Following separation when it comes to dividing up the family assets – the home, super, furniture, cars, the boat, shares, investment properties, etc.. clients describe the process to us in terms like ‘confusing’, ‘a hideous process’ and ‘daunting’. That is where we can help, to make the process easier for you.
Reaching a settlement can be complicated by factors like when one party is need of ongoing financial assistance. Or when arrangements are required to be put in place to provide financial support in contemplation of the anticipated costs of raising the children. Our knowledge and experience can assist in such cases to make the process easier for you.
Practical things like who will move out and who will remain living in the home can be problematic and the source of conflict. Our knowledge and experience can help.
Clients often come to us after they have commenced discussions with their former partner and complain they feel they are being bullied, pushed into a sub-standard or unfair deal. We can act to restore balance to the negotiation.
Clients might complain of being kept in the dark as to the existence or true value of items of property. We can help here also.
In summary, when it comes to a property settlement we can help our clients with things like:
1) Legal advice in relation to what your rights are for a just and equitable property settlement.
2) Legal advice in relation to any ongoing financial assistance (spousal maintenance) that might be required.
3) Legal advice in relation to the financial maintenance of your children.
4) The conduct of your direct or mediated negotiations with your former spouse so as to ensure any agreement you reach is a just and equitable one.
5) If together with your former spouse you do reach agreement without going to court that will save you time and money and be less stressful. We can advise you on the documentation of your agreement by way of consent orders filed with the Court or a binding financial agreement, thereby ensuring your property settlement is legally enforceable.
6) If the assistance of the Court is to be called upon, we can assist with the preparation of your application and then its conduct and carriage through the Court. Most proceedings initiated in the Court will settle and there are several Court events prior to a contested final hearing where mediation is facilitated and encouraging settlement is promoted.
The Four Steps to Settlement
The preferred methodology adopted to determine a distribution of property is known as the four-steps:
Step One: Identify and value the property, liabilities and financial resources of the parties.
Step Two: Identify and assess the contributions of the parties and express them as a percentage of the net value of the property.
Step Three: Identify and assess the future needs of each of the parties and determine the adjustment (if any) to be made to the contribution entitlements at step two.
Step Four: Consider the effect of the above and resolve what order is just and equitable in all the circumstances.
Issues arising from a contemplation of these four-steps can be complex.
Assessing contributions; respective future needs; the value of property, liabilities and financial resources; together with satisfying the “just and equitable” mandate are things legal advice ought to be obtained about.
Please contact us for a confidential consultation to establish what your rights are.