PROPERTY

If you and your partner separate, whether you are married

or de-facto, you will need to reach a property settlement.

Reaching agreement on how to divide your property after separation can sometimes be a task that is easy and other times it can be an extremely stressful and anxious time depending on your circumstances. Either way at Caldwell Family Lawyers we are here to help you.

Reaching Agreement

There are many cases where parties are able to reach agreement on how to divide the matrimonial property with the assistance of their lawyers without going to court.

If this occurs the agreement can be formalised by way of consent orders. If consent orders are made then the parties have the benefit of knowing that their agreement is binding and enforceable. The parties are then able to move on in their life with certainty.

If Parties Cannot Reach Agreement

If parties are not able to reach an agreement on how to divide their matrimonial property through negotiation then an application to the court may need to be filed. The majority of property settlements are dealt with by the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Most of the matters that have applications before the court are settled prior to trial. There are many opportunities for settlement to occur during the court process.

If a settlement is not achieved by the parties, then the Court will make a decision as to how the matrimonial property should be divided. The court will determine how the property is to be divided by applying the “4-step” process.

4 Step Process

Step 1
Identifying The Assets, Liabilities and Financial Resources of The Parties

The first step in the process is to identify the assets and liabilities of the parties and values. This includes all assets, liabilities and financial resources, whether it is in individual names, joint names or business names. In the majority of cases this is a simple part of the process. However, if there are businesses or assets that are difficult to value then it can become more complex.

Step 2
Assessment of The Contributions

Secondly the contributions made by the parties are assessed. These include:-

Initial contributions;
Contributions during the relationship; and
Post separation contributions.

The contributions made can be direct and indirect financial contributions, direct and indirect non-financial contributions and contributions to the welfare of the family including contributions in the capacity of homemaker or parent.

Step 3
Assessing the future needs of each of the parties

The third step involves the Court assessing the future needs of each of the parties.

Factors like the parties age and health, income, property, financial resources and who has the care of any children are taken into account.

After the Court assesses these factors it will then consider if there ought to be an adjustment or uplift in favour of one of the parties to compensate for any difference in their future needs.

Step 4
Is the proposed division of property fair?

After assessing steps 1- 3, the Court must then decide whether the proposed division of assets is fair to each of the parties.

OUR CLIENTS ARE OUR PRIORITY

We are committed to the efficient and prompt resolution of family law matters, in the most cost effective manner possible.

Not every financial matter needs to go to Court and we do our best to resolve all issues through negotiation or mediation.