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Divorce Lawyers Adelaide
The breakdown and ultimate divorce of a relationship is a difficult, stressful and often emotional time for all involved. Scammell & Co.’s dedicated team of divorce lawyers understand the challenges people face and therefore are well-versed to handle the needs of each client with sensitivity, respect and compassion. You can also be confident that our Divorce Lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and track-record of success to ensure your divorce outcomes meet expectations.
The first steps in the divorce process
You should consider meeting with a Scammell & Co. Family Lawyer prior to separation. Our solicitors can advise you of your rights and responsibilities, and provide an early estimate of how the law would apply to your circumstances. With this knowledge, you will be able to begin discussions with your partner regarding matters such as a property settlement; child support; child custody; and spousal maintenance with greater confidence.
Should any disputes arise, for example, on how the law approaches parenting arrangements between separated parents, or reaching an agreement on the division of assets, our solicitors can advise you on the best way forward.
Applying for a divorce in Adelaide
Generally speaking, you can apply for a divorce 12 months or more after you and your spouse separate.
At times, separation can include those who have lived under the one roof but not as legal spouses. Proving this can be tricky for some.
You also need to satisfy the Court that:
- You fall within the jurisdiction of the laws of Australia;
- Your marriage has broken down irretrievably;
- Arrangements have been made for the care of any children; and
- You have attended counselling if your marriage is less than 2 years.
Before you apply for a divorce, you should consider obtaining a property settlement first. Once a divorce has been granted, parties have 12 months from the effective date of the Divorce Order to apply for a property settlement. If there are delays in reaching a property settlement due to Court proceedings it may leave you short of time.
Key considerations regarding the divorce process
- Who has the marriage certificate?
- Can you prove separation has occurred for at least 12 months?
- Do you qualify for an exemption from counselling if the marriage is less than 2 years?
- Do you qualify for a reduction to the Divorce application fee?
- How will you serve your Application for Divorce on the other party?
- Do you qualify to be exempt from the Divorce hearing?
- How will your Divorce affect your property settlement and parenting arrangements?
How a Scammell & Co. Family Lawyer can help you
We can assist you with all of the above considerations. In addition, we can advise you:
- Whether your Divorce may detrimentally affect your property or parenting dispute?
- How you can serve, or avoid serving, a spouse you cannot find, or is living overseas?
- What is required to prove separation under the one roof?
We take the stress and uncertainty out of what is generally an unfamiliar process for applicants.
Our Family Law team can meet at any of our 4 offices located throughout South Australia: Adelaide CBD, Port Adelaide, Walkerville and Gawler. Call or email us today to speak with a lawyer about your circumstances, or to book an appointment at an office convenient to you.
Should I leave the home? If so, what should I take?
This requires an assessment of many considerations. The first is what will be in the best interests of the children. If it is agreed that the children should live predominantly with one parent, then it is often best that the primary caregiver and the children remain in the home to avoid disruption to the children’s lives. Ultimately though, the home will be an asset included in the property settlement and neither party will be disadvantaged.
For property settlement purposes, the home and any associated loans are divisible irrespective of the names it is held in. Parties should also consider who is most likely to retain the home in the eventual settlement based on their respective ability to maintain the property financially and otherwise. An assessment will need to be made based on your likely property settlement entitlements. We suggest that you obtain legal advice in this regard.
For the party who is leaving the home, he/she do not simply lose or forfeit his/her interest in that home. He/she is still entitled to a fair and equitable share of that property.
When leaving the home we recommend that you take your personal documents such as bank statements, superannuation statements and taxation records. These documents are often the first documents you will need when obtaining property settlement advice and can sometimes be difficult to obtain later.
Can we separate and still live under one roof?
Absolutely. It is not unusual these days for parties to separate under one roof as it allows regular contact with the children to continue and help relieve the financial strain of maintaining two households. To satisfy the Court that separation has occurred, you will need to demonstrate that at least some of the following has occurred:
- The cessation of sexual activity and sleeping in separate bedrooms;
- Living in separate rooms within the house;
- Not sharing meals or socialising together;
- Not giving the impression to family, neighbours and friends that the marriage is continuing; and
- A shift in the conduct of your financial affairs
Sometimes independent third parties can help to corroborate this change.
What if I cannot locate my spouse to serve them with my application for divorce?
If you do not know the whereabouts of your spouse you can still apply for a divorce. We suggest that you obtain advice first before applying. The Court do not normally grant divorces unless you can demonstrate all reasonable means to locate your spouse have been exhausted. You must prove to the Court that you have used your best endeavours to notify your spouse of your application. Occasionally an application for a substituted service might be appropriate. This means that your application is served on your spouse via alternative means (eg. Emails, or other electronic means, or via a close associate or family member of your spouse).
How do I keep legal costs down?
For Divorce applications, we can help determine if you qualify for a reduction in the Court filing fee. This can result in savings of over $500. There are also situations where we can offer to fix our fees. For all other situations, your legal costs can be minimised by:
- Responding to correspondences from your lawyer in a timely and complete manner;
- Sending your lawyer an agenda of your questions before you meet;
- Making 2 copies of documents that need to be disclosed (one for your lawyer and one for your former partner or his/her lawyer);
- Producing documents sought from your lawyer in the first instance; and
- Considering whether the value of the matter in dispute outweighs the legal costs involved.