Untying the Knot: Navigating Divorce and Separation Amidst Rising Costs

Untying the Knot: Navigating Divorce and Separation Amidst Rising Costs In an era characterized by escalating living costs and housing crises, the financial toll of divorce or separation in Australia has taken on new significance. Couples are grappling with the reality that parting ways might not just cost them emotionally, but financially as well. As a result, a growing trend has emerged: couples who choose to remain living together despite their decision to separate. This article delves into the dynamics of this unique situation and provides guidance on how to mitigate family law costs during divorce or separation. As divorce rates continue to be a significant aspect of contemporary society, understanding the factors that influence the cost of divorce in Australia is crucial. The insights provided by The Guardian's article shed light on the complexities of divorce expenses, ranging from legal fees to court charges and property division. While divorce is undoubtedly an emotionally challenging process, being aware of the financial aspects and potential avenues for cost reduction can help individuals navigate this challenging chapter with greater clarity and preparedness. Whether opting for legal representation or pursuing alternative dispute resolution methods, individuals can approach divorce proceedings with a better understanding of the potential financial implications. Tips to Keep Your Family Law Costs Down Communication and Mediation: Open dialogue and effective communication can lead to better negotiation outcomes, potentially avoiding costly court battles. Mediation provides a platform for couples to collaborate on decisions related to property division, child custody, and financial arrangements. Consulting Professionals: Seeking advice from family law attorneys and financial advisors can help couples understand their legal rights, obligations, and potential financial impacts. Their expertise can lead to more informed decisions, potentially saving both time and money. Alternative Dispute Resolution: Collaborative divorce, arbitration, and other alternative dispute resolution methods can streamline the separation process, reducing legal fees and court expenses. Agreeable Settlements: Striving for mutually acceptable settlements can alleviate the need for protracted legal proceedings. Couples can explore fair compromises that address the interests of both parties. Documentation: Organizing and providing accurate financial documentation, including assets, debts, and income, can expedite the legal process and prevent unnecessary disputes. Balance Sheet of Assets and Debts: Compile a comprehensive list of assets, such as property, vehicles, investments, and debts, including mortgages, loans, and credit card balances. Financial Support: Determine child support and spousal maintenance arrangements in accordance with Australian family law guidelines. Ensuring financial stability for both parties is crucial. Property Division: Evaluate property ownership, mortgages, and equity distribution. Seek legal advice to understand the most equitable approach to dividing marital assets. The most importance part of Property Division is realising and setting both achievable and manageable expectations when it comes to possible divisions of an overall property pool. Parenting Arrangements: Establish clear and practical arrangements for child custody, visitation, and support. Focusing on the children's best interest’s in this respect is paramount. Updating Legal Documents: Revise wills, beneficiary designations, and other legal documents that may require amendments due to [...]

