So you have separated from your spouse.  You don’t know what happens next but you know you want a divorce.  Well what is a divorce?  In Australia a Divorce is simply the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.  In Australia a divorce can only be applied for after you have been separated for at least 12 months.

Getting a divorce is quite different to getting a property settlement.  A property settlement can and should be considered early in a separation, even before you are eligible to apply for a divorce.

The first step in the process will be to gather whatever documentation you can to establish what assets are owned by you and your partner as well as what liabilities there are.

The first step in the divorce process therefore would be to gather up as much of the relevant documentation as possible.  Once you have that information you can then create a schedule of the assets and liabilities of each of you and you.  Once you have this schedule you should take it to a lawyer for more detailed advice on your entitlements.  Here at AK Family Law we offer an obligation free first appointment for all family law matters.

How can you work out what you are entitled to if you don’t know what the pool of assets are?

If you don’t know what the assets are, or if you can’t get your hands on documentation, then don’t worry, a good family lawyer will know what to look for, and how to get it.

So what documents should you look to gather?  The list below is a good start:-

  1. Marriage certificate;
  2. Birth certificates of any children;
  3. Copies of the latest bank or credit union statements;
  4. Details of all shares and or other investments;
  5. Yours and your partners income tax returns for at least the last financial year;
  6. The last years taxation returns or financial statements for any trust or company that you and or your husband are involved in;
  7. Statements from Centrelink showing pension payment details;
  8. Your latest superannuation member statement for each of yours and your partners super funds;
  9. Any appraisals for any real estate that you own;
  10. Any trust deeds or company constitution;
  11. The settlement statement for the purchase of any real estate each of you may own;
  12. The registration documents for any motor vehicles;
  13. Details of any inheritances either of you may have received during the relationship
  14. Details of any compensation payments each of you may have received during the relationship or be entitled to;
  15. Any medical records which may indicate a diminished ability to work.

The first step in the divorce process, once you have separated, or know you are going to separate would be to gather up as much information about the financial position of not only yourself but your former partner.

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