Question: My spouse and I have decided to separate – at what stage should I consult a lawyer?

There is no strict rule as to when a lawyer needs to be consulted following the breakdown of a de facto relationship or marriage. Much will depend on the particular circumstances of the parties. For example if there are children for whom orders need to be made concerning custody and/or maintenance, then a solicitor may need to be consulted once the decision has been made to end the relationship if a dispute exists as between the parties with respect to the welfare of the child or children.

If there are no children and it is simply a matter of the parties separating, then a solicitor may not need to be consulted. It is possible for the parties to apply for a divorce without legal representation. It is also open to the parties to resolve any claims that they may have concerning property and assets.

However, the ending of a relationship or marriage can be a traumatic time. You may feel more comfort in consulting with a lawyer so as to ensure that you are fully informed as to your rights and entitlements particularly as to the distribution of the assets that were either brought in or accumulated throughout the course of the relationship. Without the benefit of legal advice many people would simply not be aware of what their entitlements would be.

There are time limits which apply to the lodgement of any application to resolve a property dispute. For de facto relationships the limitation period is 24 months from the date of separation. In the event of a marriage breakdown, the limitation period for lodgement of application to resolve a property dispute is 12 months from the date the divorce becomes effective.

In our experience there is no substitute for expert legal advice to assist in resolving disputes which can arise following the ending of a de facto relationship or marriage. With the provision of expert legal advice and the representation that Brydens Lawyers can provide, you will be assured of receiving all of your entitlements from the assets available for distribution. In the case of infant children, we will assist in ensuring that their interests are also fully protected.

Brydens Lawyers are the specialists in Family Law. For expert legal advice and representation with respect to any family law needs whether same arises from the breakdown of a de facto relationship or marriage or whether you simply seek advice as to what your entitlements may be in the event of the ending of a relationship, contact Brydens Lawyers today.