2023-08-24T15:19:40+10:00August 24th, 2023|Family Law|

Woman Forced to Give Jacktpot to Husband in Divorce

Navigating Lotto Winnings and Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide In a twist of fate, winning the lottery can be both a dream come true and a life-altering event. But what happens when you win the lottery after a divorce or de facto separation? And how are family contributions, windfalls, and lottery gains treated during property settlement proceedings? reports that a woman in California was ordered by the Court to give her ex-husband the entirety of her lottery winnings after failing to disclose the windfall in her property settlement. In 1996, after 25 years of Marriage to Mr Thomas Rossie, Mrs Denise Rossi won $3.1 million US dollars ($4.6 million AUS dollars) the lottery and eleven days later filed for divorce. Denise did not mention the winnings to her ex-husband and failed to disclose the windfall of $3.1 million in their property settlement. Two years following the property settlement, Mr Rossie came to know of his ex-wife’s lottery winnings and obtained a Court ordered injunction. Mr Rossie filed in Court and successfully obtained an order that Denise pay her ex husband the entirely of her winnings back in instalments. In this article, we will explore these questions and provide you with insights on handling lottery winnings during or after divorce. Q: What Happens if I Win the Lottery after Separation from my Spouse or Defacto Partner - How Do Family Law Property Proceedings Actually Work Winning the lottery can be an exhilarating experience, but it may also bring about complications, especially if you are going through a family law property settlement. 1. Do I Have a Duty to Disclose My Lottery Winnings? Similar to the US, parties to a property settlement in Australia have an obligation to make full and frank financial disclosure.[1] This generally includes bank statements, pay slips, tax returns and disclosure of any windfalls. A consequence of non-disclosure during proceedings, the party who fails to disclosure documents may be held guilty of contempt for not disclosing the document and may be ordered to pay the other party’s costs.[2] Further, the Court the Court may stay or dismiss all or part of a party’s case who fails to disclose documents.[3] 2. How are Family Contributions during the Relationship Important? During marital or de facto separation proceedings, Courts will often consider the contributions made by each spouse or partner to the family during the relationship.[4] This includes both financial contributions, such as income earned, as well as non-financial contributions, such as caring for the home or raising children.[5] Timing is of particular importance to a determination of contributions.[6] Contributions made at the beginning are typically given less weight than contributions made towards the end of the relationship.[7] In addition to contributions of parties to the relationship, a Court must also be satisfied that an Order is just and equitable.[8] Q: How are Windfalls, and Lottery Gains treated in Family Law Property Proceedings – What Does It All Mean? 1. Q: What if I Win Big Before Separation? A windfall gain [...]

2023-08-11T12:41:26+10:00August 11th, 2023|Family Law, Litigation, Wills & Estates|

Friends with Benefits Inherit

Friends with Benefits to Inherit We’ve all seen a movie like ‘No Strings Attached’ starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, where friends try to have their cake and eat it by extending their relationship to the bedroom while trying to let feelings interfere with the friendship.  As it is in real life, casual relationships or ‘friends with benefits’ can become messy socially, but not many people think about the legal ramifications that can play out. In this article, we will look at what happens when a friend who was receiving ‘physical benefits’ does not benefit financially from their lover’s estate when they die under a Will. Challenging An Estate When it comes to inheriting property upon the death of a loved one, the relevant legislation in Queensland entitles a family member or spouse to make a claim for a distribution from the estate if the Will gives them less than they believe that they deserve or if they are left out entirely. The legislation also grants de facto partners the same inheritance rights as legally married couples, with the ‘de facto’ meaning a relationship between two people, from either the same or opposite sex, which lasts for a period of two years or more and being up until the deceased’s death. However, does a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship qualify as a de facto relationship, thus allowing the surviving ‘friend’ to make a claim against their lover’s estate? What the court will consider? The Courts have had a few opportunity to consider this modern type of relationship and have largely interpreted them on a case-by-case basis.  Nevertheless, when presented with this question, the court will consider among other things: the length of the relationship; the nature and extent of common residence; and whether there was or had been a sexual relationship. Recent Cases Interestingly, the NSW Supreme Court was recently tasked with considering a family provision application based on a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship in the recent case of Estate of Zaheer. In this case, the presiding judge, Justice Hallen, concluded that ‘friends with benefits’ meant “a friend with whom one has an occasional and non-committal sexual relationship”.  However, the crux of the dispute came down to the question of whether the friends with benefits relationship could also be interpreted at the higher threshold of a de facto relationship.  In the end, Justice Hallen ruled that the applicant should receive 15 percent of the deceased’s estate on the basis that the friends with benefits relationship had certain aspects of a de facto relationship arrangement, namely the fact it lasted up until the deceased’s death. In another case, the Estate of HRA deceased, the Court made similar interpretations with the key takeaway being just how important it is that relationship lasted up until the death of the deceased person – though it did not have to be physical up until the death.  However, in this matter, this could not be established after it was found that the last real contact the [...]

