Get concise legal advice about how to divide your assets when separating before it is too late. Understanding what you may be entitled to in a separation or divorce is crucial. It can be complex to calculate as each case is different. There are also many criteria that go into deciding what the property split should be in financial settlements.
A family lawyer will be able to assist you and guide you make informed decisions about how a court decides. It is best for you to settle your financial matter before initiating court proceedings, but you will need to understand how property settlements work to make a reasonable settlement. If you do ultimately end up in court the judge will decide on what they see is a just and equitable settlement.
To work out what a just and equitable settlement is there are four principles that are considered:
The task of reaching a property settlement involves a few different steps. We have experience on understanding the true nature of your matter and working with you throughout the process.
You can settle your financial division of assets and debts via a binding Financial Agreement or BFA. Both parties negotiate the terms with or without a lawyer. A binding financial agreement does not have to be just and equitable and often times if not negotiated properly one party can be disadvantaged. You must obtain independent legal advice for the agreement to be legally binding.
If you can’t decide on how to divide your assets you can attend mediation. It is important to understand the process and have representation to assist you in the process. This will ensure that you are aware of your legal rights and that you can consider the outcome and have an experienced advisor assist you in making decisions.
Most matters will settle through negotiation and mediation however, some don’t and apply for a court order and having your matter heard at the family court is the only solution.
In more contested cases it is important to have the right legal representation so that your case is thoroughly organised and presented. Couples can often be fighting on two fronts being the financial settlement and children matters. Court cases can be sometimes unavoidable, but we take every step to ensure that you are well-advised and we fight to get your desired outcome.
It is important that you act sooner rather than later in working out your division of assets after separating or divorcing as time limits apply.
For married couple you must apply within 12 months of your divorce becoming final.
For de facto relationships your application must be made to the court within 2 years of the breakdown of the relationship.
You can apply for special permission from a court if you are outside these timeframes, but it may not be granted.
This can be the hardest thing to determine as there is no one size fits all. In the family court the judge will make the decision based on all the facts of your case and decide what is just and equitable.
There are principles that guide how assets are divided so that it is just and equitable such as:
Working out and establishing the value of what is in the property pool – both assets and debts
Looking at the direct financial contributions by each party o the relationship and earning potential
Indirect financial contributions such as gifts and inheritances
Non-financial contributions such as caring for the children and home duties
Future requirements such as health age, financial resources, care of children and earning capacity.
The principles are very exhaustive and it is very difficult for those who do not practice in property settlements in family law to determine what would be just and equitable. This is where a family lawyer can assist you in determining what a fair settlement would be and can make the path to a settlement faster.
One party cannot deprive the other party of their assets and property just because they are having a disagreement. In some disputed divorces or de facto separations a partner may be “kicked out” of the house or find the locks have been changed. If you are concerned you should make arrangements to sort out your childrens and financial matters quickly to protect your rights. It is best that you don’t threaten your wife or partner and that you take reasonable steps to resolve the dispute. If the police are called to resolve a dispute you may end up with a restraining order.
I found Christopher Raggozino to be very professional and efficient. He dealt with my matter quickly, but never over-promising or over-selling what he could achieve. I really appreciated his quick responses to any questions. PCL in general were very easy to deal with and I would recommend their services.Katherine J
If I had of gone to another law firm that was cheaper I may have saved many thousands of dollars but as it turns out I may have lost a lot more than that upon settlement. Using a firm such as PCL lawyers I had the peace of mind that each issue as it arose was dealt with in a very matter of fact way and to the letter of the law.Brett Wilson / Glen Waverley