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Defining when a relationship starts and when it ends is not as simple as you might think  By Ann Northcote, Director – Farrar Gesini Dunn One of the first things a family lawyer will ask a new client is when their relationship started and ended.  To some people this is not a difficult question.  They may not have lived together until their date of marriage and that after a period of unhappiness, they moved out on a particular day.  The reason why it is important is because the legislation is built around concepts such as the duration of the marriage or relationship and contributions made including indirect contributions, non-financial contributions, and contributions as homemaker. The duration of a defacto or same sex relationship is also important for jurisdictional purposes.  Unless you have had a child together or substantial contributions have been made, for defacto and same sex couples you need…

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In 2006 there were major changes to the laws concerning child custody in Australia.  The aim of the reforms was to bring about generational change in family law and the cultural shift in the management of parental separation away from litigation and towards co-operative parenting. The Government set up 65 Family Relationship Centres around Australia to help people reach co-operative parenting solutions without ever needing to go to court.  Family Lawyers, observed was that there was a significant level of misunderstanding in the community about the changes in the law brought about by the 2006 reforms.  Many people thought that the law now required that children spend equal time with each parent after separation, or at least adopted that position as the starting point. It does not. The widespread nature of that misunderstanding has had a number of effects.  It has led to agreements being reached between parties where one…

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The Federal Circuit Court of Australia as well as the Family Court have the power to deal with divorces (see Part VI of the Family Law Act 1975). The Family Court website sets out the process for applying for a divorce and also provides information on the requirements. You can have a look at that here: www.familycourt.gov.au Although the process of applying for a divorce can be relatively straightforward, in some cases it can be more complicated and it is very important that all steps are completed in order to ensure that the divorce goes ahead. The term ‘separation’ also has specific legal meaning. If you would like further information in relation to divorce and separation please call or email us to make an appointment with one of our lawyers. Requirements for applying for a divorce In order to apply for a divorce in Australia, there are a number of elements…

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Filing the application and the divorce hearing The application for divorce can be made jointly or by only one party. Once the application is completed and the relevant documents are attached (e.g. a certified copy of the marriage certificate and any translations which may be required), the application must be signed and witnessed appropriately. It is then filed with the Court upon payment of a filing fee. The application is then given a date for the divorce hearing before the Court. Whether or not you or a legal representative will be required to attend the divorce hearing will depend on whether there are children of the marriage under the age of 18 years and whether the application is made solely or jointly. Serving the divorce on the other party If the application for divorce is a sole application then it will be necessary to prove to the Court that the…

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