We understand that agreeing on property following separation or divorce can be hard. Ideally, it's a situation that's best resolved without resorting to litigation. We can help you through mediation or Collaborative Practice to reach agreement and then record it as Consent Order of the court.
Questions that arise can often include:
- The housing and transport needs of you, your former partner and your children
- Access to bank accounts, savings and investments
- The status of superannuation, long service leave entitlements, inheritances, potential compensation claims and debts
If you can't agree, you can apply for a property settlement using the court process. Married couples should make property settlement applications within 12 months of divorce; if you were in a de facto relationship, an application should be made within 24 months of separation. While extensions can be obtained in some circumstances, speak to us immediately if you're out of time, as further delay may prejudice your entitlements.
The court will determine your dispute using a four-stage process under the Family Law Act. This process identifies and values the property you and your former partner have, and then considers each of your contributions. This includes financial contributions, such as income, and non-financial contributions, such as maintaining the family home.
The court will then consider your and your former partner's future needs. This includes factors such as your age and health, your ability to work, and whether you have care of children. Finally the court will consider whether, in all the circumstances, it is just and equitable to order the property settlement.
As well as seeking orders from the court for property settlement, you may also be entitled to seek orders for spousal maintenance.