Do I have to be divorced to split the property?
There is a common misconception that you must be divorced before you can split property with your ex-partner. In fact, as soon as you have separated from your ex-partner, you can make arrangements to split your property and debts. There is no requirement for you to wait until you are divorced.
Do we have to go to Court?
Not in all cases. If you have already agreed on how your property and debts will be split, you solicitor can document the agreement, and get the legal processess underway to finalise the arrangements.
What if we can’t agree?
There is an eastablished process in cases where the parties disagree over how the property and debts should be split.
Firstly, the court needs to be satisfied that you have attempted to reach an agreement, and to this end you may be ordered to participate in some form of dispute resolution process.
If this doesn’t resolve the matter, then an application for property orders must be filed with the court. The application can be filed at any time after you have separated, but must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final or within 2 years of the breakdown of your de deacto relationship.
The matter will then be set down for hearing, and the court will make a decision which will become legally binding on you.
How does the court decide?
There is a vast number of considerations that the court will make in reaching a decision.
Firstly, the courts will take into account the total assets of the parties; including property, shares, motor vehicles, furniture, and funds in bank accounts etc. It includes assets which you brought into the relationship, those that were acquired during the relationship, as well as those that were acquired since the date of separation.
Next, the court will consider the contributions made by both parties. These inclusde financial and non-financial contributions, inheritances, and assets brought into the relationship.
Then, the court will look at the future needs of both parties. It will consider factors such as your earning capacity and your parental responsibilities.
Lastly, and taking into account all these factors, the court will make a decision based on what is just and equitable to both parties.
We can help
Dealing with the complexities of a property settlement can be stressful, but the consequences of not doing it properly can impact on the rest of your life. We are experienced negotiators, and will make sure that you get the best possible outcome and one that you deserve.
Contact us to discuss your particular situation with one of our experienced family law solicitors.
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