For married couples, it is important to keep in mind that proceedings for property or maintenance orders may be brought at any time after separation, but you will need to apply for the leave of the Court if you wish to make an application for property or maintenance orders more than 12 months after a divorce is granted.
For de facto couples, an application for property or maintenance orders must be made within 24 months of separation.
If you and your ex-spouse have reached an agreement about the division of your property, our family lawyers can assist you by formalising the arrangement in the following ways:
Our team of family lawyers will ensure that you are fully advised throughout the process.
If you haven’t been able to reach an agreement without legal help, our primary focus will be to assist you to negotiate an agreement with your ex-spouse. This is because the legal costs involved in having a full court hearing to determine such a matter is usually not in the interests of either party.
Our family lawyers will meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your relationship and finances and begin the process by corresponding with the other side or their solicitor. At this stage, the parties undertake financial disclosure, which involves each party providing financial records to the other side. This is undertaken so both parties have a comprehensive understanding of the assets, liabilities and financial resources of the relationship.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, we may recommend that the parties participate in Mediation as many property matters can be settled with the assistance of a skilled mediator and practitioners.
If the parties successfully reach an agreement through negotiation, we will formalise your agreement by way of an Application for Consent Orders in the Family Court or a Binding Financial Agreement.
In the event that you are unable to resolve the matter through negotiation, an application for property orders will be made in either the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court. The Courts use a four-step process to determine an equitable division of the assets as follows:
- Identify and value the pool of assets,
- Determine the parties’ contributions,
- Consider s 75(2) factors (future needs component), and
- What is a likely just and equitable result?
It is important to remember that Court proceedings can be settled by the parties at any time. In our experience, most property proceedings settle before final hearing and it will be our aim to resolve your matter long before final hearing.