Divorce and Separation

At Aitken Partners we understand that divorces and partner separations are a common fact of modern life. We employ a team of trusted and qualified divorce lawyers, helping Melbourne clients find a respectful and mutually agreeable outcome to their mediation proceedings.

We are proud to be recognised as a leading authority on divorce proceedings, with close to 100 years of experience providing local people throughout Victoria and across Australia with professional legal guidance and advice for their respective circumstances.

The process of obtaining a divorce can be a long and frustrating one. Our relatable staff will be with you through every step, helping you to see what the best legal option in front of you is and sitting down for honest conversations when needed.

In order to be granted a divorce the Court must be satisfied that your marriage has broken down irretrievably for a period of 12 months, and that there is no likelihood of reconciliation.

It is possible to still be living together under the one roof and be separated. However, in these circumstances, you will be required to file additional material with any Court application to satisfy the Court that you remained separated during this time.

An application for a divorce is filed in the Federal Circuit Court together with a copy of a Marriage Certificate and a Court filing fee.

To make an application parties must satisfy the following jurisdictional requirements:

  • You must regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely; or
  • You must be an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australia citizenship; or
  • You must ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

In the event that the Divorce is granted by the Court, then it will become final one month and one day after the hearing. A Divorce Order will be sent to you by the Court. Upon receipt of this document, parties can thereafter remarry.

You are able to obtain Court orders, or reach agreement, in relation to both parenting matters and a property settlement, even though you are not yet divorced.

Our team can assist you during the divorce process by providing advice on your divorce application; representing you at your divorce hearing (should this be required) and assisting you to finalise any other aspects of your separation, including negotiating parenting arrangements and/or a property settlement.

It is important to note that following a divorce, parties have 12 months to issue Court proceedings with respect to property matters (or 2 years in the case of de facto or same sex relationships). It is possible to issue proceedings in the Court out of time, in the event that certain conditions are met. Our team can advise you further in relation to making an application out of time should this be necessary.

To speak to one of the leading teams of divorce and separation lawyers in Melbourne simply contact Aitken Partners today.

Divorce & Separation Lawyers Melbourne

At Aitken Partners we are among the most sought-after divorce lawyers in Melbourne, providing each of our valued clients with compassionate and honest legal services to ensure that their divorce or separation is as straightforward as possible.

Through mediations and professional consultation, we can manage each stage of your legal separation, assisting in reducing the amount of emotional distress that individuals can experience when going through these kind of processes.

We can also make our family law solicitors, child custody and Hague Convention experienced lawyers available to clients, should they so require. These teams can help to resolve any remaining disputes or disagreements that may be keeping your divorce from being finalised.

At our William Street offices, we employ a select team of legal specialists and qualified professionals, including immigration consultants who can provide assistance on matter concerning visa appeals and applications, as well as citizenship enquiries.

To book a consultation with one of Aitken Partners’ divorce attorneys or separation lawyers, Melbourne residents can call +61 3 8600 6000.

Financial Settlements

Once you have separated from your partner you will require legal advice in relation to the process of dividing your assets.

We have a number of different approaches to assisting clients’ to resolve disputes regarding property matters following a separation, and in reaching agreement. These include mediation (with an independent third party who can assist you by facilitating discussions to reach agreement), collaborative law (where the parties and their lawyers agree to a series of “four way meetings” and sign a contract that they will not litigate), by direct negotiation (between lawyers by way of correspondence, or direct discussions via a conference), or by way of litigation through the Court process.

Our advice will depend on the particular circumstances of your case and will be tailored by your specific needs and that of your family. We take a commercial and common sense approach to such matters, to ensure that your desired outcome is achieved.

We have access to professionals within our firm practising in other areas which regularly impact on family law matters and which include commercial, trust, taxation, bankruptcy, Wills and Estates, and financial planning. This breadth of service is not available in other boutique firms.

The Court’s approach to dividing matrimonial assets

Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) the Court has a wide discretion to make property orders that are just and equitable between the parties and in the circumstances of each case. In exercising that discretion, the Court adopts a four (4) step process:

  • The first task for a Trial Judge when determining an appropriate division of property is to identify the property of the parties. For the purposes of this assessment superannuation is deemed to be property and such interests can be divided between parties. The Family Court values all assets as at the date of trial less any arm’s length liabilities.
  • The second step is for the Court to examine the various contributions made by each party to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of matrimonial property. In making their assessment the Trial Judge will recognise both financial and non-financial contributions, including those contributions made by a homemaker or parent.
  • The third step undertaken by the Court is to consider both parties respective future needs, considering your respective financial positions, earning capacities, whether either party has the care of a child and any other factors or circumstances which should be taken into account.
  • Finally, the Court will consider whether the proposed adjustment of assets is just and equitable as between the parties.

Our team can assist you by providing detailed advices as to your property settlement entitlements and will assist you in attempting to negotiate a commercial outcome. In the event that your matter cannot be resolved by agreement, or by mediation or collaborative law, our specialist lawyers will assist you in the litigation process.

Binding Financial Agreements

Our team specialises in the preparation of binding financial agreements, which can be made prior to marriage or commencing cohabitation (often referred to us pre-nuptial agreements or just a ‘prenup’) or following separation or divorce.

Binding financial agreements are available to both married couples and couples in de facto relationships (including same sex relationships) and are now specifically recognised under the Family Law Act as being legally binding.

Couples can use these types of agreements to regulate and/or resolve how their finances will be managed during, or following the breakdown of, their relationship.

In order to be legally binding, you must have legal advice at the time of signing a Financial Agreement, and your lawyer must sign a certificate confirming that such advice has been given.

Binding financial agreements need to be carefully considered and worded to ensure that they consider any structural implications (eg family trusts, companies, self-managed super funds) of the proposed settlement, as well as tax implications and any other consequential matters, such as refinancing obligations.

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