It’s rare to negotiate property settlements without legal aid, and for good reason.
Because of the various financial options available currently, from real estate and superannuation to investments, navigating property settlements can feel overwhelming. The nitty-gritty details that factor into the division of assets post-separation are vast and complex, especially when considering the separation of marital or de facto relationships.
That’s why legal intervention isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity.
At O’Sullivan Legal, we are the best choice for navigating the troublesome red tape and pitfalls that often manifest with property settlements. Our lawyers know, first and foremost, how emotionally distraught the whole separation process is.
With our help, we can guarantee a smooth and fair-minded division of assets for both parties.
To ensure a fair property settlement, speak to our lawyers today.
What is a property settlement?
A property settlement is a legal process of dividing assets between parties post-separation, usually between separated couples in a marriage or de facto relationship.
According to the Family Law Act, property refers to assets owned by either or both parties, even before the relationship in some cases.
Examples of property and assets that can be divided include:
- Bank savings or funds
- Business interests or stakes in companies
- Interests in Trusts or Deceased Estates
- Motor Vehicles
- Personal treasures like furniture and jewellery
- Real Estate (homes, investment properties)
- Superannuation (including self-managed super funds)
What are you entitled to?
While a property settlement might appear as easy as a 50/50 split, it’s not always an even divide. Various factors determine what you’re entitled to, including:
- Any additional assets
- Financial issues
- Relationship length
Because of these key considerations, it’s difficult to determine a just and equitable outcome even if the couple are splitting cordially. From dividing major assets to determining the true ownership, property division can be an emotionally complex process. Hiring experienced property settlement lawyers can help you and your ex-spouse find the best outcome for both parties.
The step-by-step process
Determine the net property value
Before making any decisions on how the assets will be split, it’s important to get a comprehensive view of the entire asset pool. This means identifying and valuing everything the couple owns.
- Assets: These encompass a broad range of properties, from tangible assets like cars, houses, and valuable collectibles to financial assets like shares and superannuation interests. It’s essential to create a comprehensive list of everything that holds value.
- Liabilities: Once all assets are identified, the next step is to take stock of any outstanding debts. This includes credit card balances, personal loans, mortgages, and any other financial obligations. Subtracting the liabilities from the assets will provide the net property value.
- Considerations: Certain circumstances, like one party spending money on gambling or purchasing gifts for someone outside the relationship, may necessitate adding this expenditure to the asset pool. It’s also important at this stage to consider any tax implications, including Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Identify and establish contributions of either or both parties
Determining each party’s contributions to the relationship is a complex process that goes beyond just financial inputs.
- Types of Contributions: While direct financial contributions like initial investments, ongoing incomes, or post-separation financial input are crucial, non-financial contributions, otherwise known as indirect financial contributions are equally valuable. This includes efforts like homemaking, childcare, or even less tangible contributions such as intellectual property. Additionally, contributions made towards home improvements or other shared assets should also be considered.
- Weighing Contributions: It’s important to understand that not all contributions are weighed equally. The care of family members, especially as a primary homemaker or parent, will be acknowledged and given its due weight.
Considering either party’s needs and future finances post-separation
Post-separation, the financial landscapes for both parties will likely change. It’s essential to gauge what these might look like.
Factors to Consider
The court will evaluate several factors to determine the future needs of each party. These include:
- Age and overall health.
- Current and potential income, property holdings, and financial resources.
- Physical and mental ability to gain employment.
- Care and control of children.
- Existing financial commitments and support responsibilities.
- Eligibility for pensions or superannuation.
- Expected standard of living.
- Impact of the relationship’s duration on earning potential.
- Financial aspects if living with another person.
- Child support considerations.
- Any other factors that justice mandates.
Decide whether the outcome is fair and just considering all factors
Ultimately, the division of assets should be perceived as equitable and fair by both parties involved.
- Fairness & Resentment: While many couples achieve a sense of mutual fairness, some might struggle, especially if feelings of guilt or being wrong come into play. An unfair division can breed resentment, potentially impacting shared responsibilities like child-rearing.
- Moving Forward: For both parties to move on positively, it’s crucial that they perceive the settlement as just. Lingering feelings of bitterness can hamper the healing process post-separation.
What are Consent Orders?
Consent orders are legally binding agreements approved by a court. They represent an understanding or arrangement between two parties post-separation about property, financial settlements, spousal maintenance, or child support. By obtaining a consent order, both parties ensure their agreement is enforceable, providing a clear and structured framework for moving forward.
Why Choose Us?
At O’Sullivan Legal, our commitment is unwavering. We are singularly focused on achieving the most satisfactory outcomes for our clients. With our guidance, anticipate a smooth, judicious division of assets, upholding the interests of both parties.
We aren’t just your lawyers – we are your allies in navigating the challenging intricacies and pitfalls often associated with property settlements. We deeply understand the emotional whirlwind that accompanies a separation. We’re here to support you throughout the entire process, ensuring you won’t go through this alone.
Settling Your Assets the Right Way with O’Sullivan Legal
Embarking on the property settlement journey requires expertise, empathy, and a strategic approach.
At O’Sullivan Legal, we combine all three, ensuring your interests are at the forefront.
Our seasoned team is dedicated to crafting solutions tailored to your unique situation. For a harmonious transition and a secure future, O’Sullivan Legal stands as your optimal choice.
Speak to us today to see how we can help you move forward.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Leave it Blank
What is property settlement?
Property settlement refers to the legal process of dividing assets and liabilities between parties following a separation or divorce.
How long does the property settlement process take?
When should I start the property settlement process?
It’s generally advisable to begin as soon as possible after separation to protect your financial interests.
Is it mandatory to go to court for property settlement?
No, many couples reach an agreement outside of family court using mediation or direct negotiation. Going to court is often a last resort when parties can’t agree.
How is the value of assets determined?
Assets are typically valued based on current market value, which might involve professional valuations for certain items like real estate or businesses.
What if my former partner and I can't agree on property division?
If an agreement can’t be reached, you might consider mediation. If that’s unsuccessful, the matter can be taken to court for a decision.
Are all assets split 50-50 in a property settlement?
Not necessarily. The division is based on various factors, including each party’s contribution, future needs, and other specific circumstances.
How are debts handled in a property settlement?
Just as assets are divided, liabilities (or debts) are also shared based on who incurred them and the circumstances around them.
Can property settlements affect child custody arrangements?
While both are separate legal matters, financial stability can play a role in determining the best interests of the child. However, property settlements and child custody are decided based on their respective criteria.
What happens if one party doesn't adhere to the property settlement agreement?
If it’s a court order or a legally binding agreement, there are legal consequences for not complying. The aggrieved party can seek enforcement through the court.
Can property settlement decisions be modified later?
Once a final order is made, it’s generally binding. However, in specific exceptional circumstances, such as significant financial hardship or a considerable change in financial circumstances, revisions might be considered.
Do I need a lawyer for property settlement?
While it’s possible to negotiate directly, having a lawyer ensures that your rights are protected, and you’re aware of all legalities. They can guide you through the complexities, ensuring a fair outcome. Contact us to see how we can best help you in your situation.