It is said in some circles that getting a divorce is cathartic; that is to say it is like a fresh birth or start in your life.

The reality of life is that people and relationships are fluid and that a decision made 5, 10 or even 30 years ago may not be the decision which suits you today. Whilst a leopard may never change its spots the reality is that people do change (or perhaps don’t to their detriment) and this can lead to the ending of a relationship and subsequent divorce.

In this Blog we explore why as part of this process a divorce can really change your life.

New relationships

It is commonly said that humans are not solitary creatures and that they crave the company of others. Thus it is the case that commonly people who end one long term relationship wish to cut ties with this previous relationship both in a figurative and legal sense. In the legal aspect the Application for Divorce and finalisation of this process ends the last legal barrier which may otherwise impact on a new relationship either allowing you to remarry or simply getting the old relationship behind you. This can be just as important for your new partner as it is for the person who has re-partnered as there is a feeling of greater mutual commitment when the previous apron strings are finally cut.

Planning for your future

As is touched on in previous Blogs getting a divorce allows you to plan for your future in a legal sense.

Making up a fresh Will, Power of Attorney and Advanced Health Directive documents can be done without any concern of your former spouse being able to interfere in your decision making process. Holding that Divorce Certificate in your hand gives you the freedom to start anew.

What’s in a Name

For females who marry a majority adopt the surname of their spouse. When a relationship ends the difficult decision needs to be made whether to revert to your maiden name or some other name. Consideration as to whether there are children what surname should they use can impact on this consideration. However, before you can make that decision you need to obtain a formal legal divorce to have your legal paperwork updated to revert to your maiden name or previously used name. Whilst it is possible to be known by any name provided it is not for fraudulent purposes, for your passport, your driver’s licence and generally dealing with Government authorities your married name will need to be used unless you are formally divorced.

Divorce in lieu of Property Settlement

Your legal divorce and resolution of your property matters are generally separate. Filing of Court documents finalising your property settlement are difference documents to those which finalise your marriage. Preparation of your property settlement documentation can be an expensive exercise and the costs for even a Consent Agreement may exceed $5,000.00. Where the property pool is relatively modest or the assets to be retained by each of the parties are already in their name one alternative to property settlement Orders is undertaking your Application for Divorce following 12 months of separation. Once the Divorce Order is made the clock is then running in relation to a future property settlement. What is meant by this is that after 12 months following your divorce either party is not at liberty (or able) to bring an Application for property division between them without the Leave (or permission) of the Court. Where assets are already divided and in each party’s respective name Leave is rarely given. In fact Leave is generally only given where there are substantial joint assets still held in joint names. So rather than spend $5,000 on a Property Settlement it might be just as easy to spend $550.00 on your divorce (plus filing fee) and kill 2 birds with 1 stone as the saying goes.

*You should always seek independent legal advice as to your property settlement rights prior to adopting this opinion or practice*

Divorce as a feel good tool

There is the general uplift of finishing anything. Whilst the ending of a marriage is never to be taken lightly and can have significant consequences, the taking of a step to end an unhappy marriage can at least give you some clarity for your future. Life can be a winding river and we only have one opportunity to float down same. By taking this step to obtain a formal divorce you can pump fresh air into your dinghy and explore what lies ahead.