An important aspect to separating is how the property and financial matters will be divided. Upon separation, your property interests may or may not need to be altered. This process is also known as a “property settlement”. Your entitlements to a property settlement depends on the financial circumstances in your unique relationship.
This process can be complicated and our expert team at Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators will provide you with the confidence and expert knowledge to control this process and be well informed as to the outcome. We understand that every family unit is different, and your interests are our priority.
You do not need to attend Court to implement a property settlement. There are Alternative Dispute Resolution processes which are preferred methods of reaching a settlement and include mediation, round table conference, collaborative practice and arbitration. We will advise you which is the best approach for you and your ex partner.
At Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators, our team of family law specialists are dedicated to ensuring you achieve the best outcome.
Settling outside of court
In the interest of saving time and money, separated couples are generally advised to come to an agreement about property arrangements among themselves, without going to court.
In the case that you and your ex-partner can agree on how to divide the asset pool, you may choose to opt for one of the following:
A written agreement concerning the division of property and financial resources that has been formalised, making the arrangements legally binding. Consent orders must be lodged with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia who will review the fairness of the proposed property settlement agreement before approving the order.
Both parties are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice when applying for consent orders.
A contract between the parties of a marriage or De facto relationship which outlines how the property is to be divided. This type of contract can be entered into before, during, or after either type of relationship.
While this type of agreement does need to be approved by a court, it is mandatory that each party to a binding financial agreement receive independent legal advice before entering into said contract.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Where former partners cannot reach an agreement over the division of property, there are still avenues that can be sought to resolve the matter that do not require litigation.
Alternative Dispute Resolution is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of these alternative legal avenues, such as:
A process where an independent third party, known as a mediator, facilitates negotiations between you and your ex-partner in the hopes of arriving at a mutually agreed upon arrangement.
Round Table Conference
A process of negotiation carried out between the parties of a dispute and their respective legal representatives. It is possible for the parties to opt for separate rooms during the discussion where the respective legal representatives carry out the negotiation on their clients’ behalf.
An alternative property settlement process whereby the parties and their lawyers participate in a series of meetings to reach a mutually acceptable property and financial arrangement.
A unique feature of this method lies in the condition that, should you or your former partner opt to settle the matter through the court, your lawyers who participated in the collaborative practice will not be able to represent you during litigation.
A procedure in which both parties submit evidence and arguments to an independent legal practitioner, known as an arbitrator, who will make a binding legal decision to resolve the property dispute.
Arbitrators are often senior legal members or former judges, of whom both parties must agree on appointing as arbitrator.
Going To Court
If you and your former partner are not successful in reaching a mutually agreed upon arrangement during the dispute resolution process, either one of you may apply to the Family Court who will issue final orders concerning the distribution of property and financial support.
How Will Property Be Divided?
While there is no set formula used to calculate the division of property, the courts do rely on the general principles set out in the Family Law Act 1975 which takes into account:
- Both parties’ assets and liabilities
- Direct financial contributions
- Indirect financial contributions
- Non-financial contributions
- Negative financial contributions
- Contributions to the welfare of the household
- Future needs
The judicial officer residing over your case will invariably endeavour to make a fair and equitable decision based on the particular facts of your situation.
Here When You Need Us
If you have just gone through a divorce or separation and want to know your entitlements to a property settlement, the team at Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators are here to help you navigate the process.
With proven experience in locating undisclosed assets and structuring family law settlements, Dorter Family Lawyers & Mediators is dedicated to achieving you the best outcome that serves your unique interests.