2023-08-03T13:32:04+10:00August 3rd, 2023|Family Law, Wills & Estates|

Divorce Lawyer shares Opinion on Common Reason Working Parents Divorce

A leading US divorce lawyer has lifted the lid on why he thinks many couples hit the rocks when they becoming working parents - saying men simply don't pull their weight when they're at home. He says couples who both have pressurised jobs - and children to care for - often see their relationships fall apart because women are still expected to take on many of the domestic duties. Family Law Professional Family law is a highly emotional and complex area of law where families navigate through parenting, property and relationships disputes.​ During these times, you need a competent and experienced family law lawyers who understands what you are going through, thinks carefully and proactively on your behalf and knows how to represent you for the best possible outcome.​ If you want to understand your rights, contact Salerno Law and discover why we are Gold Coast’s best family lawyers. TODAY provides the following NO 1 REASON WHY WORKING PARENTS ARE CALLING IT QUITS

2023-05-17T11:54:35+10:00May 17th, 2023|Family Law|

My X is Delaying Property Settlement – How to avoid and what to do

My X is Delaying Property Settlement | How to avoid and what to do... Separating from your partner is a difficult task which often carries significant heartbreak and emotional stresses. Dealing with these tensions whilst navigating the difficulties involved in a property settlement is by no means a simple task. A significant contributor to the stresses involved is a delay to the property settlement, which involves the division of the parties assets. Assets include property, money, furniture, superannuation, stocks & cryptocurrencies, etc. There is a multitude of reasons why a property settlement can be delayed, which often has negative implications emotionally and financially to both parties. Reasons for delay in property settlement may include: • parties failing to agree on a settlement; • parties failing to provide financial disclosure; • parties disputing the value of an asset; • parties disagreeing on contributions; • parties attempting to hide assets; • parties refusing to enter negotiations; and • parties failing to participate in the process entirely. Unrepresented parties may find it difficult to navigate the complexities of family law and property settlement. Even where parties agree to the distribution of their assets in a property settlement, separated parties should finalise their property settlement by way of Financial Agreement or Consent Orders. Parties who do not finalise their property settlement run the risk of having their ex-partner renegotiating a new property settlement or filing an application in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for property orders. How to accelerate your property settlement: Without representation, parties often don’t appreciate the difficulties involved in progressing and finalising their property settlements. The following can be done to expedite a property settlement: • Advise your ex-partner that you intend on finalising the property matters and invite them to propose what they believe to be a just and equitable property division • Negotiate • Undertake mediation • Obtain legal advice from a family lawyer • File an Application in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (must file within 12 months from the date of your divorce or 24 months from the date of separation for de facto cases. Whether it be by agreement or court ordered, Salerno Law’s family lawyer are experienced in all aspects of property settlements. During these times, you need a competent and experienced family law lawyers who understands what you are going through, thinks carefully and proactively on your behalf and knows how to represent you for the best possible outcome. If you want to understand your rights, contact Salerno Law and discover why we are Gold Coast’s best family lawyers. Tyrone Boucher - Salerno Law

2023-02-02T12:43:42+10:00January 25th, 2023|Family Law|

How long do you have to be separated before filing for divorce?

In Australia, you must satisfy the threshold provided under Part VI of the Family Law Act 1975 to file an Application for Divorce in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. That being, that: - The marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the court is satisfied that there is no reasonable likelihood of cohabitation; and - That you have been separated for a minimum of 12 months. An Application for Divorce can be filed at any time following the relevant 12-month time limit. What if we were separated, but still living under the same roof? If you were separated and living apart under the same roof, an affidavit must be provided in support of the Application providing details of the living situation and evidence as to how the parties had separated (i.e living in separate rooms, separating finances, etc.). A supporting affidavit should also be provided from a friend or family member who was aware of your separation and living situation. If the Court is not satisfied that you have been separated for 12 months, they may withdraw your Application for Divorce. How to file an Application for Divorce An Application for Divorce can be filed: - Solely; or - Jointly with your husband/wife. If a Sole Application is filed, the sealed copy (stamped by the court), must be personally served upon your husband/wife at least 28 days prior to the court event, or to their lawyers if represented. If a Joint Application is filed, an Affidavit of eFIling must be signed by both parties and filed with the court. An Application for Divorce requires your Marriage Certificate and details of any other orders made in relation to property or children matters and a filing fee is applicable. Responding/Objecting to a Divorce The only grounds to file a Response to a Divorce Application are: - That you have not been separated for at least 12 months; and - That the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia does not have jurisdiction to grant a divorce (i.e married overseas, etc.). Time Limits Once an Order for Divorce is granted by the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, parties have 12 months (exceptions may apply) to bring an Application for Property Orders to court. Prior to filing for Divorce, parties should obtain legal advice from a family lawyer as to what relevant time limits should be considered. During these times, you need a competent and experienced family law lawyers who understands what you are going through, thinks carefully and proactively on your behalf and knows how to represent you for the best possible outcome. If you want to understand your rights, contact Salerno Law and discover why we are Gold Coast’s best family lawyers. Tyrone Boucher - Salerno Law

