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Divorce Lawyers Melbourne

Divorce and separation are the focus of our expertise. Book your free initial consultation with our expert family lawyers today and know where you stand. Our services cover:

  • Divorce Applications & Separation Declarations
  • Binding Financial Agreements
  • Child Support & Custody Arrangements
  • De Facto & Same Sex Relationships

Expert Support & Advice

Since 1922, Pearsons have been listening, advising and guiding people through the difficult maze of divorce and separation.  We understand what you’re going through and our team is standing by ready to help.

Get A Fair Outcome

We’ll work towards getting you a fair and equitable outcome whilst minimising your stress, cost and time.

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Book your free appointment today and get all your questions answered, discuss your options, understand your entitlements &  know what your divorce will cost.

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Divorce & Separation

Why Work With Pearsons Family Lawyers?

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Benefits of Having a Family Lawyer

Applying for a Divorce

You can apply for a divorce 12 months from the date you and your partner separated. Only one party needs to want the divorce and you can apply either jointly or on your own behalf. Your ex-partner cannot oppose a request for divorce, except under very specific circumstances (see FAQ’s below).  Note that If you have been married less than two years you will need to file a counselling certificate.

Some people separate whilst still living together under the same roof.  A divorce can be applied while parties live separate and apart under the same roof as long as there are witnesses that confirm that the couple did live and sleep separately, did not carry out domestic chores for each other, separated their finances, did not socialise together and the public perception was that they were in fact separated.

“The thing about having over 35 years of experience in Family Law is that you do not panic. In a crisis you stay calm and remain courageous so that you do not lose focus on what is important, namely the clients’ needs.” – Leanne Abela (Principal Director)

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Children & Assets

Matters concerning property settlement and the care of the children can be dealt with immediately once the relationship has ended.  There is no need to wait for a 12 month period.

Whilst the divorce ends the marriage between two parties, the discussions, negotiations and outcomes reached in relation to how the children should be cared for, how much time they should spend with each party or who they should live with may be the subject of discussions and negotiations.  Parties may choose to either attend mediation, negotiate through lawyers or proceed to Court if they are unable to resolve those issues. 

It is a good idea to divide your assets and have a formal property settlement in relation to all financial matters. This may cover the family home, investment properties, businesses, companies, shares, savings, motor vehicles and superannuation entitlements. This can all happen before a divorce order is made. Note that under the Family Law Act, the time limit to commence property proceedings for parties to a marriage is 12 months from the date on which the divorce order becomes final.

