Frequently Asked Questions

De facto couples, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, have the same rights as married individuals when it comes to the end of the marriage. The difference is that splitting a de-facto relationship can be more complicated than wrapping up an active formalized one. 

The process for ending both marriages and relationships (de facto) is generally similar – there are just some subtle differences between them depending on the orientation and sexual identity.

In most cases, to apply for a divorce you have been separated from your partner for at least 12 months. However, it is generally recommended that before this period of separation has elapsed one should seek legal advice or take some form of action in advance to avoid any potential pitfalls with the process and attain an idea of what they need to do beforehand along with their spouse.

You have a lot of options when it comes to legal processes that can occur separately from your divorce. In addition, you will want to know what services are necessary for your specific case based on the circumstances and events leading up until now. For example:

  • the division of assets 
  • spousal continuance – where one (former) spouse provides continuous financial support for the other
  • parenting and child care arrangements if kids are involved

De facto couples don’t have to make legal applications to declare their relationship finished, but they do receive the same rights as married couples when it comes to property and child support.

Finishing a de facto couple’s relationship may not be easy; however, this doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your right to spousal maintenance or parenting arrangements if there is an agreement between both parties.

It’s essential to consider all assets when settling a property settlement. These may include the family home, any investment properties you own or have an interest in, superannuation (including retirement funds), investments such as shares and bonds that are listed on stock exchanges; motor vehicles like cars or boats; jewelry including watches, rings, and bracelets; artworks from paintings down to sculptures made of stone – anything can be considered!

There are many reasons why a person may have hidden assets from their spouse, but they can’t be trusted. At the end of it all though, you’ll get what’s rightfully yours! Our forensic accountants and valuers know how to calculate your total worth to determine fairways divide them.

One of the most common decisions a couple will face is how to divide their assets if they decide to divorce. The legal process for determining this includes many factors, including:

  • the financial participation of both parties before, during, and next the relationship
  • the domestic benefactions of both parties
  • the expected needs of both parties
  • the demands of any children, and how that will affect each parent’s needs
  • what is fair in the cases


The separation process can be an emotional rollercoaster. You might want to have a lawyer on standby! It is possible that you do not need to go to court, but it’s usually best if there are formal agreements and decisions made about the children’s well-being as soon after separating as possible. These include:

  • where the kids will live 
  • how oftentimes they will see each parent and how long they will consume with them
  • how important or long-term judgments are made, such as where the kids will go to school
  • what will occur on special days like birthdays and festivals
  • how much time children will waste with other people, for example, their grandparents

There are a variety of ways to make parenting arrangements if you and your partner can work out some sort of agreement, or by each party’s solicitors negotiating on their behalf. These include:

  • an informal spoken or written agreement with the other parent – this is not an agreement made in the castle, and it is not enforceable by a court if both parties change their mind, move, or breaks the agreement. This is normally only a short-term option. 
  • a parenting plan – an agreement reached by both parents, usually with the assistance of a third party (which could be a lawyer, mediator, or family counselor). A parenting plan is not enforceable by a court, but it will be used as a source should a court case happen later on, so it’s essential to get right. 
  • a consent order (or parenting order) – a legal document lodged in a court that describes each party’s obligations. Consent orders can be made without physically arriving in court, but are lawfully binding. 

If you and your partner cannot reach an agreement, there are court orders that will be made for legal enforcement. The most important factor is what the children want – a judge would base their decision on what’s best for them. What kids want may not necessarily coincide with what’s best for them but judges always take into consideration how much weight to put in a child’s opinion depending on their age and other factors such as medical issues or disabilities they might have.

Spousal maintenance and child support are now analyzed as separate payments. Spousal maintenance is for a spouse, while child support is to help with the costs of raising children. Separate from our property rights, these additional expenses can add up quickly when it comes time to divide assets in divorce proceedings.

Child support agreements can be a complex and tedious process. However, with the right guidelines and advice, you won’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by your soon-to-be ex’s lawyer!

In general child support is calculated using complicated methods that assess how much time children spend with each parent, their respective incomes/earnings in comparison to one another, but parents are able to opt-out of this system if they want – so it may be wise for them not only seek legal advice before signing an agreement themselves (or having someone else sign on behalf) but also make sure they’re getting independent counsel as well just in case there is some sort of conflict or disagreement down the line.

Child support can last beyond 18 years old in certain circumstances, such as the child still being at school or university. In some states this is referred to as “child maintenance,” but in NSW it’s still called “child support.”

Spousal maintenance is a difficult concept to comprehend, and there are many variables that can affect if it is awarded or not. Divorcees must apply within 12 months of their divorce while de-facto partners who have separated from each other must wait 2 years before applying for spousal support. Factors considered in regards to the awarding of spousal maintenance include your age, income level at the time you filed as well as both parties’ ability to work post-separation with consideration given towards whether either party’s ability was hindered by their relationship status (i.e., one partner could be completely dependant on another).

Financial agreements are a way for the couple to decide what will happen with their assets in case of separation. This is usually recommended when one or both parties have significant wealth, but it can be done before marriage as well.

Extra: A binding financial agreement may help ease some concerns about how you might manage your shared finances if things go south later on down the road.

The BFA is a useful tool for those in need of quick and easy legal settlements. This can save the court costs as well as emotional strain that comes with negotiation during difficult times.

It can be difficult to know what the cost of a family law attorney will be for your case. We are here to help you find out and provide feedback on any changes that happen during your case, so we have an understanding of how much it might end up costing before things go too far in court with fees starting piling up!

At CLW, our goal is not just about winning cases or making money but also helping those going through a tough time by providing them with peace of mind knowing they’re being looked after as best possible while dealing with their legal issues.

Family law matters are complex and varied, but rest assured that we’re here to help you. With your specific details in mind, our experienced attorneys will be able to provide an accurate estimate of the length of time it may take for a case like yours. In situations where safety is at risk or children are involved, there might also be options available when applying to court which can speed up proceedings considerably – these cases involve instances of family violence and abuse.