2023-02-08T16:44:43+10:00January 25th, 2023|Family Law|

Who gets the family fur-baby?

In Australia, 90% of households have had a pet at some stage in their life, and with more pets than humans in Australia, we are often asked by our clients during their family law matters, ‘who gets to keep the pet’? Separating couples may find it easy to distribute household items such as the television and the pull-out sofa, however, when it comes to Brutus, the family chihuahua, or Snowballs, the cat, it’s not as straightforward. Who gets the pet in a custody dispute? Even though we refer to our animals as ‘fur babies’, pets, pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”), are considered property in Australia. Therefore, you cannot have a ‘custody dispute’ over your family pet. The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (“Family Court”) does not have jurisdiction to make shared custody orders over a pet, such as imposing shared time and responsibility between the parties.   Accordingly, pets, like any other property such as your Lord of the Rings DVD set, or the family jet ski, are disclosable and part of the property pool, which will be distributed between the parties either by consent or court order in a disputed matter. Ordinarily, pets are not considered a significant asset in the property pool, and an Application for Property Orders are not made solely in relation to a dispute over a pet, unless the animal is of a significant monetary value. Nevertheless, disputes over the family pets can often cause heartache. Time Limitations If you are married, you have 12 months after the date of your divorce to commence an Application for Property Orders in the Family Court (if you are unable to settle the matter beforehand). If you are in a de-facto relationship, you have two (2) years to file an application from the date of separation (if you are unable to settle your de facto property matters beforehand). In both circumstances, the court may allow an application to be brought out of time, seeking leave to file your Initiating Application for Property Orders, however, you may be subject to adverse costs orders for filing out of time. Ordinarily, an Initiating Application for Property Orders is made after the parties have attempted to negotiate the disputed issues themselves and/or via their own independent legal representatives, failing which pre-action procedure requires parties to mediate, except if exempted from mediation, prior to an application being filed with the Family Court. The Family Law Act 1975 provides for a 5 Step test for property adjustment/division between married spouses and de facto partners, which is as follows: Would it be just and equitable to adjust the property between the parties; What is the property pool (assets minus liabilities) and financial resources of the parties; What are the contributions, including financial and non-financial, and homemaker and parenting duties, to the relationship; What are the future needs of the parties; and Based on the above what would be a just and equitable property division for the parties. [...]

