At the end of a relationship, it is necessary for you and your ex-partner to divide up your assets and financial resources. Time limits do apply so it is important to start this process as soon as possible.
Property Settlement FAQ’s
What should the property settlement include?
- Real estate
- Money held, cash & bank accounts
- Insurance policies
- All other assets whether in joint names or not
- All debts, including mortgages, loans, credit cards and personal debts whether in joint names or not.
We are not married, what are my rights?
Since March 2009, property settlements for de facto and married couples are very similar, as de facto relationships are now covered by Commonwealth Law.
How does the court decide who gets what?
There is a three step process under the Family Law Act.
- Identify and value all property of the relationship or marriage (including debts). This includes everything you attained before, during or even after the marriage.
- Take into account what each person has given to the relationship (contributions) including earnings, savings, gifts, inheritances or property owned before the relationship, improvements to the property, and contributions as a homemaker and parent.
- Consider the other factors set out in the law, including:
- How much money each person could earn in the future
- Age and health of each person
- Care and financial support of children
- Responsibility for looking after other people
- Length of the relationship
The Court considers all of the above in deciding a fair division. The Court does not look at who left the relationship or why the relationship broke down.
We have reached an agreement, what is the next step?
If you are in agreement with respect to the division of your assets it is vital that it is formally documented in the form of Consent Orders or as a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA). This is to prevent people from changing their mind and not going through with what was originally agreed. Having your property settlement formally documented also has the benefit of no Stamp Duty being incurred in any transfer of property.
How much does a Property Settlement cost?
Cannot reach a decision?
If you and your ex-partner are unable to come to an agreement you have the options of mediation or applying to the Court. It is important to get a good family lawyer to assist you in making the best decisions for you and your family. Call our office now to make an appointment to see one of our family lawyers on 07 3390 2344.
How can I protect my property?
Keep track of all assets and debts until financial arrangements are complete. You may want to take photographs, and other records. It may be possible to have a caveat put on a property title. A caveat is a warning to other people that you have an interest in the property.
- You can get court orders to stop property being sold or money being spent, so act quickly and get legal help as soon as you separate.
- Time to make an Application to the court in relation to a property settlement runs out, for a married couple it is 12 months after a Divorce order is made and for a de facto couple it is 2 years after the date of separation.