Know Where You Stand

Client Reviews & Testimonials

I am very grateful for Andrew MacDonald’s professional support, honest advice and professionalism during my ordeal. Andrew was open, honest and willingness to keep progressing for the right outcome.
Melissa Divaris
Melissa D.
06:37 18 Apr 21
Louis Horsley and Jacqueline Spry two of the best in the business in my opinion. It is very rare to find Lawyers like these they are truly amazing very experienced, professional and knowledgeable. Thank you for all your help!
Louise Grech
Louise G.
01:51 11 Mar 21
Joe & Leanne are two of those rare people in life who are genuinely gold. They are absolute experts in their field and have welcoming, warm personalities.
Sophie Charlotte
Sophie C.
21:44 02 Mar 21
Benita Crocker was recommended by a friend who worked previously as a family lawyer. She has been assisting me with the financial and parental aspects of my Divorce after I was not progressing with my previous lawyer. From the beginning she has been emphatic to what I have been going through and has put my heart at ease throughout the stressful process of the proceedings, she has always been honest on what to expect in each situation both best and worst-case scenarios. Her skill-set as a lawyer dealing with difficult people (ex-partner and his lawyer) has been exceptional.Benita has integrity, is professional and extremely knowledgeable with an abundance of family law experience. Her communication skills both written and verbal are exceptional and she utilizes her time efficiently. She always follows up promptly on any questions and queries I have had regarding parental and financial aspects of my court proceedings.She is always frank yet lovely, kind and fair person with exceptional legal skills which made a complicated situation so much easier to deal with, I would highly recommend Benita as she is the most professional family lawyer anyone could ask for.Maggie
Maggie Aziz
Maggie A.
00:44 09 Feb 21
After a lengthy and frustrating family matter I switched to Joe Schepis, recommended by a friend. After many months of yielding any positive results immediately saw results with Joe within the first couple of weeks. Joe has the ability to stay focused on the important issues and simplifying the arguments. He has made an extremely difficult case into a productive outcome and has made me feel at ease. I suffer from cancer and the added stress has not been good for my health Joe taking control of the case has made it a lot easier for me to cope with. I can not thank you enough Joe.
Bruce Clark
Bruce C.
01:14 31 Jan 21
If your looking for a lawyer that gets the job done without draining your finances Mr Joe Schepis is your man. He is attentive and efficient. He’s staff is equally professional and efficient. This divorce has been a gruelling 18 months with the other party stalling and cancelling 2 mediations and house auction. Thank you Joe for getting the job done especially selling the house within 2 weeks of taking over the case from the previous lawyer. I would highly recommend Joe and have the utmost confidence in him to get you the best and fair outcome.
Carmel Iacono
Carmel I.
00:53 31 Jan 21
Joe Schepis…an amazing soul! provides great, prompt service. He is simply outstanding in his fast & direct dealings backed up by excellent in-depth industry knowledge.Joe has been kind and understanding during my difficult times. He always goes above and beyond and has always been there for anything that I need, a very responsive, caring, and devoted solicitor. Joe has exceptional communication, paired with professionalism! The constant update and communication, both emails and phone calls has been amazing. It has been an absolute pleasure to deal with and engage with my Family Law Specialist at all times.I just want to say a heartfelt Thank You for his professionalism, honesty, attentiveness, efficiency, and care throughout the time I have dealt with Joe and will continue dealing with Joe, highly recommend and refer anyone in need of Family Law Specialist for the foreseen future.BIG thank you, Joe..
Secil Bozdogan
Secil B.
06:40 19 Jan 21
I met with Jacqui Spry. She was the most down to earth and up front person I’ve ever come across. She never gave up on what was quite a traumatic time for me. Jacqui always let me know what was happening and what could happen along the way. She kept the fees down as much as she could under the circumstances. It was the most traumatic experience I’ve been through, although she helped me keep it together. She helped me to do what I thought was the undoable. Jacqui was fantastic and I’m so glad I had her to represent me. 😊
Leanne Beattie
Leanne B.
09:21 14 Jan 21
After my father passed away mid-divorce and pending settlement of assets, Glenroy office was extremely helpful in ensuring the legal matters could continue under the Executor of his will and the division of assets was dealt with at mediation without the burden of court.They worked remotely through COVID restrictions and also dealing with an interstate Executor with ease.Highly recommended.
carrissa ibbott
carrissa I.
22:48 10 Jan 21
The team at Pearsons is extremely knowledgeable, professional, hard working, and responsive. Their attention to detail is second to none. They know the law very well and have gone above & beyond to provide their top notch service. I would definitely recommend Pearsons to anyone who requires assistance with family law. If Google allows me to give Pearsons 6 stars, I would have done so!
Truong P
Truong P
02:44 03 Jan 21
I was referred to Pearsons specifically Ms Leanne Abela by a girlfriend who had used Leanne for her divorce with a very successful outcome. I had been to two other large city family lawyers however, I did not feel satisfied or at ease with the information they provided. Once having met Leanne who is such a good listener as well as a great talker, I felt totally happy and so relieved with the information she provided. Leanne along with her fantastic staff worked tirelessly with my divorce case for over three years. She was professional, patient, empathetic, dedicated to my case, provided strength along the whole court system to achieve an outcome that was so pleasing.Leanne - I thank you sincerely for the friendship, caring, professional way you helped me during one of the most difficult times in my life. MGB
Maria Barbon
Maria B.
07:41 02 Jan 21
From the first appointment with Leanne to the last Court date, Pearsons Lawyers has been an incredible support for me all the way. Leanne is an ethical, no nonsense, professional who (in partnership) leads a team of similar minded lawyers. Andrew MacDonald who was responsible for handling my 18 month divorce, I will forever have the utmost respect for; with his integrity, thoughtfulness and being the best damn letter writer on this earth. It has been an extremely difficult time, but in the end it was worth it with the result we achieved....basically exactly what Leanne estimated in the very first, half hour, free appointment.
Joanne Hislop
Joanne H.
03:12 23 Dec 20
Pearsons Family Lawyers

Latest Articles on Divorce & Separation

Know Where You Stand
Frequently Asked Questions
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How do I get a divorce?