2022-09-05T15:56:28+10:00September 5th, 2022|Family Law|


A “Binding Financial Agreement” (or BFA) is a legal document that allows couples (married or de facto) to put in writing what they would like to happen to their property if their relationship breaks down. They can be entered into before, during, and after a de facto relationship or marriage, and after separation prior to divorce or after divorce for married spouses. Financial Agreements may deal with the division of real and personal property, superannuation, and spousal maintenance. Financial Agreement in Contemplation of a Relationship/Marriage The topic of a Binding Financial Agreement prior to a de facto relationship or marriage commencing may be a sensitive topic. However, for those of us who wish to avoid the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp scenarios of life, it is a conversation worth having. If you are contemplating entering a relationship, de facto or marital, and wish to quarantine particular assets and liabilities that you have brought into the relationship, and plan what is to happen with jointly acquired assets and liabilities, then you may wish to consider contacting us at Salerno Law. Many of our client wish to quarantine assets for the future benefit of children of a previous marriage or relationship, and to leave those assets in their wills or to gift some of those assets to their children during their lifetime. This goal to preserve certain assets from future claim by an intended or current marital or de facto spouse, is achieved by a properly drafted financial agreement. We have probably all heard the American term “Pre Nup” and are aware of the tumultuous nature of celebrity divorces in some American States with “fault-based” divorce systems. A pre-nuptial financial agreement in Australia allows one or both parties to quarantine particular assets brought by them to the relationship, and for each party to agree on which liabilities are the responsibility of which party prior to the commencement of a marriage. Such an agreement may either unilaterally or mutually quarantine assets and liabilities. For example, if Amber had a liability from her veterinarian because her dog was stung by a bee, her new husband might consider having that liability quarantined to her in the prenuptial agreement. Amber might also wish to quarantine ownership of the dog if the parties were to separate or divorce so that she remains the owner. Of course, we are not always talking about the small things, and a prenuptial agreement would address significant assets and liabilities brought into the relationship by each party, as well as the assets and liabilities acquired during the new relationship, whether acquired individually or jointly, and how those items are to be divided in the event of separation or divorce. In this way, Binding Financial Agreements make the separation process more manageable and reduces the economic and emotional stressors that occur in the absence of such an agreement. Binding Financial Agreements are also the only legal document under the Australian Family Law Legal System to fully extinguish spousal maintenance claims from a former spouse, [...]

2022-07-05T11:32:56+10:00July 5th, 2022|Blog, Family Law|

Parenting Arrangements After Divorce

Parenting Arrangements After Divorce Coming to an agreement about post-separation parenting arrangements can be the most difficult issue for separating parents. At Salerno Law our Family Lawyers will support you with legal advice and solutions to finalise arrangements that are best for your children and workable for separating parents. Under the Family Law Act, the best interest of the child is the paramount consideration. There are many considerations for separating parents when it comes to organising parenting arrangements. Tensions and conflict can arise quickly and this can lead to prolonged periods of time with no arrangements or ones that just don’t suit the children or the parents. Getting legal advice and discussing parenting arrangements early on in your separation or before separation can decrease conflict, costs and provide your children with stability during separation and beyond. What about my rights as a parent? The Family Law Act sets out that parents have responsibilities rather than rights. This can be a surprise to many parents. Essentially parents can agree to any arrangements they like regarding post-separation parenting, however if you cannot agree and you need the assistance of the court, you will be bound by the provisions under the Act. When you are given legal advice by a lawyer or meet with a Mediator, Family Counsellor or Consultant they must tell you and encourage you to make decisions that are in the best interest of your child. The best interest of your child is decided by considering many factors that are set out in s 60CC of the Act. At Salerno Law our Family Lawyers can explain these considerations to you and prepare your evidence. Both the Act and social science research sets out that it is in a child’s best interest to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and have safety in their lives. Children should be protected from harm, abuse, neglect, and family violence. Both parents are presumed to have equal parental responsibility for their child however parents can agree to varying types of responsibility or the court can allocate responsibility. The court can remove one parent’s responsibility and give the other parent all of the responsibility for the child. Parental responsibility includes all of the duties and authorities at law that parents have in relation to their children. What is the difference between a Parenting Plan and a Parenting Order? Parents are encouraged to make their own arrangements for the parenting of their children after separation. Court is a place of last resort. In fact, most matters are settled without the court making the parenting arrangements for your children; Parenting plans are written agreements made by the parents that are signed and dated. The agreement must have been made without threat, duress, or coercion of either parent. Parenting plans deal with a range of issues including parental responsibility and the care and communication arrangements for your children. Parenting plans can be changed by agreement of the parties. Parenting plans are not enforceable by either parent or the [...]

2022-07-05T11:58:22+10:00September 8th, 2021|Blog, Family Law|
Go to Top