For most of us, long term relationships and marriage mean “for keeps”. This is particularly so when there are children involved. But not all relationships have that happy “happy ever after” ring.

A relationship breakdown will often leave the parties experiencing feelings of remorse, guilt, sadness and grief. And sometimes, a real sense of relief.

What does the law say?
Whatever the reasons for the breakdown of your relationship, it is important to understand that the Australian Family law jurisdiction is a “no fault” jurisdiction. This means, issues such as “Who caused the breakdown of the relationship?” are simply not relevant.

While divorce following separation for a period of 12 months is generally very straightforward, if there are children of the marriage, the Court will need to be satisfied that the proposed care arrangements are in each of their best interests.

With parenting arrangements concerning children under 18 years of age, the overarching question is:

• Are the proposed arrangements in the best interests of the children?

When dealing with division of matrimonial property, relevant questions include:

• What financial assets did each of the parties have at the commencement of the marriage/ relationship?
• What was the duration of the marriage or relationship?
• What contributions, financial or otherwise did each party bring to the marriage/ relationship?
• What are the future needs of each of the parties

Your wellbeing is important
Moving out of a troubled marriage or dysfunctional relationship is a painful journey, often fraught with complex emotions. Unless carefully managed, these can deteriorate into a destructive and costly process for both parties.

Professional counselling is encouraged, not only to assist dealing with the inevitable feelings of grief and sense of loss at the breakdown of your relationship, but also to assist in managing emotions around formulating agreement concerning the future care of the children and division of property.

Legal advice can help you define priorities
It is important that you choose a Family Lawyer who will work with you in coming to terms with your changed circumstances and will take the time to explore what is important to you and your family. This will help you achieve a resolution in the most cost effective and timely manner possible. It will also, wherever possible, help you keep important relationships intact.

If you would like a confidential discussion, contact Deborah Tresise, Solicitor on 02. 9258 1108. Or send me an email: [email protected]

Important Disclaimer: The content of this publication is general in nature and for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.


Darling Point Road, Darling Point NSW


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  • Key Words: marriage, relationship, separation, divorce, de facto, children