Likely Outcomes of a Family Law Separation and Divorce

3 real Family Law case studies detailing the circumstances, recommended steps to take and outcomes for those dealing with Separation and Divorce.

Case Study One – How to know when to apply for divorce

Luke and Laura are married and, after a difficult period in their relationship, decide to separate. After three (3) months apart, they try to get back together again, moving into the same house. Things don’t work out and, after six (6) weeks, they separate again and this time with finality.

12 months after their initial separation, Luke wants to get a Divorce. As Luke and Laura did not resume cohabitation for three (3) months or more, Luke can use the date of the initial separation to start counting the 12 months’ separation required for Divorce, however, must factor in the six (6) weeks of resumption of cohabitation. Therefore, Luke can make an Application for Divorce 12 months and six (6) weeks after the initial separation.

Case Study Two – What to do when your former partner owns the house and kicks you out

Milly and Mike have been de facto partners for six (6) years. When they started living together, Milly moved into Mike’s home, which he has continued to own in his sole name throughout the relationship. One day while at work, Milly receives a text from Mike which says, “It’s over. I’ve left your things on the porch. You’ll have to find somewhere else to live.”

Milly returns home to find that Mike has changed the locks and she can’t enter the house. She contacts the Police and tells them that Mike has locked her out of her own home. The Police ask who owns the home. Milly tells them that Mike does. The Police ask for Mike’s contact details and call him. Mike advises the Police that he and Milly have separated and that he has ejected her from the home.

The Police tell Milly that there is nothing they can do as Mike is the legal owner of the house. There is nothing further that Milly can do except to see a Family Lawyer to see if she can get an order for exclusive occupancy of the house so that she can eject Mike and live in the property herself.

Milly gets legal advice that her chances of getting an order for exclusive occupancy of the house are slim at best. Her best option is to pursue a Property Division without delay to get the assets she is entitled to so that she can support herself independently of Mike.

Separation Checklist

Separation is a stressful and uncertain time.

At Delaney Roberts Family Lawyers, we believe that being proactive and seeking legal advice prior to separating can be the key to ensuring that your separation runs as smoothly as possible.

After years of assisting clients through separation we have compiled a checklist of essential actions to consider when navigating the process.

Case Study Three – What to do when your former partner stops paying for the children’s expenses

James and Joel lived together in a de facto relationship for five (5) years prior to their marriage 2 years ago. James has been the primary breadwinner since the birth of their daughter, Elizabeth, 18 months ago, when Joel became the primary carer and stay-at-home parent.

A few weeks after separation, Joel notices that James has not transferred funds to him for his and Elizabeth’s weekly expenses. Joel sees a Family Lawyer who advises him to make an immediate application for a Child Support Assessment and writes to James requesting the payment of Spousal Maintenance to Joel. James does not respond and does not pay Joel any funds.

Joel starts Court proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for urgent weekly Spousal Maintenance of $1,000, a lump sum Spousal Maintenance payment of $20,000 and a lump sum payment to fund his legal fees of $50,000, together with a Property Division claim. Joel is able to prove to the Court that James has sufficient income to pay these amounts and that he needs this amount of financial support owing to his role as Elizabeth’s primary carer.

The Court makes Orders for James to pay to Joel the amounts that he has claimed, with the Spousal Maintenance to commence straight away and the lump sum amounts to be paid within 14 days.

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The information in this article is not legal advice and is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your particular circumstance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Solicitor Director
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner