The rate of divorces has increased drastically in recent years, not just in Australia but in many parts of the world. This is due to many reasons but most will agree that the change to no-fault divorces has increased the rate of divorce. Whereas years ago, couples had to prove the their spouse was “unfit” or did something wrong, with a no-fault divorce couples can obtain a divorce by merely stating they no longer wish to be married. Regardless of the reason a couple chooses to get a divorce, it’s in their best interest to find a good divorce lawyer.
Australia has very clear and relatively easy-to-satisfy divorce laws. The only requirements are that you be domiciled in Australia, be an Australian citizen or an Australian resident for at least 12 months. If you meet these requirements, and have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months, you can file for a divorce in Australia. In certain cases, the spouses are not required to attend their court hearing. One of these situations is if there are no children under the age of 18. If you do have children under the age of 18, and both you and your spouse sign a joint divorce application, you will not need to make a court appearance unless the court waives this requirement for some reason.
In spite of how easy it is to obtain a divorce in Australia, it will still be beneficial for you to have a divorce lawyer, particularly if minor children and/or property are involved. A good divorce lawyer can help you with separation, divorce, property settlement, child custody, maintenance and defacto property settlement. Occasionally, a couple will choose to handle a divorce themselves without the assistance of a divorce lawyer. This is not recommended unless there are no children or assets and both spouses are in full agreement of the simplicity of the divorce. In all other cases, a divorce lawyer is highly recommended to help stand up for your rights regarding the many issues involving family law and divorce.
Australia has made every effort to make divorce as easy, inexpensive and pain free as possible for the couple by requiring the using of arbitration in divorce cases. The private arbitration system for divorces was implemented by the federal Attorney-General of Australia to help eliminate the many disputes brought on by divorce. Divorce lawyers authorized by the courts will handle the arbitration. The couples seeking the divorce can choose their own divorce lawyer from the court-appointed list. The main purpose of the arbitration is to help resolve money issues. Arbitrators, however, have no authority to rule on disputes involving child custody.
Many people confuse arbitration with mediation or believe they are the same thing when they are actually quite different. A good divorce lawyer can explain the divorce an assist you with your needs during your divorce proceedings. A mediator cannot make a decision for or against a wife or husband but is there to listen to both sides and offer suggestions on how they can both compromise to come to an agreeable solution. If the couple cannot come to an agreement, the job of the mediator is over and an arbitrator is brought into the case. In some cases, however, the mediator is asked to come to a decision for the couple, although this is not recommended because it’s often difficult for a mediator to suddenly switch roles and become an arbitrator.
Arbitrators are divorce lawyers set by the court and can set their own fees, which can often be quite expensive. Couples have the choice of choosing their own arbitrator if they’re not happy with the one chosen by the court. A divorce can be a small matter between two individuals but can also be a huge court case involving a couple, their children and jointly owned property. In such a case, you will want a good divorce lawyer. You will want to make sure you have a lawyer that is experienced enough to help you in your divorce. Because there are many circumstances in divorces, you may need a checklist of questions for your divorce lawyer to help ensure you are getting the best possible divorce lawyer for your needs, some of which may include:
1. How many divorces have they handled? You do not want a divorce lawyer with little or no experience in divorces. Unless they’ve actually handled a divorce, they’re not going to know what to expect or if there courts lean towards any certain trends. 2. What is their specialty in divorces? Although some divorces may be simple, some involve property settlements, custody battles, child support, maintenance, etc. You’ll need to know your divorce lawyer has experience that will meet your needs. 3. What kind of reputation do they have in divorce cases? You may notice in divorces of wealthy couples, women seeking large settlements often seek the same divorce lawyer or couples seeking custody will use divorce lawyers that are successful in these issues. Find out what your divorce lawyer’s success rate is. 4. What are the costs? The cost of divorce can be as low as hundreds (doing it yourself) and as high as thousands of dollars. Have your divorce lawyer explain what the expenses will be. Find out if there are any expenses that can be lessened or eliminated without hurting your case. 5. How many arbitrations have they been involved in? If they are a court-appointed arbitrator, as is customary in Australia divorce cases, they’ve probably been in arbitrations before. Find out how many and how they resulted. 6. What type of arbitrations has your divorce lawyer been involved in? If you suspect your divorce is going to become a nasty fight for custody, you want a divorce lawyer that’s experienced and successful in child custody cases. 7. What does your divorce lawyer hope to accomplish in your divorce? Have him explain the most and least he hopes to get for you. Don’t be afraid to compare divorce lawyers if you don’t feel the first one you see can help you. 8. If asked, would your divorce lawyer be willing to work as an arbitrator and mediator? The answer you get from your lawyer may determine if he’s the right divorce lawyer for you. Lawyers compared is a handy online guide for individuals seeking the services of a lawyer in Australia. This online guide covers such areas as divorce lawyers, family lawyers, commercial lawyers and more.