FAQs

We know you may have a number of questions. Here are some common questions we receive. Just click on the question to reveal the answer.

When can I get divorced?
  • You may apply for a divorce 1 year after separation.
Do I need a lawyer?
  • No. It is a myth that you need to engage a lawyer for divorce, financial separation and parenting matters, in Australia.
  • Some people can achieve an outcome with their partner without having to see a lawyer. Divide can help guide you to reach agreements with your partner and focusing on moving on.
When does it make sense to engage a lawyer?
  • When you require specific legal advice.
  • After you have been to a mediator and been unsuccessful in reaching an outcome in property and/or parenting matters.
  • If you wish your financial settlement to be documented in a binding financial agreement.
  • If violence/abuse is an issue or possible issue.
  • If there is a child custody dispute which cannot be resolved.
Do we each have to get a lawyer?
  • A lawyer can only act for one party. So if one party wants to engage a lawyer, inevitably the other party ends up engaging a lawyer as well.
  • The costs for lawyers vary dramatically, but figures quoted in the media sit around $60,000 for each party. Costs can range from $10,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars for each party.
What should I be asking a lawyer if I am researching my options?
  • What is your hourly rate?
  • Will you charge me to meet with you so I can make an initial assessment as to whether or not I want to engage you to assist with my financial settlement and/or parenting orders?
  • How long do you think this will take?
  • How much do you think this will cost?
  • What is your specialty: financial, parenting or both?

If they cannot give you straight answers to these questions, then you may want to look elsewhere for a family lawyer or decide if you even need one.

Remember if you need a lawyer, your partner will usually need one as well, and they should be asking the same questions to protect your combined wealth.

What do I need to watch out for if I choose to appoint a lawyer?
  • Each party will be required to personally guarantee their legal fees and each party is responsible for payment of their own legal fees, which may come out of your combined assets.
  • Each party is reducing their assets by paying legal fees so the result is that the combined net assets to be allocated between the parties are reduced by the total legal fees that are paid by both parties.
  • A lawyer can only act for one party. Therefore, one lawyer usually means two lawyers, one for each party.
  • You may have a great, honest and ethical lawyer. But unless your partner hires a lawyer with a similar approach, the process may drag on and cost more.
  • While a family lawyer can provide you with legal advice, the vast majority of their time will be spent requesting and collating information from you and your ex-partner, and corresponding between the various parties.
  • You will be doing a lot of the work, as only you/your ex will have access to the information required to complete the financial settlement and parenting orders – eg
    • Bank statements
    • Superannuation statements
    • Mortgage statements
    • Credit card statements
    • Insurance policy information
    • Information relating to motor vehicles and other assets
  • Beware of legal words and terminology from lawyers or on their website. It can be misleading and confusing so people think the process is so difficult that they must need a lawyer and they will be disadvantaged if they don’t engage one.
What tactics do some family lawyers use to maximise their fees?
  • They ‘promise’ clients an outcome which they cannot achieve nor guarantee – and whilst they will try, you will definitely pay for their time and effort.
  • Like all lawyers, all correspondence is via letter, taking time and costing money.
  • Lawyers may respond only in part to a letter from the other party’s lawyers, prompting more correspondence and cost.
  • Lawyers may misrepresent communication between the parties to give the impression of continued angst between the parties.
  • Lawyers may play on an individual’s fears, insecurities and lack of knowledge and provide false hope, at an extremely stressful time for you.
  • How you do you know if you have a good or bad family lawyer? Even if you find a good/honest/ethical family lawyer, what if your ex-partner finds a bad one?
How do we break up with our lawyers?
  • Either party can terminate their legal representation at any time.
  • Both parties would need to terminate their legal representation in order to go through the Divide process.
  • Alternatively, Divide can be engaged to provide the required financial information to both lawyers to reduce costs.
How much does the Divide process cost?
  • There are many variables that will affect the cost of your separation.
  • Typical costs for Divide clients range between $5,000 and $8,000 with the average being about $6,000, that is $3,000 for each party.
  • In addition, court lodgement costs are the same regardless of who lodges them. Consent orders cost $165 and divorce applications cost $900 to lodge.
  • The more you do, the less it will cost you both.
  • The longer it takes, the more it will cost you both.
What happens if we get stuck during the Divide process?
  • If you cannot reach agreement our recommended next step is to engage a Mediator. We can suggest mediators who share our pragmatic approach.
  • The information collated through the Divide process will be critical information for the Mediator, and will cost less to collate than if two lawyers were doing this work. If you have been through the Divide process, we will have:
    • Identified the assets and liabilities in the net asset pool to be divided.
    • Outlined the contributions of each of the parties – financial and non financial.
    • Considered/documented agreements as to how you have agreed to care for the children of the relationship.
    • Assessed/outlined the future needs and earning capacity of each of the parties.
    • If the only issue remaining that the couple cannot agree on is the percentage split, the mediator/lawyers/court will have access to the information collated by Divide.
Do I need to come to see Divide in person or can you manage remotely?
  • We can run the Divide process either in person or remotely.
  • You do not need to be in the same room as your ex partner or engage with them directly, if you choose not to.
Do I need to be present in Australia to apply for a Divorce?
  • To be able to apply for a Divorce in Australia, at the date of filing at least one spouse must be:
    • An Australian citizen
    • Reside in Australia or
    • Resident in Australia for 12 months
How long will the Divide process take?
  • We have successfully completed settlements and assisted couples to lodge the required documents with the Family Court in as little as a few days.
  • The timing of the process is completely dependent on both parties’ ability to engage with us, provide information, and reach agreement.
Can I use Divide and a lawyer?
  • Of course. We are able to work with any family law professionals and mediators.
  • The information collated through the Divide process will be critical information for your lawyers and will cost less to collate than if they were doing this work.
  • We do not act for only one party, we provide support to both parties to allow them to reach an agreement. We can work with each party’s lawyers if that is the option you choose.
What happens after we reach agreement?
  • Once you have agreed, the agreement is formalised by applying to the Family Court for consent orders or entering into a financial agreement.
  • If you agree on parenting arrangements you can lodge what you have agreed with the Family Court via a consent order.
What happens after consent orders are lodged with the Family Court?
  • They are reviewed by a Registrar to ensure they are just and equitable.
  • The Registrar will either approve the consent orders or ask for further information.
What happens after the Consent Orders are approved by the Family Court
  • The orders need to be implemented – and then the assets transferred in accordance with the orders.
  • Should you need to, Divide can recommend professionals to assist you with:
    • Completing conveyancing for property sale/transfer
    • Reviewing Superannuation and Life Insurance Beneficiaries
    • Amending your Will
    • Consider/revoking Power of Attorney
    • Financial planning and investment advice