One of the most common questions we have received in the past weeks has been whether parents must (or should) comply with pre-existing parenting arrangements during COVID-19 lockdown. This was particularly so, as there was confusion as to whether informal (non-Court ordered) parenting arrangements constituted an exemption. The good news is that in most states
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Who Gets to Stay in the Family Home After Separation?
Technically, the person who is legally entitled to the home is the home owner or the tenant on the Residential Tenancy Agreement. If both parties are jointly entitled to the home, then both parties are legally entitled to stay in the property after separation.
Both parties may then choose to live in the property together and be “separated under the one roof”. However, this arrangement can be difficult and stressful, so one person will generally live in the home alone, by agreement or by obtaining a Court order for exclusive occupation of the home.
Who Pays for What Expenses After Separation?
Legally each person has to continue to pay the debts in their name (including one-half of joint debts) until there is agreement or Court Order changing this. It is, however, not uncommon for one party to refuse pay their half of joint debts to put pressure on the other party to pay them, or risk default.
If you are unable to meet your reasonable needs, you should seek advice in relation to making an Application for Spousal Maintenance.
If there is any dispute about Child Support, an application should be made to the Child Support Agency for an assessment of Child Support required to be paid by one parent to the other.
How Long Do I Need to Wait to Apply For:
- Divorce – 12 months and one day after separation.
- Parenting Orders – immediately after separation, though keep in mind that unless you are exempt, there is an obligation on parents to attempt to participate in Mediation prior to bringing an application to the Court.
- Property Division – immediately after separation.
- Spousal Maintenance – immediately after separation.
- Child Support and Centrelink – immediately after separation.
How We Help
We listen carefully to you and what you want to achieve and act quickly to protect your position.
We can help you lock in parenting arrangements at an early stage, secure your finances and help you access all financial entitlements early on. We use clever strategies to give you an edge to achieve what you want in your own way.
How We Charge
We offer flexible fee structures and payment arrangements for our clients including:
- A once-off fixed fee initial consultation to get you started in Family Law,
- Hourly rates or negotiated fixed fees for each stage of your matter.
Our Family Lawyers will discuss our fees and charges with you and will provide an estimate of the fees and charges likely to arise in your matter.