come to decision that is in their best interests.

The above information is just some of what you should understand before engaging family lawyers in Sydney. There are still many more legal concepts that you would benefit from studying before soliciting the help of a family lawyer in Sydney.