Resolving the division of property after relationship breakdown can be difficult and complex. I am here to help you protect your interests with a property settlement agreement.
With separation comes a period of emotional and financial uncertainty, particularly in regards to splitting your assets. A property settlement agreement brings structure and clarity to this process, formally dividing all property including houses, superannuation, cars, business interests, shares, investments and life insurance policies.
Professional support is often required to reach an agreement with your former partner. It is important to seek specialist property settlement advice tailored to your unique circumstances. I provide expert advice on what your likely entitlements and obligations will be, as well as guidance through the appropriate steps to reach the best possible outcome.
I strive to secure the best possible agreement without the complications and costs of going to Court. However, if Court proceedings are necessary or the most effective way to achieve an optimal outcome, Rankin Ellison has the expertise to represent and advocate for your interests.
You may be able to agree on asset division with your former partner fairly, amicably and without external assistance. It is still important to seek the support of a trusted lawyer to ensure your rights and interests are respected.
Every property settlement, whether agreed amicably and directly with your former partner or negotiated with the assistance of your lawyer, should be formalised by either Consent Orders made by the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court or a Binding Financial Agreement.
As your property settlement lawyer, I can help you negotiate a legally binding agreement to ensure your rights will be protected.
I will ensure that the division of property and assets such as the family home, bank accounts, superannuation and household and personal items takes into account:
- Your financial contributions to the marriage or relationship including contributions as an income earner or receiving an inheritance or gift from your family;
- Your important other contributions to the marriage or relationship, such as caring for the family and children;
- Your work and effort to keep and maintain a happy home;
- Your ability to support yourself and children of the marriage in the future;
- When a party’s health can be considered in asset division.
Many different phrases are used to describe the process of documenting and formalising the financial aspects of a relationship breakdown. In Australia, the two ways that a property settlement can be legally documented are a Binding Financial Agreement or Court Orders. When a Court makes Orders with the agreement of the parties, they are called Consent Orders.
Colloquial terms such as a “Separation Agreement”, “Divorce Agreement” or “Property Settlement Agreement” are used to refer to Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement.
There are many factors to be considered when dividing assets following the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship.
The first question that arises is whether there should be any change at all. It may be that there should be no change and each party should simply retain the assets that they legally own.
However in most cases, as a result of the length of relationship, differing legal ownership arrangements between partners and in particular, co-ownership of property, it will be necessary and appropriate for an alteration of property interests.
The process of determining appropriate asset division involves three stages:
- Stage 1: Identify and value the assets and resources of each party.
- Stage 2: Assess each party’s contributions to the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of the property and the personal circumstances of each party, including their health, income, earning capacity and child care responsibility.
- Stage 3: Consider what the justice and equity of the particular circumstances requires.
Each party to a marriage or de facto relationship has a legal obligation to support the other, but only to the extent that the first party is reasonably able to do so and only if the other party is unable to adequately support themselves.
Spouse maintenance is different to Child Support. Child Support will almost always be payable when there are children under the age of 18. The amount will be either agreed between the parties or determined by a formula.
Spouse maintenance is a separate issue and may be agreed between the parties or ordered by the Court. There is no formula. If it is ordered, the amount will be determined taking into account all of the unique circumstances of the parties.
Yes. If you have been in a de facto relationship, the Family Law Act includes almost mirror provisions for property settlement to those that apply for married couples.
While it is usually quite easy to determine when parties are married, determining whether parties were in a de facto relationship may be more complex. A de facto relationship exists when two people who are not married or related by family have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.
The question of whether two people were in a de facto relationship can be the subject of some debate. No specific facts will determine the issue. Each case will depend on all of the circumstances.
The time taken for property settlement to be finalised depends on the willingness of both parties to settle, the complexity of the assets and the pathway to settlement chosen.
Please contact our lawyers for further information on your specific property settlement.
Property settlement can be initiated as soon as parties separate. You do not need to be divorced.
If you get divorced, ordinarily any property settlement proceedings should be commenced within 12 months of when the Divorce Order takes effect. After this time, you will require special permission from the Court to make a property settlement application.
We recommend finalising any matters concerning your assets sooner rather than later.
It is difficult to estimate legal expenses accurately, as each case is unique. The cost will vary depending on the willingness of both parties to settle, the complexity of the assets at hand and any unforeseen factors that may curtail or delay the process.
Please contact us for further information.
Contact Troy Dobinson on.