Financial Matters

Divorce Property Settlement in Melbourne: Sorting Out Financial Matters After Divorce or Separation

It is important to get concise legal advice about how to divide your assets when separating as early as possible. 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 in making informed decisions about how a court decides property settlement matters. It is best to try and settle your financial matter before initiating court proceedings, and the family court encourages that. However, you will need to understand how divorce property settlement in Melbourne works and what a reasonable settlement looks like for you. If you do ultimately end up in the family 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 elements that are considered:

  • What are the assets, liabilities and superannuation interests that you and your former partner have?

This includes things such as your home, any investment properties, cars and superannuation. Property has a very wide definition in the Family Law Act.

Part of this task is considering the value of the various items to determine the property pool of assets. If there is a disagreement, or if you are unsure of a particular value, then a valuation needs to be conducted. Our firm has contacts with many property and business valuers who can act quickly for you. Proper consideration of your matter will ensure that you have the best outcome.

  • Identify the contributions made by each party

Looking at how the assets were acquired and maintained during the relationship is also a consideration of the court. There is consideration given to what you have put into the during the relationship. Contributions also include things such as non-financial or homemaker matters. There is then a determination made on the contribution-based entitlements. It is typically a percentage of the property pool.

  • Look to what needs you both have in the future

It is important to look at each party’s income, health needs and care for any children. Family law focuses on not just what you have done financially during a relationship, but also how you can support yourself and what needs you have moving forward.

  • Consider the effect of the findings and determine that the decision made is just and equitable

The task of reaching a property settlement involves a few different steps. Our divorce financial settlement lawyers have experience in understanding the true nature of your matter and working with you throughout the process.

There are various stages to reaching an agreement or going to court. It is important to ensure that you have proper guidance and an expert lawyer representing you as property settlements require a thorough approach in detailing the value of the property pool.

Further to this experienced property lawyers understand the legal cases on how property divisions are decided in court. This information is invaluable to setting your case with the right information and cases references to strengthen your position.

Some of the steps and documents used in property Settlements family cases are:

Binding Financial Agreements

You can settle your financial division of assets and debts via a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA). Both parties negotiate the terms. A Binding Financial Agreement does not have to be “just and equitable”, and often times, if not negotiated by a family lawyer properly, one party can be severely disadvantaged. Both parties must obtain independent legal advice for the agreement to be legally binding.

Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution

If you can’t decide on how to divide your assets, you must attend mediation. It is important to understand the process and what is involved in mediation. Legal representation is often key to ensuring a good outcome to protect your legal rights.

Most matters will settle through negotiation and mediation, but not all do. When a resolution can’t be arrived at, applying for a court order and having your matter heard at the Family Court is the only solution.

Property Settlements Decided at Court

In contested cases, it is important to have the right legal representation so that your case is thoroughly organised and presented. Couples can often be in dispute both with their financial settlement, and children’s matters. Both children and property settlement matters are settled separately. Our divorce financial settlement lawyers in Melbourne can work with you so that to that your matter is prepared correctly and comprehensively so as to put you in a position for a better outcome. Also, we want you to understand each step of the process.

Timeframes & Criteria for Applying for Financial Orders

It is important that you act sooner rather than later in working out your division of assets after separating or divorcing, it can assist you in making furture plans.

Time limits can apply – For a 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.


What am I entitled to?
Can my spouse ask me to leave the house?

What am I entitled to?

This can be the hardest thing to determine, as there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to divorce property settlement in Melbourne. 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 as well as their earning potential
  • Considering any indirect financial contributions, such as gifts and inheritances
  • Taking into account non-financial contributions, such as caring for children and performing home duties
  • Determining 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 have experience in property settlements to determine what would be just and equitable. This is where divorce financial settlement lawyers can assist you in determining what a fair settlement would be and helping to make the path to a settlement faster.

Can my spouse ask me to leave the house?

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 children’s 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.

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