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Property Settlements

What You Need to Know About Property Settlements

A Property Settlement is one of the most important negotiations of your life; you want to make sure you do it right. Our family lawyers are here to provide you with level-headed advice, emotional support and ensure we get the best possible result we can.

What is a Property Settlement?

A property settlement is the process of dividing the assets of a relationship. It can include any real estate, superannuation and a myriad of other things acquired before, during and sometimes after a relationship. A Property settlement is not something included in your divorce application – this is a separate application.

What is Included in a Property Settlement?  

A property settlement generally includes any of the following:

  • Real estate – investment property, family home etc. 
  • Assets – vehicles, boats, jewellery, furniture etc.   
  • Inheritances   
  • Money held – cash & bank accounts (savings)  
  • Investments & shares
  • Superannuation & insurance policies  
  • Debts – loans, mortgages, credit cards etc.

You should seek advice if you’re not sure about whether something should be included or excluded from the property pool.

What is the Timeframe to Apply for Property Settlement?

You can apply for a Property Settlement as soon as you have separated – we advise to have the settlement finalised sooner rather than later.

A married couple, who has been divorced, has 1 year after the divorce to apply for a property settlement. And a defacto couple has 2 years after separation to apply for a property settlement.

What are the Steps the Court Considers When Determining Each Parties Entitlements in a Property Settlement?

Step 1 – to determine whether it’s just & equitable to adjust the parties’ interest in property held by either party to the relationship.

Step 2 – to identify and value all property held by the parties, irrespective of where it came from or when it was acquired.

Step 3 – to consider the direct & indirect, financial, & non-financial contributions made by and on behalf of the parties, including in the roles of homemaker and parent. At this stage, a percentage apportionment reflecting these contributions is made (e.g., 50%/50% for equal contributions by both parties).

Step 4to consider, among other things: 

  • The age and health of each of you 
  • The income, property, and financial resources of each of you
  • The physical and mental capacity for gainful employment
  • The disparity in income earning capacities for each of you
  • The instances of family violence and
  • Any commitments that are necessary for each of you to support yourself of any other person

And then, based on the above, to decide if the apportionment in Step 3 should be adjusted.

Step 5 – to consider if the specific orders the Court proposes to implement the percentage division is ‘just and equitable’.

What can PD Law help with?

  • Examining and identifying the total matrimonial property pool.  
  • Conduct property searches. 
  • Examine bank statements and work with accountants, financial advisors, property valuers, real estate agents and any other representatives if required.  
  • Advise you on property settlement entitlements.
  • Negotiate with the other side (your ex-partner) to reach a property settlement agreement.

Our experienced team will assist you in preparing & negotiating your Property Settlement. After negotiations have been finalized, we will discuss the filing process step by step, so you understand the proceedings ahead.

To view the Family Court Property Settlement Proceedings Timeline, click here.

If you require assistance with a Property Settlement, contact our family team today.

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