Sadly, in Australia, nearly every third marriage ends in divorce. And statistics show the divorce rate in Australia is increasing. In 2009, 49,448 divorces were granted – up 2,239 from the previous year. This is the first increase in the annual number of divorces in almost a decade.
In addition, nearly half of all divorces involve children. In 2008 alone, 43,000 children experienced the divorce of their parents. This does not include children who experience the breakdown of their parents’ defacto relationship.
According to the Australian Bureau Statistics, around one in four people aged 18-34 years in 2006-07 reported experiencing the divorce or permanent separation of their parents during their childhood. By contrast, less than one in ten people aged 65 years and over had experienced parental divorce or permanent separation before they were 18 years old.
Unfortunately, divorce is here to stay and becoming a more and more important feature of modern Australian society – along with declining marriage rates and increasing co-habitation. And given that money problems are a leading cause of relationships breaking down, a continuing weak economy means that separation and divorce are likely to continue rising.
So where do Financial Separation Agreements come into the picture?
With the increase in separations in Australia, the courts are not able to cope and so have now focused on measures requiring partners to try to work out their differences without or before going to court. By agreeing your separation in advance, and formalising it through a Financial Separation Agreement, there is no need to go to court – unless one of you contests it, children are involved or you cannot agree your separation of assets.
“It is best to try to work out as much as you can with respect to the separation of your assets prior to going to court. The court does not look favourably upon anyone who needs the court to sort out their personal differences – they see it as a waste of money and valuable court time. To look after this yourself through a Separation Agreement means it can be a less adversarial process and will save court and solicitor costs, a saving which can be substantial.” says Vanessa Emilio, CEO and founder of Legal123.com.au.
To help people save time and money, Legal123 has designed an easy template to step people through the process of writing a Separation Agreement. There are helpful online videos explaining how to agree an amicable and fair separation of assets.
Divorce is the most stressful thing you go through in your life – and can be the most costly. Remember, you will be charged for everything you ask a solicitor to do for you, so the more you do yourself and the more you prepare, the less it will cost you. Even if you are unable to finalise a Financial Separation Agreement, the further and the closer you are to determining the final contested issues, the less it will cost you.