A divorce of itself is usually very straightforward, uncomplicated and relatively inexpensive.

Like marriage a divorce is a legal status. Once a Divorce Order is made your status alters to no longer being married and further you are at liberty to remarry.

In addition to effecting your legal status, a divorce also commences the time running on 12 months from the time that the Divorce Order is made for you to make an application for property settlement or spousal maintenance. Once the 12 months from the date of the Divorce Order expires the parties to the Divorce Order are prohibited from commencing such proceedings without first obtaining permission from the Court. Obtaining permission from the Court will add additional costs as more documents and Court events are necessary and there is always the risk that the Court may refuse to grant such permission as the Court has a broad discretion when considering such matters.

If you are considering a divorce or have recently been divorced, we strongly suggest that you obtain advice about financial matters and whether there is a need to commence proceedings.

To obtain a divorce an Application for Divorce needs to be prepared which is reasonably straightforward. The Application is then filed with the Court upon the payment of a filing fee. Once it has been filed it then needs to be served (delivered) to the other party.

Subject to the Court being satisfied that the parties have been separated for 12 months, that the other party has been properly served with the Application for Divorce and matters concerning children have been appropriately dealt with, a Divorce Order will be granted. One month after the Divorce Order is made it becomes effective and a sealed Divorce Order is issued to each party who is now divorced.

At Pearsons Lawyers we can prepare your divorce documents, arrange for service and appear for you at the hearing to obtain your divorce and advise you about other matters relating to your circumstances including parenting and property.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

When can you apply for a divorce?

There is only one ground for a divorce and that is a complete breakdown of the marriage which is proven by 12 months of separation.

Separation can be proven easily if parties physically separate and live separately and apart in different houses.  Often parties separate under the same roof and commence living separate lives.  In the case of separation under the same roof the Court requires additional evidence from an independent person (friend or family member) to confirm the separation took place.

If the date of filing for the divorce is less than 2 years after the marriage the parties will need to attend marriage guidance counselling and obtain a certificate from a qualified counsellor to demonstrate that the marriage has broken down completely.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

How much is a divorce going to cost?

Obtaining a divorce is usually straightforward and inexpensive costing approximately $1,000 plus government filing fee depending on a variety of matters.

Obtaining formal parenting orders about children, documenting and formalising a property settlement and entering into private arrangements for the financial support of children by way of a Binding Child Support Agreement or a Consent Order can all be achieved relatively quickly and inexpensively.

Each case differs and the costs incurred in each case will also differ depending upon the individual complexities and difficulties.

If agreement is reached quickly and the matter is straightforward and simple, parenting or property matters could be documented and formalised for under $6,000.

Usually matters require greater legal attention and advice including the exchange of relevant financial documents, some negotiations and the “toing and froing” with draft documents until they are completed to the satisfaction of all parties. This may add some additional expense.

Generally speaking, lawyers charge either by way of time in blocks of six minute “units” or in certain matters a fixed fee can be negotiated and agreed upon. In essence, the more legal input is required the more time is involved the greater the expense.

There may be additional costs if valuations have to be obtained or separate accounting advice sought in relation to matters such as capital gains tax or other possible tax consequences of a property settlement.

At Pearsons Lawyers we discuss costs during the initial free consultation and then render regular accounts so that the client is kept fully informed at all times and that there are no nasty surprises.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Do I need a lawyer?

Most divorces are straightforward and the process is not complicated and a lawyer is not needed to complete and file a divorce application.

There can be some obstacles and difficulties such as if there is separation under the one roof, if there are difficulties effecting personal service of a sealed copy of the divorce application on the other party, if there are disputes about the date of separation or if the arrangements for the children are not proper.

