Property Settlement: Who gets what, and how long do I have to get it?
Relationship breakdowns generally don’t just happen overnight. The reasons are many and varied with the blame generally being cast backwards and forwards by both parties. As peoples’ emotions are usually heightened, it can be difficult for those involved to find common ground from which to negotiate a peaceful and amicable departure.
Apart from parenting issues, often the biggest issue for people is achieving a division of net assets that is appropriate and takes into account the myriad of circumstances that the Family Court will consider when making decisions regarding how to divide property between separated parties.
These factors can include, but are not limited to:
- What you each brought into the relationship;
- Financial and non-financial contributions made by each party (or their families or friends) during the relationship;
- Age of each party;
- Any health diagnoses;
- Income earning capacity;
- The ability to access financial resources into the future;
- The necessity for each party to care for children or other individuals; and/or
- Whether or not child support is being paid by the liable parent.
These issues are often intangible, and therein lies the problem of answering the (sometimes) complex question of “Who is entitled to what?”
Issues regarding the division of property have been known to tie people up in the Courts for years. In some instances, it can cost both parties a large proportion of their financial wealth arguing over what can be either irrelevant issues or worthless objects.
Sometimes people want a peaceful and quick exit from an uncomfortable breakup and choose to leave their assets and walk away, only to realise later that they could have received a division of assets that would have made it easier to start the next chapter of their personal life.
An experienced family lawyer can help you understand your matter and provide informed advice regarding how these factors are weighed and considered by the Family Court, and particularly, how similar cases have been treated recently.
It is important to recognise that both assets and liabilities need to be considered when discussing property settlement. In many cases, people have built a significant level of debt which also needs to be either divided or reconciled at property settlement.
In some cases, failure to address outstanding liabilities can result in unnecessary long-term financial hardship. In many cases, the liabilities acquired during a relationship are considered to be the responsibility of both parties. Failure to suitably address outstanding liabilities at property settlement can result in negative consequences for either or both parties.
If you cannot reach an amicable agreement upon the division of your assets and liabilities and you want to avoid unnecessary emotional or financial stress, you should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced family lawyer.
Avoid the advice and strategies of “backyard lawyers”.
Whilst friends, colleagues or family members may only want what is best for you, sometimes their “advice” can be incorrect or possibly result in you taking action that may be detrimental in any subsequent application or hearing.
Simply because someone has been through a divorce and/or property settlement before doesn’t mean they are able to provide you with the best guidance for your situation.
Every matter is unique and therefore each requires unique advice to promote the best possible outcome.
An experienced family lawyer can analyse the specific circumstances of your situation and crystallise the issues that require attention. Whether your net asset pool is complex or simple, you can feel safe that you are focussing your time and efforts in the right direction.
Can I get assistance from the Family Court at any time?
It is important to know that there are time limitations within which you can commence proceedings in the Family Court to assist in adjudicating any dispute about the division of your joint assets.
- Married Couples – twelve (12) months from the date of the Divorce Order.
- De Facto Relationships – two (2) years from the date of separation.
The Family Court will only grant leave to hear applications made out of time in limited circumstances.
There is no time limit for making application for assistance from the Court in relation to parenting matters in dispute.
If you have found yourself in a situation where you need to know and understand your rights regarding property settlement then you should seek professional advice before making any decisions.
Not sure what assets and liabilities of the relationship you should receive?
Call us or complete our online enquiry form for an obligation-free appointment and receive on the spot advice about your possible entitlements.
Are you in the right frame of mind to negotiate?
Paying for a lawyer might be money well spent, particularly if your partner is better at negotiating or more financially minded than you.
You may not even have separated yet and just want to know what you may be facing if you do.
At Dimond Family Lawyers we can help you make informed decisions and/or work with you to negotiate the best possible outcome for you in relation to property settlement.