If you and your partner separate, or are about to separate, it is very important to obtain legal advice as to your entitlements to property settlement as soon as possible. Getting the right legal advice early allows you to make informed choices which can impact on the end results you obtain.
Our preference is to resolve your matter by negotiation wherever possible, but if this cannot be achieved, we have the knowledge and skill to commence and conduct Court proceedings on your behalf.
If you do reach agreement with your partner for property settlement, it is essential to speak to us to make sure that the agreement you have reached is fair to you. It is also crucial that you formalise the agreement reached with either a Court Order made by consent, or with a Binding Financial Agreement. As the Court is not bound by an informal agreement, if you do not formalise your agreement properly either you or your partner could still apply to the Court for a division of property at a later date. This could be many years later and the Court takes into account assets and their values at the time it decides the matter. The property pool could have changed drastically, which in turn could significantly affect your property rights.
If your matter is to be decided by the Court, the Court is required to make a decision that is just and equitable to both you and your partner, and to achieve this the Court uses a 4 step process, involving:
- identifying the assets and liabilities of both you and your partner (including for example, real estate, companies, trusts and superannuation entitlements);
- considering the contributions of both of you to the relationship, including financial and non-financial contributions and contributions as homemaker and parent;
- considering the future needs of both of you (including for example, your ages, your state of health, your ability to obtain gainful employment and whether either of you has the care of a child); and
- considering whether the overall decision for property settlement is just and equitable to both of you.
It is important to note that there are time limits for issuing proceedings for property settlement. For de facto couples, proceedings must be issued within 2 years of the date of separation.
For married couples, proceedings must be issued within 1 year of the date a Divorce Order becomes final. There are limited circumstances in which you can apply to the Court for property settlement outside these time limits, but it is often very difficult to get permission from the Court to make such an application.
Our family lawyers are here to help you and we are dedicated to obtaining the best result for you, whether by negotiation or through the Court system.
We have offices in the city, at Tea Tree Gully and Morphett Vale for the convenience of clients. In addition, for the elderly or infirm, visits can be made to clients at home or in hospital.
Call us on 08 8415 5000 or send an email to make an appointment.