Relatively speaking the cost of a divorce is cheap and most people find that it is much more convenient, easier and less stressful to have a specialist Family Lawyer attend to their divorce.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

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Can I oppose a divorce application?

If you have been separated for more than 12 months, there are few opportunities to oppose a divorce application. You can only oppose the divorce where:

  • there has not been 12 months separation as alleged in the application, or
  • the Court does not have jurisdiction.

If you do not want the divorce granted, you must complete and file a Response to Divorce and appear in person on the hearing date.

You need to set out the grounds on which you seek the dismissal in the Response to Divorce.

If you file a response, you should attend the divorce hearing. If you do not attend, the Court may decide the divorce application in your absence. If it is difficult for you to attend in person, you may ask the Court to appear by telephone.

How do I deal with intervention orders?

Whether you are the Applicant or Respondent in Intervention Order proceedings sound advice about options available to you and proper representation at Court events is critical.

It is imperative that the terms of any Intervention Orders are understood so as to avoid breaches and resulting criminal proceedings which could have lasting and devastating effects.

At Pearsons Lawyers we will give you advice and arrange representation at various Court events to ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved at all times.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Is a quick resolution always the best?

After separation most people want a quick and inexpensive resolution of property and children’s matters. That is often achievable.

However, in some cases a quick resolution is not possible because due diligence needs to be exercised to ensure that all proper and necessary enquires are made, appropriate documents are exchanged, property identified and valued so as to ensure that the appropriate or best possible outcome is achieved.

Ultimately, the decision as to how quick and inexpensive a resolution is achieved is a matter for each client. A lawyer’s job is to provide legal advice about possible options and the pros and cons of each option available. It is the client who ultimately makes decisions and provides instructions as to which course of action to adopt and is best suited to their situation. Knowing the choices available gives the client the power to make informed and proper decisions.

Occasionally the other party and/or their lawyer may make a speedy and inexpensive resolution impossible.

In each case there are multiple parties involved such as lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, family and friends giving advice and having an input, all of which affects decision making and ultimately the outcome of each case.

It is important that you obtain sound legal advice about all of the options available to you so that you can navigate and understand the different courses available to you and their possible outcomes.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

How long will getting a divorce usually take?

Each client and their circumstances differ.

The length of time that each matter takes to resolve will depend on the parties and their circumstances.

Some parents are able to reach agreement about parenting matters and Parenting Orders can be made within a matter of weeks.

In financial matters some separating parties can reach an amicable and fair settlement which can be documented by way of Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) within a matter of weeks.

Usually after receiving legal advice about options, negotiations are undertaken by way of an exchange of letters and documents. Sometimes there are intense and focused negotiations by way of a Roundtable Conference (a meeting of the parties and their lawyers at one place at one time to negotiation outstanding issues) or a mediation.


In the event that agreement cannot be reached through negotiations and mediation, litigation may become necessary. Throughout the litigation process parties are required to engage in mediation to discuss and explore the possibility of reaching agreement without judicial intervention.

Most cases that are commenced in the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court are resolved at some stage during the litigation path, formal Orders are made, and the matter is resolved without a Judge making a decision.

A small number of cases are unable to be resolved and proceed to determination by a Judge which means that the Court hears the evidence of the parties, submissions by their Barristers and then a Court makes a decision in relation to parenting matters, property issues or both.

The litigation path can take anywhere from a few months up to three to four years depending upon the complexity of the matter, judicial availability and other issues that can arise from time to time such as COVID-19 which has disrupted Court hearings and created greater delays in the Court system.

Pearsons Lawyers can provide you with specialist Family Law advice and guidance with the options available to you and assist you making decisions best for you.

We advise our clients of the costs associated with Court proceedings and how long they are prepared to devote to negotiations prior to considering commencing Court proceedings. Court proceedings are a last resort but are sometimes inevitable to achieve finality.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

To arrange your free initial consultation with a specialist Family Lawyer at Pearsons Lawyers contact us today or call 1300 699 688 and know where you stand.

This article is general information only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.

Video Series

Before You Get a Divorce

> Watch Full Video Series Here

Introduction

Transcript
Hi, my name is Joe Schepis and I’m Leanne Abela. We’re directors of Pearsons Lawyers.

