What is involved in a property settlement?
Unfortunately, there is no simple way to determine how property should be divided, and it depends on the relationship’s circumstances. Our experienced family lawyers are here to help to explain this process and assess your circumstances to help you understand your entitlements for a property settlement.
In summary, the value of all the assets and liabilities is established, which forms part of the property pool. The values of assets and liabilities are the current value as at the date of negotiations or when an agreement is reached, not a historical or previous value. We establish the contributions of the parties, which can be financial (such as income), non-financial (such as renovations or works to a property), homemaker and caregiving duties, and other contributions (such as inheritances, gifts or payouts). We then look at both parties future needs, such as their earning capacity, age, health concerns, care of children and any available financial resources. Based on these considerations, we will determine if one party should obtain a more significant portion of the property pool and evaluate whether the outcome is fair and equitable.
When the relationship between a couple has irretrievably broken down, and they separate, they should undergo property settlement. This is where the parties divide their assets and liabilities. The assets and liabilities can include the family home, cash, bank accounts, jewellery, vehicles, superannuation, businesses, debts (including credit cards, loans, mortgages, personal obligations), and inheritances. The assets and liabilities are generally referred to as ‘Property’.
How long does this process take?
Every couple’s circumstances are entirely different, and the time this will take depends on the parties.
Suppose the couple have decided how their property is to be divided. In that case, this can be formalised into a formal document such as a consent order or Binding Financial Agreement quickly, which would bring an end to property settlement.
The Binding Financial Agreement is often the quickest and could be wrapped up within a month or so if no significant negotiations are needed. A consent order may take a couple of months as the paperwork is submitted to the court for their approval, and the court often takes approximately two months to make the agreement final.
If an agreement cannot be reached between the parties and lawyers are involved in negotiations that lead to an agreement, we generally see that settlement can be achieved within 4-12 months.
Suppose the parties cannot agree and have exhausted all the negotiation options. In that case, an application is made to the court to determine the property settlement between the parties. From the date of lodging the documents with the court, an outcome is usually achieved within 12 to 18 months.
At The Family Lawyer, we are here to help you settle your property and finances as quickly as possible. We understand that this process can be highly stressful, and negotiating with your former partner can lead to some animosity. We are here to help facilitate negotiations to allow you both to move on and reach an agreement as soon as possible. Please speak to us today to undertake a free case assessment and discuss your circumstances with our experienced property settlement lawyers.