The period immediately following a decision to separate can be very challenging, particularly if there are children involved. It’s a time to gather the facts and begin to put in place a plan for how you will navigate this process and take your next steps. We are experienced in speaking with clients at this early stage and understand you may be in shock, or feeling scared about how your future will look. Our team of wellbeing associates can provide advice and support while our experienced custody lawyers begin the process towards your desired outcome.
Parenting Plans & Orders
Your children’s wellbeing is crucial. We understand that, both from our own personal experiences of divorce, and from our professional perspective. We work with you to ensure your children have certainty about who they will spend time with during the school term and holidays, the arrangements for special days, communication with each parent and arrangements for overseas holidays. There is much to consider in parenting plans and parenting Orders and we will assist you to understand what children and parents need in such plans to best help a child adjust well to separated parents. We will fight hard to protect you and your children’s rights, and keep the best interests of your children uppermost in mind.
One of the implications of separation is that in the majority of cases the overall net assets from the relationship have to be split between both parties in an equitable way. We’ll negotiate hard for your fair share of the net assets and explain to you the factors the Family Law Act takes into consideration in determining these equitable splits and how the final agreed property splits or desired outcome can be achieved by the parties.
It can be tempting to want to ‘walk away’ just to exit an uncomfortable situation quickly, but this can have negative long-term implications for you financially. We’ll look over any informal agreements you’ve made and let you know if your proposal is equitable after considering the factors a court would consider in determining the property settlement. Or we can start from scratch and guide you through from start to finish. It’s important for Lapointe Family Law to take you through the process step by step to ensure you understand your rights and ultimately achieve the best possible outcome based on your particular situation.
While child support is typically arranged by parents directly with the Department of Human Services (Child Support) the system is complex and doesn’t always take into account the particulars of your situation. We can take you through this process and provide advice on your options, for example how to enter into a Binding Child Support Agreement with the other parent to deal with both periodic child support cash payments and non-periodic expenses such as school fees, school-related expenses, medical costs, and extracurricular activities. In addition, we can assist with how to recover unpaid amounts of child support if a payer parent refuses to pay, how to receive your child support as a lump sum, and how to handle this in the most tax effective way.
In some circumstances, Spousal Maintenance is appropriate in addition to Child Support or may be considered on a standalone basis. This often occurs in situations where one partner is unable to support themselves adequately after separation and the other party has the financial capacity to pay the person in financial need. We can explain how Spousal Maintenance works and negotiate a fair outcome for you.
Family violence can take many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional or psychological. In Australian family law, children have a right to a meaningful relationship with both parents, and also the right to be protected from harm. If your situation involves violence, we will work towards a positive legal outcome, while aligned, highly qualified wellbeing professionals can provide the emotional support you may need.
Financial Agreements and Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and financial agreements suit many couples entering relationships later in life. Often, they are prudent where children exist from a former relationship, or in situations involving significant wealth, or when each party brings significantly differing levels of assets into a new relationship. However they are not full proof and without controversy and we will explain the positives and negatives of entering into such agreements and how they impact on your rights under the Family Law Act.
Whatever your reason for considering a Financial Agreement, we’ll ensure you’ve been advised of all your options, and you’re well informed so the best decisions are made.
Collaborative law provided by Lapointe Family Law is a legal process enabling couples who have decided to separate or end their marriage to work with their lawyers and, on occasion, other family professionals in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of court and to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties and their children without the underlying threat of litigation. The process allows parties to have a fair settlement. The voluntary process is initiated when the couple signs a contract (a “participation agreement”) binding each other to the process and disqualifying their respective lawyer’s right to represent either one in any future family-related litigation.