Over the years, we’ve represented thousands of clients in relation to Divorce & Separation and we’ve found that there’s a significant amount of misconception about the process and also lots of commonly asked questions such as: ‘Who’s going to get the kids?’ ‘Who’s going to get the house?’ ‘When can I start that Divorce process?’ ‘What will this cost me?’

No question is a dumb question. So we’ve created this series of 7 Modules. Each Module contains 3 to 4 short videos. Each video is led by one of our team members, who will explain each topic in more detail.

And so, if you’re ready to proceed, go to the Pearsons Youtube channel or go to the Pearsons website and start off at Module 1. Module 1 contains information on action that you need to take right now before you do anything further. We’re confident that once you view the Module, you’ll ‘know where you stand’. And guess what? You can view it free of charge!

So if you’re ready to proceed, go to Module 1 now and we’ll see you there. Bye for now.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check as we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may not be able to talk to you. Whatever it is that you choose, it is our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you ‘know where you stand’.

> Book Your Free Appointment

Video 1: Overview

Transcript
Hi. Welcome to Module 1 of the series, “How to get a Divorce in Australia.”

My name is Leanne Abela and I’m Director and Partner of Pearsons, and in this Module I’ll be providing you with two essential checklists of the things you should do right here and right now, which are at no cost.

Over the years, we’ve done thousands of divorces and separations and what we find time and time again is that often one of the parties has an unfair advantage over the other as a result of documents which they have access to, or resources, or steps which they have taken prior to the separation.

So in this module I’ll be providing you with two checklists which will give you access to information and documents which will let you in to the separation process on an even playing field.

This is the first of three videos, including the overview in this module. The next two videos deal with the two essential checklists. The first checklist is action that you should take immediately and the second video deals with documents you should collect straight away.

So, that’s it for the overview. If you’re ready, why not move on to Video 2 which is action you should take right now.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may not be able to talk to you. Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you ‘know where you stand’.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

No advice
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

Limitation of warranties
The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd or another professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

> Book Your Free Appointment

Video 2: Must Do Now Checklist

Transcript
Hi, welcome to Video 2 of Module 1.

My name is Leanne Abela. I’m Director and Partner at Pearsons. And if this the first video you’ve seen in the series, I strongly recommend you go back to the beginning and have a look at everything else we have to offer in the series. And you can do that by going to the Pearsons’ YouTube channel or to the Pearson’s webpage.

One of the first things that you can attend to, which will cost you nothing, and will be very effective, is to change your e-mail password. Most relationships result in parties knowing one another’s password and so the first thing that can go wrong is that you’re almost eavesdropping on each others’ conversations.

When you’re separating or thinking of separating, it’s important that you retain your privacy. So by changing your password, you’ll ensure that your partner doesn’t have the ability to download some of those e-mail communications with other people, or friends, or even your lawyer and use that to your disadvantage.

The last thing you want is to be worried about communication that you may have undertaken without knowing that somebody was going to use it against you. And this could happen immediately or later on into the process at a time when you’ve completely forgotten that you even sent the e-mail. So this is something that is free, will cost you nothing, and that you can do to protect yourself and give yourself some peace of mind.

The next thing you could attend to, which is also very important, will involve a visit to the bank or some online work. And that is, freezing your mortgage balances, freezing draw-down facilities, and freezing some credit cards.

So most people these days operate with a mortgage balance or a mortgage limit, and then have their draw-down facility. And in most of the cases we’ve seen, one of the knee-jerk reactions to a separation is for one of the parties, either because they’re worried about how they’re going to cope financially or sort of a way of punishing their partner, if you like, is to draw-down against the mortgage and take a load of money out.

Now they might take the money out because they need to setup furniture at another property or because they’re worried that their partner is going to do the same thing and draw down against the mortgage.

So one thing you could effectively do is to contact the bank, explain that you’ve separated, and what you don’t want, is what can be seen as theft but isn’t really, in terms of drawing-down against the mortgage or overdraft, and thus really reducing what there will be to fight about in the basket at the end of the day.

