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Property Settlements

Property settlement is the formal division of assets following the breakdown of a relationship. Property settlement can happen at any time following separation, and the law regarding property settlement applies almost the same to married couples and couples in a de facto relationship.

Navigating the legal system is almost always complex, particularly during an emotionally stressful time where property and other financial resources are at stake. Seeking an experienced property settlement lawyer can help lessen the burden during this time. Honan Family Law can provide you clear, compassionate advice about your options and entitlements so you can make informed decisions. We can conduct negotiations on your behalf to help achieve a fair settlement, ensuring you receive what you are entitled to without the stress of navigating important financial decisions. 

The steps to property settlement

If the Court determines it is just and equitable for there to be a property settlement (which in most cases the Court will), then the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia adopts a four-step process:

Step 1 – Identify and value all property
Under this step it is important for the Court to identify all interests in property that you and your ex-partner have at the current date. You both then must agree on a value or have valuations conducted so that the Court is able to determine the proper value of an item of property. If you own it, or part of it, it goes into the asset pool.

Step 2 – Assess your contributions
Under this second step, the Court must assess and evaluate the contributions by you and your ex-partner throughout the relationship towards the acquisition, conservation and improvement of property. Contributions can be both direct and indirect and they can also be financial and non‑financial. Contributions also include contributions to the welfare of the family and contributions as a homemaker and a parent to children throughout the relationship.

Step 3 – Consider your future needs
Under this third step the Court looks at its assessments and quantifications in Steps One and Two above.  Some of these needs include factors relating to the ages of the parties, their health, the current and future income earning potential and capacity of each party and whether a party has the care of any children under the age of 18 years.

Step 4 – Determine the just and equitable nature of property division
The final step the Court takes in determining property settlement is to ensure the proposed settlement is just and equitable toward both you and your ex-partner. If the Court finds the settlement is to one side, it must reevaluate and form a different settlement.

It is critical to get the right advice so you can make informed decisions when it comes to property settlement. We can help you navigate your separation and advise you at every step of the property settlement process, so you can begin a new chapter knowing you have financial security.

Everything you need to know about property settlements

When you and your ex-partner reach an agreement in relation to property settlement, there are 2 ways of documenting (or finalising) the agreement under the Family Law Act.

  1. By incorporating the agreement in orders which are made by the Federal Circuit and Family Court with the consent of both parties (Consent Orders); or

  2. By incorporating the agreement in a Financial Agreement (Link) which deals with property settlement and/or maintenance and which is not filed with the Court.

You can seek financial settlement at any time following separation, however once you and your ex-partner are officially divorced, you must file an application within 12 months.

If you are in a de facto relationship, you must file an application within 2 years from the date of separation.

After these time limits, an application can only be made with the consent of both parties, or with permission from the Court if certain grounds are satisfied.

Not necessarily. If you and your ex-partner can agree, you can settle your financial settlement out of the Courts. 

Need support navigating your next move?

Book an initial consultation with us. We’ll help you understand where you stand, so you can move forward with grace and confidence.

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