Property Settlement Lawyers Melbourne

Property Settlement Lawyers

The division of assets and liabilities is complex but the right advice and representation can ensure the best outcome.

Whether you’re in the early stages of a property settlement after separation or divorce, we can assist you with up to date information and advice for your property and financial settlement. We’ll ensure you receive all your entitlements whether your financial circumstances are simple or complex.

Family Lawyers for Property & Financial Settlements

Under the Family Law Act, property settlement covers much more than the family home. There are often bank accounts, superannuation, cars and other assets to consider. There are also liabilities including home and personal loans, credit and store cards. Assets and liabilities need to be divided and the settlement legally documented.

The financial and non-financial contributions of both parties to the relationship are considered during the Family Law property settlement process. The future earning capacity and care of any children is also taken into account in deciding the outcome.

Our Melbourne family lawyers are highly experienced in negotiating with the other party to achieve a fair property settlement without court action if that’s in your best interest.

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    Settling on Complex Finances

    Everyone has a different financial situation. Your asset pool may be complex with a mix of businesses, companies, partnerships, family and unit trusts, self-managed superannuation funds, investment properties, shares, and overseas assets.

    You may have set up and managed the assets so you have a good understanding of them or your partner did so your knowledge is limited. Whatever your situation, we can help.

    Complex financial situations should be handled by experienced property settlement lawyers to ensure you receive the right advice. We regularly work with clients’ accountants and financial planners to ensure the best outcome.

    How Can A Property Settlement Lawyer Help?

    It is essential to obtain legal advice from an experienced property settlement lawyer on your particular circumstances. Following the breakdown of a de facto relationship or marriage, it can be difficult to discuss financial issues. A property settlement lawyer can conduct negotiations on your behalf and help achieve a fair settlement.

    If you have any queries about your property settlement or would like further information, please contact Sage Family Lawyers on (03) 9070 9839 or for a confidential, obligation-free chat.

    Sage Family Lawyer is centrally located at Level 4, 533 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the Process for a Property Settlement?

    The process will depend on which property settlement option is chosen.

    Both parties should start by seeking independent legal advice from a family lawyer to negotiate the terms of the agreement. If both parties can agree, property matters can be formalised via a Binding Financial Agreement or via Consent Orders, both of which are legally binding.

    Binding financial agreements can be completed and formalised without approval from the Family Law Courts. A consent order will however need to be approved by the Court.

    If parties are unable to agree on the division of assets, then legal proceedings are required and the matter will be resolved in Court. If the property settlement is taken to Court, under the Family Law Act 1975, a four-step process must be taken.

    1. Identify & value all assets and liabilities
    2. Determine both the financial and non-financial contributions of both parties
    3. Determine the future needs of both parties i.e future earning capacity, care of children, health issues etc.
    4. Next, the Court will consider all of the above factors to determine a fair settlement. The first two steps are used to establish each party’s financial position.

    What are Financial Contributions and Non-financial Contributions?

    Financial contributions are anything financial in nature, like earnings, inheritances, a deposit for a home, repayments on loans, contributions to super, paying household bills, buying food shopping and other items.

    In married and de facto relationships, contributions to the relationship as not always financial. Non-financial contributions can be acts or efforts carried out by a party towards the acquisition, conservation or improvement of any property in the asset pool.

    Sone examples of non-financial contributions include taking care of the children, improving and maintaining the family home or investment properties, cooking meals, home repairs and maintenance.

    The Court places equal importance on both financial contributions and non-financial contributions.

    Will Finances & Property Be Divided Equally Following a Separation or Divorce?

    No, not necessarily. There are several factors that will influence how the asset pool is divided and it may not be as simple as a 50-50 split.

    Does Property Settlement Include Spousal Maintenance?

    Spousal maintenance is a separate family law matter, however, you can negotiate spousal financial support at the same time as you negotiate your property settlement.

    Spousal maintenance is usually laid in binding financial agreements or via consent orders.

    Do Property Settlements Have To Be Done Via Family Court Proceedings?

    No, if you and your ex-partner or spouse can agree, you can settle your financial settlement out of Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court.

    Can I Arrange Property Settlement If Separated?

    If you are separated and want to arrange a formal division of your property pool, you can formalise your property/financial settlement before filing for divorce. You do not need to be divorced to settle your property arrangements, although you cannot file for divorce unless separated for 12 months.

    How Long Does Separation or Divorce Property Settlements Take?

    Property settlement time limits differ for married couples and de facto couples.

    Couples in a de facto relationship can begin property settlement proceedings on the day of separation and within two years after separation. De facto relationship property rights are similar to married property rights.

    Married couples need to commence a divorce property settlement proceedings within twelve months after the date the divorce has been finalised.

    Many factors will affect the time frame and completion of a proposed property settlement. These factors can include:

    • The financial complexity of wealth and all the property that needs to be divided.
    • That both parties are in agreeance to the financial settlement.
    • Whether you both sign an agreement and avoid going to Family Court.

    If both parties agree to settle out of court, your property settlement can take up to four months to finalise. The average property settlement from the separation date and divorce is approximately 18 months.

    My Ex-Partner Is Delaying Our Property Settlement, What Can I Do?

    There are several reasons an ex-partner is delaying property settlement. Your ex-husband, wife or spouse might see the benefits of delaying a property settlement process in certain circumstances, such as an asset is about to increase in value or trying to conceal an asset from the shared asset pool you are not aware of.

    We always recommend that you seek legal advice, especially in instances such as these.

    I have Acquired Assets Since Separating From My Former Partner, Do These Need to Be In The Property Settlement?

    Yes, any new assets must be included in the property pool. If either party acquires other assets like new property or income since separation it’s their responsibility to tell the ex-partner as soon as possible. All assets, liabilities and financial resources must be disclosed and updated throughout the settlement process.

    What If My Spouse Is Hiding Assets In Anticipation Of Our Property Settlement?

    If you are concerned your spouse is hiding assets you have legal options. Income and property can be cleverly hidden and not declared by your partner during and before settlement negotiations.

    Hiding assets is illegal even after you are separated. The duty of full and frank disclosure still stands even when two people are no longer living together under one roof.

    In this situation, it’s always best to speak to a specialist family lawyer for legal advice early on. A family law firm can help review financial statements and make sure there are no hidden financial resources.

    Is Child Support or Parenting Arrangements Set Out in a Property Settlement?

    No, child support agreements and parenting arrangements are separate family law matters.

    Is a Family Lawyer Required To Come to An Agreement on Financial Matters?

    There is no mandatory requirement for separating couples to engage a family lawyer unless they plan on entering into a binding financial agreement. However, employing property settlement lawyers is likely to result in a more positive outcome from your property settlement.

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