If you find you are unable to do this without the assistance of a solicitor, then by all means go and see Family Lawyer straight away and hopefully there won’t be any need to go to court. It could be dealt with by way of a letter or some communication. But, ultimately, if a court order is necessary, this can be done, and it can be done very quickly and efficiently.

The third thing which needs to be attended to often occurs when one of the parties has the assets in their names. So in Family Law, we don’t really take any weight in relation to whose name the properties are in but if the property is in your partner’s name and not in your name, it’s important that you protect your interest.

You can’t, effectively, have a fight over an asset that no longer exists. And it will no longer exist if your partner transfers it, sells it, or gives it away. So how do you ensure that doesn’t occur? By lodging a caveat against the property.

Now, you can do this yourself by visiting the Titles Office in Melbourne and lodging a caveat against the property and there’s a government fee involved, a fee, a duty. And that will be approximately $100 or you can pay a lawyer to do it and that will be a total cost of around $300 to $350. And that will ensure that your partner can’t borrow against the property, transfer it, give it away, or take other securities against it.

Changing the locks, a lot of people come and approach us about changing the locks because their partner has already left or they want their partner to leave. Changing the locks is not really an effective way of stopping somebody coming back into the property.

But if your partner has already left you may want to change the locks just to ensure you have privacy and that you’re not worried about them returning when you have taken occupation of the property.

Doesn’t give you a greater entitlement to the asset, doesn’t mean your partner can’t come back, but it does give you some security and so we do recommend, generally, if you’ve had occupation of the property that you change the locks.

Dealing with a will. Now we know this is a difficult time, the time of separation. It’s scary, it’s confusing, there’s lots going on in relation to the children and property. But unfortunately, people do die during the course of a separation and prior to the assets being divided.

And, in the work we’ve done over the last 26 years, there have been many instances where people have passed away unexpectedly and tragically, leaving their family most upset because there was no will in place. And what it would mean, if you didn’t have a will is that your clothing, jewellery, finances, assets, would all go to your estranged partner, which would leave a bit of a mess for your family and in particular your children.

So what we recommend that at the time of separation you make a new will and that you also change the beneficiaries of your superannuation fund. At the moment, your beneficiary of your superannuation fund is likely to be your partner and it’s important that that’s changed to either be your children or whoever you want to leave your superannuation entitlement to. And a solicitor will help you work through your will and deal with that superannuation issue if you want them to or you can simply contact your own superannuation fund.

In some instances, at the time of separation, or leading up to separation, a party might be fearful of separating because of the reprisals that might occur. If you are in fear of your own safety or that there may be damage to the property if you separate, we would recommend that you contact your local magistrate’s court and ask for an appointment to apply for an intervention order.

Intervention orders are a subject of their own and so if you’re interested in that particular topic, I suggest you go to a later video in these modules which will cover that topic completely.

So, if you feel that you’re ready and you’re able to move on to the next video, I recommend that you do, and the next video will deal with essential documents that you’ll need to gather so that you’re well-equipped during this entire process, or if you’re still thinking of separating, so that you have everything you need when that time comes.

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may
not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

No advice
This website contains general information about legal matters. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

Limitation of warranties
The legal information on this website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website. If you have any specific questions about any legal matter, you should consult Pearsons Lawyers Pty Ltd or another professional legal services provider. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information on this website.

> Book Your Free Appointment

Video 3: Essential Documents Checklists

Transcript
Hi. Welcome to the third video in Module 1. My name is Leanne Abela. I’m Director and Partner at Pearsons. And if this is the first video you’ve seen, I strongly recommend you go back to the beginning and view everything we’ve got to offer in the series either by looking at our Pearsons’ YouTube channel or to the Pearson’s webpage.

In this video, we’re going to cover those documents which we think will be really useful for you to have. So again, in the cases we see, a lot of time and money is spent as a result of people not being able to gather information and then leaving it to the lawyers to try and collect documents and information that they should really have themselves.

They’ll often curse themselves and say, “Why didn’t I collect that before I left the home?” or “Why did I let the other party take that?” So by taking this step,not only are you saving yourself time and money, but you’re making sure you’re not disadvantaged and that you have all the information that you need, your lawyer needs, and in the unfortunate situation where the matter does go to court, that the courts have got everything they need to be able to make an assessment as to what you’re both entitled to.

