When Should You See a Family Lawyer?
The first step in the journey toward separation or divorce is to decide that your marriage or relationship has come to an end.
As soon as you begin to seriously consider a separation or divorce, it is prudent to consult with a family lawyer.
Predicting Your Outcome
So much of your stress would be alleviated, if you knew how your world would look at the end of your Family Law journey. The role of a family lawyer is not to encourage or discourage a decision to separate. Rather, we offer you the confidence to move forward, by allowing you to foresee how your issues will likely unfold. This will allow you to begin to make constructive plans and to envisage a future that is secure, stable and healthy.
Avoiding Early Mistakes
Our family lawyers will also provide guidance, to ensure that you avoid steps that could be harmful to your interests should you proceed with a separation or divorce. Please be aware that informal decisions that you make early on can damage your long term outcome. Consult with a lawyer before you act.
If you wish to proceed with a separation or divorce and you don’t know how to tell your spouse, please see the article “How To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce” for guidance from a therapist and divorce coach about taking this step.
Time Limits for Action
Upon separation, you must attend to certain Family Law issues within specified, limited time limits. Your failure to act within these legal time limits could prejudice or extinguish your rights to make certain critical claims, including claims relating to the sharing of property.
It is essential that you contact a family lawyer promptly, to ensure that you preserve your rights on separation or divorce. Our family lawyers will notify you of your timeline for action and ensure that your rights are not extinguished as a result of delay.
Also, if you are separated but have yet to obtain your divorce, you must take steps to avoid unexpected or unwanted results arising from the automatic operation of law.
For example, if you were to pass away before obtaining your divorce, your spouse might be able to claim rights to your estate, whether or not he/she was named in your Will. Your family law lawyer will ensure that you take steps to avoid such unexpected or unwanted consequences.
When Are You Legally Separated?
“Am I legally separated?” This is a commonly asked family law question.
Whether you are characterized as “separated” depends upon the context in which your question is posed. For example, the criteria required to be characterized as separated for the purpose of qualifying for support may differ from the criteria necessary to be characterized as separated for income tax purposes.
The date of your separation is critical in determining issues of property division and support.
Our family lawyers will assist you in identifying your status and qualifying for the specific rights that you seek to claim.
When Can You Seek A Divorce?
You may seek a divorce on the following grounds:
- having lived separate and apart for a period of one year;
- cruelty; or
Claims for divorce based on cruelty or adultery are relatively rare.
Our family lawyers can guide you as to the ground that is best suited to your needs. A divorce may be obtained on an uncontested basis, by way of an over-the-counter Court application. The timing of this application and the speed with which it can be completed will vary depending on your circumstances. Our family lawyers will educate you as to how this process ought to unfold for you.