Property and Financial settlements
Agreeing on the way that financial affairs should be settled after a relationship breakdown can be challenging. We can help to ensure that property and finances are divided fairly, giving due consideration to your unique circumstances.
If your relationship has broken down, you will need to decide how your property and finances are to be divided. This is a difficult but important process.
You will need to consider the following financial matters:
The division of any assets such as a house, car, furniture and savings
Spousal support and maintenance
Child support if relevant
The existence of any agreements, such as a prenuptial agreement or cohabitation agreement, will affect the division of property and finances when a relationship breaks down. These agreements, usually made at the beginning of the relationship, will have covered issues such as the financial settlement (including superannuation) after marriage, financial maintenance of one spouse by another after marriage, and any incidental matters.
In the event that you cannot reach an amicable settlement with your former spouse or partner, you will generally be required to participate in a dispute resolution process, such as mediation. If you still cannot reach an agreement, then an application for a property order will need to be made to the court. This means that the court will ultimately decide on the way that property and finances are divided. You will each be required to disclose your financial circumstances fully to the court.
Stacks Law Firm will look at the details of your particular situation and help you reach a property and financial settlement with your former spouse or partner that offers you the best long-term outcome. We know that this is a challenging time and will approach your matter with the utmost sensitivity and professionalism. In all matters we will try to facilitate agreement between the two parties in order to avoid the need for a court hearing.
Commonly asked questions about Property and financial settlements:
What factors will the court consider when determining the financial split?
The total value of all of the assets and liabilities, including joint and individual assets. This is a complicated process that must give consideration to taxation issues and whether assets have appreciated or depreciated.
The contributions made by each party, including both financial (eg income) and non-financial contributions (eg being a stay-at-home carer to children). The court will take into account any assets that either party owned prior to the relationship.
The future needs of each party. Among other things, the court will take into account the age and health of each person, the capacity of each party to earn money, the property and assets belonging to each party, the existence of any new relationship that might change the financial circumstances of one party, and importantly, the parenting responsibilities where children are involved.
Whether the division of assets and finances is just and equitable.
What is the time limit for making property orders?
It is generally within 12 months of a divorce becoming finalised, or within two years from the date of separation for a de facto relationship.
What if we can reach an amicable agreement
It is always preferable to negotiate an agreement out of court. If you have come to an agreement then you can file an application for consent orders with the Family Court in order to make your agreement legally binding. Stacks can help you to reach a fair agreement with your former spouse or partner, and draft and file the appropriate documentation with the court. Once approved, the court will seal the consent orders, making them binding and legally enforceable.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that allows you to discuss openly what you want to achieve, including property settlement, arrangements for your children and child support. It is a flexible settlement tool and can be either formal or informal, where a mediator helps you to identify and resolve points in dispute. It can help you to understand your former partner’s goals in the property settlement, and get things “on the table”. If you can agree, then this will be formally documented through written consent orders.