Hello, my name is Robin and I own a medium sized business which is based in a suburb of Perth, Australia. Many business owners do not understand the importance of commercial law on their operations. I know that I certainly didn't when I set out. At first, this wasn't an issue but as my business grew, I realised that if I didn't teach myself about the legal rules in place and seek expert help, I would find myself in serious trouble. I got in touch with a great law firm who helped me to understand exactly what I needed to know. I decided to start this blog to help other business owners.
Ending a relationship is a stressful process. As well as being emotionally taxing, that process is also legally complicated. After years of marriage, you know where your differences lie and understand the reasons that you need to be apart from a person you once loved.
For those reasons, going over your personal issues and grievances with a family law expert might seem like the last thing you want to do. While avoiding legal advice on your relationship issues might seem like an easy solution, it can create long-term problems which exacerbate existing disputes. This summary of your three legal options for ending a relationship will outline why a formal legal process, such as divorce, results in better outcomes for a separated couple.
Separating from your spouse often appears to be the easiest option. During a separation, you live apart and lead different lives, yet you are still legally married. Although this can seem like an easy way to finish your relationship without getting into the legal technicalities, it can have unforeseen consequences later on. Without legal recognition of the end of your relationship, you are still married in terms of family law. That means that your property can still be divided and given to your spouse, even if you haven't lived together for years. Risking your property and potentially undermining your own will is not worth it just to avoid one quick session with a lawyer.
A divorce is an effective option to legally end a relationship. Surprisingly, many couples find that the experience is cathartic and brings closure to their relationship. Once you have lived apart for 12 months, you can apply for a divorce. Applications for divorce are almost never rejected unless the requirement for living apart has not been met. A joint application, where both spouses apply to divorce, is the easiest way to divorce. If your spouse does not want to divorce, a sole application to which they respond is also an option. The method of divorce application has no bearing on the legal status of the divorce.
Many people are unsure of the difference between a divorce and an annulment (also known as a nullity). In family law, a divorce ends the relationship at the point when it was sought. On the other hand, an annulment makes the marriage invalid from the start—legally, it's as if the marriage never existed. Annulments are rare, and they only take place where the marriage was induced by duress or was otherwise illegal.