09 Jun Should you listen to your friends about your property settlement?
Have your friends told you about their property settlement or issues with children through the courts? If so you need to realise that those orders are in relation to your friends’ personal circumstances. We hear all the time from new clients that their friend got a certain percentage of assets in a property settlement so they think they should get the same. That’s not the case. There is a 4-step process which assists us to help clients work out what their entitlements are with property settlement and a lot of that depends on a client’s personal circumstances. For example, if you own a business or businesses, and depending on your level of involvement and input into the business, and also the length of time you have been living with the other party, this can affect your entitlements. So it’s not just a matter of “my friend got this so this is what I should get”. You need to see a professional who can advise of your entitlements relevant to your personal circumstances.
Did you know that you can have a Child Support Agreement as part of your property settlement? We can draft these agreements for you depending on your circumstances and can liaise with the Child Support Agency to ensure that your agreement is valid and enforceable for your circumstances. Child Support can be a trial for most parents; we can explain the various processes for Child Support in Plain English and actions you can take if you are dissatisfied with the current assessment.
With children’s issues, although there are some set procedures through the court process for sorting out issues with respect to the children’s best interests, some additional factors may impact on this, such as criminal offences, drug, alcohol and other addictions, mental health issues of any of the parties and any Families SA involvement. The child’s best interests includes both parents having a meaningful relationship with the child and ensuring that the child is protected from harm. And remember that the child will often have significant and meaningful relationships with extended family members so bear in mind at all times that whatever decisions you make will affect your child for the rest of their lives. You need to ensure that both parents are totally focused on the child or children and moving forward with that in mind.