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New found love after separation

For those lucky to find new love after separation, there are some things for the new partner to be aware of if there are unresolved parenting and/or property proceedings on foot.

Parenting

Litigated parenting disputes can result in parties being required to exchange very personal and intimate information so that the Court can be satisfied that any parenting orders made are in the best interests of the children.

If a party has re-partnered it is almost always necessary for the new partner to be involved in the parenting proceedings.  Their level of involvement can include:

  1. Being interviewed by a child court expert or expert report writer as to the new relationship and their relationship with the children.
  2. Providing an affidavit or statement to the Court.
  3. Appearing in Court to give evidence.

In addition, if there are any allegations of domestic violence or a history of involvement between a new partner and the Department of Communities and Justice (formerly DOCS/FACS), subpoenas may be issued to the Police and other government departments for all information regarding the new partner.

However, if the new partner does not live with a party to the dispute, their involvement in any parenting proceedings can be limited.

What can further complicate parenting proceedings is where the party to the parenting dispute and their new partner have a child.  The Family Law Courts regard siblings as important in a child’s live and this can create a further level of complexity to the making of parenting orders.

It is important to obtain legal advice regarding a new partner’s involvement early to avoid any issues arising in parenting litigation.

Property

Similar to parenting proceedings, a new partner’s involvement can become a relevant factor in property disputes that are in the Family Law Courts.

Both parties to a property dispute are required to provide financial disclosure which includes disclosing the income of any person they reside with.  If a new partner is residing in the home, their income and any financial support they receive from that party or provide to that party is disclosable.

The relevance of this information is as set out in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).  An example is if a party re-partners and is not required to pay rent due to the fact they are living with their new spouse, it will be difficult for that party to claim spousal maintenance from their former partner.

There can be circumstances where subpoenas can be issued to obtain financial information from the new partner if such information is not disclosed, including subpoenas to banks, employers and other financial providers.

Given the ability for the Family Law Courts to involve third parties, it is important to obtain legal advice early to ensure an understanding of the consequences that can flow from living with a party to a property dispute prior to the dispute being resolved.

What can further complicate family law proceedings is where a party and the new partner acquire property together.  Does this get included in the property pool to be divided between the parties to the first relationship?  Sometimes, yes however there needs to be a determination made as to how the property was acquire and from what source of funds.

If you have entered into a new relationship and are concerned about the impact this will have on your current family law proceedings, contact Lewis Family Lawyers today.

Memberships and Associations

Lewis Family Lawyers

Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au

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Sydney Office

Level 30, 133 Castlereagh Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9159 9049
Mobile: 0438 800 996

Bowral Office

Suite 2B, 11-13 Bundaroo Street
Bowral NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4263 9011

Email: info@lewisfamilylawyers.com.au