Individuals in Australia, after a broken marriage, need to settle monetary ties between them in accordance with the Family Law Act 1975. For instance, with a co-owned property, both parties have to decide on what they will do with the property. They can sell the property and divide the net proceeds, or one party can take over the share of the other party.
Although this sounds simple, every situation is unique. Here are 5 tips on property settlement to give you an overview of the process.
1. Start the property settlement process soon after the separation
To find out about your entitlements, the first thing you must do is to visit a lawyer. The lawyer’s office is likely to prepare a letter, and send it to the other party, in an attempt to reach a mutual agreement. If the mediation process is successful, there is no need to go to court. However, if mediation fails, taking the case to court is the only viable option.
2. Be aware of the time limits
Under the Family Law Act 1975, divorcees have to apply for the settlement of the property within one year of their separation. With de facto couples, the deadline for applying is two years following the separation date. Not starting property proceedings within the mentioned time frame can deprive you of your rights.
3. Formalise the property settlement
Getting a Consent Order is the most-preferred way to formalise a property settlement. A Consent Order is an order, which states that both parties agreed to a proposed settlement. The court scrutinises it, and if everything is fair, they will approve it. Besides a Consent Order, there is another agreement known as the Binding Financial Agreement. Both parties should be cautious about the content of a Binding Financial Agreement, otherwise, the court might overturn it.
4. Review the property settlement calculation
There is a four-step procedure to determine the entitlements of respective parties in the settlement of a property. First, the process calculates the value of the property, and its liabilities, if any. It then assesses the initial contributions of both parties, and the contributions made by each of them during the relationship. Finally, the court examines factors connected to post-separation. Before accepting the settlement calculation, it would be wise to visit Prime Lawyers to ensure that there are no discrepancies regarding your entitlement.
5. Factor in the delays that the other party may cause
Sometimes, one party seeks a settlement, but the other party delays the proceedings. In that case, file an application for property settlement and appeal to the court. After receiving your application, the court will ask the other party to come for mediation. If the other party continues to not cooperate, the court will deal with the settlement per the law.
Once the court completes the property settlement, your lawyers will send you the settlement documents, including a statement, detailing the allocation of property and funds.
Property settlement can be tricky with a range of factors to be considered along with a ton of paperwork and manual steps to move forward. An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the process and work hard to achieve the best outcome for you.
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