Property Disputes, Settlements and Spousal Maintenance
Property settlements and spousal maintenance are a complex area of family law which can be difficult to quantify because of the intricate and ever-changing financial circumstances of both parties.
Many married, de-facto and same sex couples who separate manage to agree on how they wish to divide their assets. It is extremely important to formalise your agreement, to protect your rights moving forward.
A separation agreement can be formalised by either Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement. One advantage of engaging a lawyer to assist you in preparing these documents, is that they can be relied upon to save you paying stamp duty on the transfer of land.
Where negotiations are unsuccessful and an agreement cannot be reached, however, the commencement of proceedings in the Family Law Courts may be necessary.
If your matter does proceed to litigation, the court looks at a number of factors when determining how property should be divided between the parties:
- Financial contributions and non-financial contributions of each party in respect of the purchase, maintenance and improvement of property acquired or owned during the relationship, and/or running of a business;
- Contributions to the family as a parent and homemaker;
- Contributions in respect of gifts and inheritances to either party; and
- Future financial needs of the parties determined by many factors, including the health and age of the parties, their employment prospects and any dependents that each may be responsible for.
You have 12 months after your divorce is finalised in which to make an application with the Family Court in relation to the division of property of the marriage, or 24 months after the breakdown of a de facto relationship. You do not need to be divorced in order to reach an agreement or seek orders through the Family Court in relation to the property of a marriage.