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If you are considering separating from your partner, we can provide you with advice about your legal rights. We can also assist you with how best to plan your separation to minimise any conflict. We also provide referrals to counsellors or mediators.


Separation
Separation is probably one of the most traumatic things that will happen to you in your lifetime.  Along with the emotion surrounding the ending of a relationship, there can be an overwhelming amount of practical matters to attend to as you divide property and debt, and separate one household into two.  
 
If you wish to separate, or your partner has left, then it is worth seeing a lawyer early to find out your rights, and your responsibilities, so that you can make the separation as manageable as possible. This will allow both parties, and the children, to move forward with dignity.
The Process
Usually before an application can be made to a court for parenting orders, parties must attend compulsory family dispute resolution (mediation).  There can be a very long waiting lists to get into community family dispute resolution, so it may be that some temporary arrangements must be made.  Seeing a lawyer early can help you negotiate workable options.
Advice
Negotiating a settlement
 
If possible, it is best to stay out of court and to sort things out between you. Negotiating a settlement that both of you can live with is likely to save you a lot of money, time and stress. Settling will be quicker, easier, cheaper and probably get you closer to what you want than a court decision will.
 
If you and your former partner are already in agreement, or are close to reaching an agreement, lawyers can help you to formalise settlements, without going to court.
 
If you think you could reach an agreement but emotions are running high or there are a few things that you just cannot figure out together, you may wish to consider mediation or engaging a lawyer to help you find new ways of resolving the situation.
 
Even if you go to court you can still decide to come to an agreement with your former partner. This can be done even in the middle of a trial, although obviously, earlier is better (and thousands of dollars cheaper).

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