Are you going through a separation with a long-term partner, or even a divorce? How are assets split in a divorce in Australia? If you are separating, you might be wanting to know what a property settlement is. Whether you’re splitting amicably or not, you should be well educated on what a property settlement is, financial settlement after separation, and its processes. When dealing with your financial wellbeing, you don’t want to be sold short.
And that is where we come in. In this article we will run through what a property settlement is and everything around property settlements that you should know. Don’t draw the short straw, keep reading below.
If you want more information on what the process for getting a divorce is, you can read more on that by clicking here.
What Is A Property Settlement?
Property settlement is the process of acquiring a legally binding arrangement between split couples/parties that is designed to help divide assets, liabilities and equity. The sorts of assets and liabilities can include:
- Business interests
- Inheritance assets
- Stamp duty
There are even more things that you will be required to settle on if you and your partner split. If you want to come out of the settlement with all of your assets, all you need to do is get started with a legal professional.
How Do You Finalise A Property Settlement?
A property settlement is the process for settling assets and liabilities, and can be finalised with either a consent order or a financial agreement. The differences between these two are:
If you and your ex-partner are able to reach an amicable agreement on how to divide property, you can file for a written consent order. Once the agreement has been made, the court has to agree that it is “just and equitable”. If it is approved, then it is given legal effect. You do not have to attend court to apply a consent order.
- You make the agreement
- Court must deem it as just and equitable
- Court must approve it
A financial agreement, sometimes known as a prenuptial agreement, is a contract between you and your ex-partner that declares what property you will be dividing. The Family Law Act 1975 dictates that married and de facto couples must enter a binding financial agreement. This can be made before, during or even after the relationship ends.
Make sure you understand your financial agreement before you sign it because unlike a consent order, it does not need to be checked by a judge so it may be unfair. However, you and your partner must receive an independent legal advice before signing it. Make sure you’re getting the best advice from a professional so you don’t end up in a bad situation.
- You make the agreement
- Court does not have to deem it as just and equitable
- Must get financial/legal advice
Unamicable Property Settlements
If you and your ex-partner are unable to reach a divorce property settlement agreement, you might have to undergo a court ordered property settlement. This means the court will decide how to split the property. The court has a 4 step process to decide what goes to who. The process is:
- Identify and value the asset you have whether asset in joint name or note.
- Identify the contributions of each party during the relationship.
- Identify factors which need to be taken into account other than contributions like care of the kids.
- Evaluate if the final result is just and equitable to you and your partner.
Are Assets Always Split 50 / 50 In A Divorce or Split?
No, not all the time. Property won’t always be divided equally between parties in a relationship. Each property settlement agreement in divorce is different and is up to the decision of the judge and courtroom.
Can You Prevent The Other Party From Selling Assets?
If you are concerned that your ex-partner is going to sell your assets, there are measures you can take to prevent it. You can lodge a caveat or seek orders from the courts that will prevent him or her from selling anything. Once the property settlement is confirmed and approved, or an agreement and only then, the caveat will be lifted and you can do whatever you’d like with the assets.
If you are worried your ex-partner is going to sell assets outside of the property settlement, you should seek the advice of a family lawyer.
Is there time limit to commence Property Settlement after A Divorce Or Split
The time limit to commence a property settlement depends on what sort of relationship you are in. De facto couples have up to two years from the date of separation to start a property settlement agreement. Married couple are required to begin Property settlement 12 months after Divorce. Sometimes the court can give an extension to these time limits, but it is rare.
The length of the property settlement once it has begun can vary greatly. If both parties are agreeable, it may take as little as two weeks. If the parties are unamicable, the court process may take up to 3 years.
It is in the best interest of both parties to come to an agreement sooner than later. To start your journey, use a professional and click here.
Where To Hire A Family lawyer?
Don’t let Google search stand in as your family lawyer. The information out there is incomprehensive and untrustworthy.
So how do you find a family lawyer you can trust and rely on? With so many family law firms in Perth, it can be hard to find one who will understand and listen to your situation.
Savannah Legal offers a free 1 hour consultation and we take the time to understand your situation, concerns and needs, before providing you with a legal plan outlining your options. Our goal is to give you affordable legal advice while lifting a burden off your shoulders. Book your free consultation today.
If you still have questions, such as; “how much does a family lawyer cost” and “how long does family court take in Australia”, we can help.