Property Division & Settlements

Dividing Your Assets

SEPARATION & DIVORCE LAWYERS PARRAMATTA, SYDNEY

A property settlement is when you and your former partner divide your assets, liabilities and financial resources after your relationship breaks down. This applies to people who have been married or have been in a de facto relationship.

Do not delay your Property Settlement discussions as there are important time limits that apply for a property settlement to be finalised. Unlike divorce where you must wait 12 months from the date of your separation to apply, the property settlement process can start immediately after separation.

Finances and assets can change from day to day, reducing over time or sometimes quickly, so it is important to begin the process early. The amount to be divided between you is not the amount you have at the date of the separation. It is the property you have between you the day your property settlement is formalised by agreement or at the day of a Court hearing.

We understand that it can be difficult to make a decision about selecting the right people to help you which is why we would like to make it a bit easier for you. If you decide to work with us after your initial appointment, we will credit the cost of the appointment towards your fees, essentially making your initial consultation free. 

This is our way of demonstrating our commitment to providing excellent service. We also offer fixed fees for some services as well as convenient payment options. Ask us for more information about these options in your first meeting. We look forward to assisting you.

When does the Division of our Property NEED TO BE FINALISED?

For de facto property settlements, you must commence court proceedings for property settlement within two years of your relationship breaking down (the date of separation)

If you were married, you have only 12 months from the date of your divorce becoming final.

There are significant risks in delaying a property settlement. The earlier you begin this process, the sooner it can be finalised while the asset pool is still available.

DISCUSS YOUR property settlement goals WITH an experienced family lawyer first.

A small investment in family law advice now often saves a lot of stress and expense later on.

Separation, Divorce and
DIVIDING YOUR PROPERTY

In family law there is a four step process in determining how your finances and assets should be divided. The way the Court decides how your assets should be divided needs to be followed, even where your property settlement does not end up in Court. Below is an introductory guide about what you can expect from the process with our family lawyers..

STEP 1

The first step is to identify the asset pool being:

  • The assets and their values, (e.g. house, superannuation, cars, shares, furniture);
  • The liabilities and their values (e.g. mortgage, credit cards, personal loans); and 
  • Financial resources and their values (e.g. inheritance, pension entitlements, Trusts that you and your former partner have solely, jointly or via a company or trust arrangement.

Property is widely defined so that almost everything is included.

We help our clients identify the many items that people often do not identify as assets available for division, but are in fact, part of the property pool, such as benefits from a trust, Earn – Outs on the sale of business, time share in a holiday home, car sharing schemes and hundreds of other similar type interests.

STEP 2

Next, there needs to be consideration of how the asset pool came to exist. That is, each of the ways in which you and your former partner may have contributed to the asset pool. For example, through:

  • Direct & Indirect Financial contributions (e.g. income, inheritances, gifts from parents, use of parents home);
  • Direct & indirect Non-financial contributions (e.g. renovations to the home, handyman work etc.); and
  • Parenting or homemaking contributions (e.g. did you stay at home with the children? cooking, cleaning etc).

STEP 3

Then, there is to be a consideration of “future needs” you and your former partner might have. These considerations may include:

  • Your ages
  • Any health issues or disabilities either of you have
  • Your earning capacities (currently and into the future)
  • Whether you have to care for any children under the age of 18 (and their needs while in your care)
  • The length of your relationship
  • Whether either of you are eligible for a pension; and
  • Any financial resources that you have. 

Once that there has been consideration of all of these elements, then with the support of your family lawyer, you will have a clearer idea of how your asset pool should be divided. 

STEP 4

The final step that is required in family law is to consider whether the outcome that is proposed in your application for the property settlement is “just & equitable” to you and your former partner. The case of Stanford v Stanford is one of the leading cases in understanding that requirement.

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SEPARATION & DIVORCE LAWYER PARRAMATTA, sydney & nsw

Can’t we divide our assets between us without applying to the Court?

YES YOU CAN but you must have what is called a Binding Financial Agreement so that:

  • Your property settlement will be legally binding. 
  • Your former partner does not come back later seeking additional funds within the time limit, and they may be legally eligible to do that.
  • You do not overlook an asset (or a debt) from being considered in the split (such as inheritances and gifts, post separation).
  • Taxation Considerations (including Capital Gains Tax) are not overlooked.
  • Family Provision and other claims on your estate are excluded (saving your estate from lengthy and expensive court litigation).

There are many risks involved in family law matters if legal advice is not sought out early. We encourage you to have an initial appointment with one of our family lawyers to ensure you are informed before you negotiate the terms of any property settlement.

Get your Property Settlement Agreement finalised

Reach out to our highly experienced team for advice, to have us help you in your negotiations or formalise your agreement.

separation & DIVORCE Lawyers Parramatta, sydney

We cannot agree about how to divide our Property

Sometimes it is not possible to negotiate effectively with your former spouse or partner. When you seek legal advice from a family lawyer, you are informed about how the property must be considered and from there we can provide you with some insights into what your share might be, if your matter was to end up in Court.

Often, when one or both parties to the relationship seek legal advice, they are then aware of what would happen if a Court was to decide. This insight can help people see why they might need to think differently and be more open to negotiations.

Where there is still no progress in getting to an agreement, there are other dispute resolution opportunities available to you, before having to go to Court. Mediation for example is very effective in resolving many family law disputes.

Our team can guide you as to the best steps to help move your property settlement forward in the right way.

We encourage you to speak to a family lawyer early on, even if only to get information to help you in your negotiations. Then, we can help you to formalise and finalise your property settlement within the time limits.

Early advice from a family lawyer is the best way to approach your negotiations.

We can help you with your obligations and inform you about your options as you go through this process.  A good property settlement lawyer will be able to tell you what you should receive from the property after separation or divorce. A great lawyer will show you how.