Frequently Asked Questions

At Karen L Haga & Associates we understand that you need access to information, and you don’t want to spend hours trying to find it. Listed below are a number of websites that provide useful information for couples who are experiencing a relationship breakdown, as well as any articles of interest that might help to explain some of the legal issues surrounding separation and divorce. Information Guides: The Family Law Dispute Process The Court Process Planning for Your Future - Wills and Powers of Attorney A Guide to Administering a Deceased Estate Useful Links and

In Australia the Family Law act operates on a “no-fault” basis which means that you do not have to prove that one party is at fault in the breakdown of a marriage – you just need to show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably and that you have been living apart for 12 months or more. Once the 12 months has expired you can lodge an Application for divorce with the Federal Circuit Court and the hearing usually takes place 6-8 weeks after the Application is lodged. Before granting the divorce, the Court must be satisfied that proper arrangements have been made

Your first consultation with Karen L Haga & Associates is very important. At the meeting we will discuss your personal situation in detail to better understand how we can help you moving forward. It is at this meeting that we decide which approach to take (i.e negotiating directly with your ex-partner or spouse, collaborative law or court-based divorce proceedings) and how things should proceed. It would be beneficial for you to bring along any relevant correspondence you have had with your ex-partner, details regarding your financial situation including assets and liabilities, and

Spouses who are getting divorced can finalise a property settlement at any time after separation and before either spouse has applied for a divorce. Once a divorce has been obtained however, you only have 12 months in which to apply for a property settlement. If more than a year has passed since obtaining your divorce, you have to seek the court’s permission to make an application. In most cases, couples can reach an agreement on how their property will be divided. The traditional approach is for the lawyers to handle the negotiations, usually by written correspondence, and then when

Generally speaking it is much better for the parents to make decisions regarding children’s issues rather than the Courts. Recent legislative changes recognise this fact and have made it compulsory for separating parents to attend Family Dispute Resolution services in an effort to reach agreement regarding the children before referring matters to the Court. As parents, you know your children better than anyone. As your legal representatives, we will ensure that your rights and the rights of your children are protected and we will work with you to resolve any children’s issues in

It is important to note that most divorce and separation issues are resolved without the intervention of the Court. When agreements have been made between parties, a Court can formalise the arrangements by making Court Orders to ensure that the decisions are binding on both parties. You do not have to be in attendance at the Court during this process.

One of the most important issues following a family breakdown is to ensure that the children of the marriage are adequately cared for and receive enough on-going financial support. As parents you are legally responsible for your children until they turn 18. Child support is generally paid by the non-custodial parent and can either be an amount that is mutually agreed upon by the parents, or it can be referred to the Child Support Agency for calculation and collection. The Child Support Agency uses a formula under the Child Support Assessment Act to calculate the amount payable. You can visit

In general, ex-spouses are expected to support themselves following separation. In some cases, such as when one partner is a high income earner and the other is unable to work due to a physical disability or they are caring for young children, an amount may be payable which would be determined by the Court. Applications for spousal maintenance must be made to the Court within 12 months of obtaining a divorce.

In December 2002 new laws were introduced that enable the Family Court to divide superannuation between separating spouses. These laws mean that if a property settlement goes to court, the Court considers superannuation as part of the total asset pool and can make Orders to split it according to the recommended division between husband and wife.

When granting a divorce, the Court must be satisfied that the relationship is irretrievably broken down and that there is little or no chance of reconciliation. Whilst you will not be forced to attend counselling, if you have been married for less than two years then a certificate from a counsellor should be lodged with the divorce application showing that you and your spouse have considered reconciliation with the help of a counsellor. In some cases the need for a counsellors’ involvement may be waived by the Court. If you and your spouse elect to use the collaborative law approach to