So there’s a range of documents, some involve the children, some don’t. So if we start with the documents which are pretty useful to have regardless of whether or not there are children. That would be your marriage certificate,Titles to the property, now most people do have their Titles held in a deed box at the bank, but in some instance people haven’t gotten around to placing it in a secure place, so you can either bring that Title to your lawyer or take it into a safety deposit box. It really shouldn’t be at home anyway.

It’s useful to get bank statements, mortgage statements, credit card statements,tax returns, superannuation statements. Now as far to how far back as you should go, useful probably to go back three to five years and to get current statements if you can.

Also, passports, particularly if there are children. In many instances, people are fearful that their partner may take off to another country with their children and that may or may not be a Hague Convention country and it’s just one worry you may want to eliminate. So if you take the passports and, again, put them in the deed box with the title or take then to your solicitors, they’ll be there for safekeeping.

Pay slips are also useful to show what the current income is of your partner. And then also any other documents you think relate to your relationship and the finances of you and your partner.

So in some instances there are trust deeds, company documents, accountant statements, calculations that the two of you have made when you’ve tried to work out what your finances are going to be like in the future or how you’re going to retire. Those workings and documents are useful so that we know what the assets were or what was going to be expected to come in from either the running of a business or from an investment.

You can get those documents from your accountant but again that can be expensive and a duplication. And so if you’ve got those documents at home, worthwhile getting.

Now, don’t panic if you can’t find them and don’t let that stop your separation if that’s what holding you back. We can always obtain that information by subpoenaing documents through the court process, by contacting the superannuation fund of your partner.

There’s now legislation in place that allows us to do that where as previously we had to rely on trying to find it. You can actually get that information quite easily and readily. But anything that you can do to help yourself saves time and saves money. And what you don’t want is to be paying solicitors an hourly rate to do something that you can do yourself.

So, once you’ve got all that information, put it all in a folder and then take it to a safe place. Don’t leave it at home; don’t leave it in the car. Take it to a friend or to your workplace where your partner can’t access it.

Alternatively, you may want to photocopy it and then return it back to where you found it. Either way, as long as you’ve got a set that’s in a safe place you’ll be well equipped. And this is the very thing that can often delay processes in settlement, can often cost lots of money because letters are being passed between solicitors while they’re gathering this information, rather than calculating the range itself, which as I said is a topic in itself and will be dealt with later in one of the other videos.

So, now you’ve got all the information you need in terms of action you can take straight away without consulting a solicitor and you can either decide to wait, until you’ve decided whether or not you want to separate, or you can go and make an appointment with a lawyer. And any one of our team can see you for a first appointment free, and if you take that information with you, you’ll find that you breeze through the appointment and that by the conclusion of that appointment, or by the end of this series of videos, you’ll have an idea of the range of settlement and the expectation you’ll have in relation to your
children prior to any other court action.

So that’s it for Module 1. Now to sum things up, hopefully there are two things that you’ve done. Firstly, you should have taken a series of actions which will give you peace of mind and security knowing that you’ve attended to certain housekeeping matters, and secondly you should have a folder of documents which will put you in good stead regardless of where you are in the legal process and regardless of where you’re going to end up.

Now, if you’re feeling ready, I suggest you move onto Module 2 which is entitled, “Divorce and the Law.”

All our videos in this Youtube series can be found through the Pearsons Youtube Channel at http://youtube.com/pearsonslawyers or by visiting the Pearsons website at https://pearsonslawyers.com.au and following the links.

Alternatively, if you know that its simply time to see a Family Lawyer, please contact us for a free initial consultation. Please be advised that we must complete a conflict check so that we can only represent one party in a Family Law matter. So if your partner is watching this same Youtube series and engages our services before you do, we advise that we may
not be able to talk to you.

Whatever it is that you choose, its our wish that throughout this Youtube series, you can finally gain a sense of certainty so that you know where you stand.

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"I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for all your work and in getting me this far. Having you on board to represent me since your involvement has been such a great experience. You have helped me much more than you realise. To move on and move forward with my life, for me and my son. I really appreciate your help, your push-forward attitude and professionalism!!"

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