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How Much Does a Separation Agreement Cost in Australia?

Creating a separation agreement, or binding financial agreement, can cost an unsuspecting person tens of thousands of dollars. However, if you attempt to divide assets after separation without a binding agreement, it may cost you even more.

It’s worth exploring the different options available to you to determine the most cost-effective process for your circumstances. Learn more aboutUsing a Separation Agreement Template in Australia.

The Cost of Having Lawyers Draft Your Agreement

Employing a family law practitioner in Australia is expensive. Your typical divorce lawyer can set you back anywhere between 300-700 dollars per hour. Even if you have very few assets and liabilities, your separation agreement cost may add up to thousands simply for the draft. This agreement would need to be made binding by having independent advice given to both parties, which can cost you thousands more.

The Cost of a DIY Separation Agreement Template

Using a template to create your own financial separation agreement can save you thousands. You can find templates that comply with Australian law for as little as hundred and fifty dollars. These templates can step you through the information an agreement will need.

However, it is important to recognise that an agreement made using a separation agreement template in Australia is only legally binding under the law once you have also received independent legal advice.

If you purchase a separation agreement template from an Australian group such as RP Emery, you also have the opportunity to purchase their Fixed Price Legal Review Packages for only $ for both parties (unless your have a particularly complex situation).

These packages offer you access to Australian lawyers who provide both parties with this legal advice and ensure your drafted document complies with the Family Law Act. These lawyers can work with you over the phone, making things far less costly and stressful.

Save money with a separation agreement template Australia

Applying for Consent Orders

At first glance, applying for a consent order from the court may seem like an  inexpensive alternative to having a financial agreement. After all, the filing fees are less than two hundred dollars. However, consent orders drafted without the help of legal practitioners are commonly refused by the court, leaving you out of pocket with nothing to show for it. Furthermore, the court is rarely willing to give a consent order to any division they consider “inequitable”.

You can learn more about Navigating Your Separation Agreement Costs: A Guide to Smart Spending here.

For example, you may wish to split your property 75/25, based on the value of a company owned by one spouse. This is a common occurrence, as the value is recognised to only exist because of how the spouse runs it, and selling the company would not produce the same value. However, the Family Court is rarely willing to give orders with such an “inequitable” split, so it would be unlikely to consent to such an arrangement. Using a binding financial agreement, you may be able to create such arrangements and have them bound by law. The independent lawyer you engage when creating a binding financial agreement can explain what disadvantages you may face – if they believe you are not fully informed and willingly consenting, they can refuse to provide the certification required to make the agreement binding.

What Is the Cost of Legal Separation v Divorce?

According to Australian Law, legal separation is simply when two people no longer live as a couple. A single party can instigate this, and you can be legally separated under one roof. You do not need to register a separation, and no cost is involved.

Even though you may not yet be divorced, many government services require you to notify them in the case of separation. Centrelink will require proof of separation if either party receives payment from them. You will need to fill out a Separation Details Form and may need to supply further paperwork if you are separated under one roof.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

After twelve months of separation, you can apply for a divorce. You can apply together or individually, and the process of filing for a divorce can be done online. Filing for divorce currently costs $990, but this can be reduced to $330 in special circumstances.

Are There Benefits to Staying Married but Separated?

There are few benefits to staying married. Until divorce, neither party may remarry, and those who have not updated their Will may have the majority of their estate automatically go to the other person. Even after divorce, unless a financial separation has occurred you still have your assets and debts entangled with the other person. Even if you choose to separate without divorce, it is vital you become financially separated as soon as possible.

What if We Are Living Apart but Not Legally Separated?

Living apart is not the only requirement to being considered legally separated. While you may separate from your partner without their consent, you must still inform them of this situation. If you are living apart and one party believes they are still in a relationship, there may be cause for a dispute. If you are afraid of such a situation, seek legal advice. Inform a third party of your separation and consider creating a declaration statement.

Ready to take the First Step on the Peaceful Path to Settlement?

Start saving time, stress, and money now! Get on the Peaceful Path to Settlement by downloading our professionally drafted separation agreement template kit.

Click here to download our Separation Agreement kit