Gentles Family Lawyers’ Guide To Property Settlement
For many people dealing with separation and divorce, property settlement can be one of the most stressful, overwhelming, and confusing aspects of the process, as most people are unsure of how settlement actually works. At Gentles Family Lawyers, our team are expert property settlement lawyers in Sydney, and we work with people from all walks of life to deliver the best possible resolution for their unique situations. We’re here to break down property settlement and guide you through the process so you can enter your own settlement negotiations feeling confident and prepared.
How Does Property Settlement Work?
While the two processes are often linked, property settlement is actually a separate legal process from your divorce. As soon as you and your partner separate, you can begin discussing the division of assets. There are a couple of ways you can go about property settlement discussions.
- Mediation. If you’d like your matter to stay out of court, you can engage in mediation. You and your partner will come to an agreement about how the property and assets should be divided. Each party can seek legal advice to ensure you reach the best outcome, but you won’t need to take the matter to litigation.
- Negotiation. If you feel that mediation may be too emotionally charged, negotiation is still a better alternative for both parties than litigation. If you opt for negotiation, you’ll need to have a lawyer negotiating on your behalf. If you’d like to learn more about the negotiation route, organise to speak with a property settlement lawyer in Manly.
- If you agree on a solution… You can have your agreement formalised by applying for consent orders through the family court.
- If you can’t agree on a solution… you can apply for financial orders, which include orders relating to the division of property and payment of spousal or de facto maintenance. The court will apply its four-step process to determine the most equitable and just way to divide your assets.
A Few Misconceptions About Property Settlement
Property settlement can be confusing, and the misconceptions about the process can make it more overwhelming than it needs to be. As leading property settlement lawyers in North Sydney, the team at Gentles Family Lawyers are here to address some of these misconceptions here.
- I can only discuss property settlement after the divorce is finalised.
You can start discussing settlement as soon as you separate. In fact, the sooner you begin planning the settlement, the sooner you’ll reach a resolution for your divorce.
- Inheritance isn’t considered in a property settlement dispute.
Inheritance is typically handled on a case-by-case basis, and the outcome is influenced by the timing of the receipt of the inheritance. If you received an inheritance before or at the commencement of your relationship, it may be considered an initial contribution. This means the value isn’t separated from the overall asset pool. If you receive an inheritance during the relationship and you use it for the benefit of both parties (e.g. to buy a car or renovate a home), it’s considered a financial contribution and will be regarded as a joint asset. If you receive an inheritance late in a relationship or after the relationship has ended, it may be excluded from the asset pool.
- Superannuation isn’t considered an asset.
Under the Family Law Act 1975, superannuation falls under the definition of property and can therefore be dealt with in the context of property settlement.
- My partner cheated, so I should get more in the settlement.
In Australia, immoral actions don’t influence the outcome of property settlement, as we adhere to a no-fault divorce policy. However, other misconduct, such as the destruction of property or domestic violence, will affect the settlement outcome.
- My property settlement should result in a 50/50 split.
In Australia, divorce settlement is a complicated process. The court applies a four-step process to determine what is just and equitable in each unique circumstance, taking into account many factors and variables.
Property Settlement FAQs
If you’ve got questions that only a financial settlement lawyer can answer, you wouldn’t be alone. That’s why the team at Gentles Family Lawyers have put together some of the most frequently asked questions right here.
- Which assets are considered in property settlements?
Property that may be considered includes;
- The family home
- Investment properties
- Bank accounts
- Family trusts
- Debts including mortgages, loans, credit cards, and personal debts
- Insurance policies
- How is it determined who gets what in a property settlement?
A set four-step process determines the best way to divide property between two people.
1. The assets and debts of each party must be agreed upon.
2. The financial and non-financial contributions of each party are considered.
3. Factors that will affect individuals in the future, such as income and child custody arrangements, are considered.
4. The overall outcome is assessed to ensure it is equitable and just.
- How does property settlement become legally binding?
The ensure the property settlement is adhered to, you can either file terms with the family court or your property settlement lawyers in Sydney can draw up a binding financial agreement.
- Do I have to tell my ex how much money I have when entering property settlement?
Both parties must disclose all relevant information to the court. Relevant information includes financial information such as bank statements, superannuation statements, tax returns, and other documents. Failure to disclose relevant information could result in a case dismissal, fines, or being found guilty of contempt of court.
- Who is responsible for paying the mortgage after separation?
Both parties are legally responsible for the payments if a mortgage is in joint names. If you can’t continue to make mortgage payments, consult with the bank, your partner, and your financial settlement lawyer on the appropriate action.
- How much time do I have to commence property settlement proceedings?
If you are married but not yet divorced, you don’t have any restrictive time limits. However, if your divorce is finalised, you have 12 months from the date of finalisation to commence property settlement proceedings. If you were in a de facto relationship, you have from the day you separate until two years after separation to commence proceedings.
- Can I still apply for property orders if I was in a de facto relationship?
Yes. The Family Law Act 1975 contains mirror provisions that apply to both married and de facto couples.
Need Property Settlement Lawyers In Sydney? Contact Gentles Family Lawyers Today
At Gentles Family Lawyers, we’re passionate about delivering the very best results for our clients. Our team are experts in a wide range of family law matters, including separation, divorce, mediation, property settlement, and child custody. We endeavour to provide cost-effective legal services without compromising on our commitment to quality. As a boutique firm, we’re better able to provide a boutique service, and we’re renowned for our resolutions-focused approach to our work. Gentles Family Lawyers strives to provide our clients with compassionate, professional, and accurate legal advice tailored to their unique circumstances. If you’re looking for property settlement lawyers in Sydney, contact Gentles Family Lawyers today.
Manly office: (02) 8319 7498
Ioanita Gentles: 0412 341 635
Conveyancing: (02) 8319 7498
Our Manly office hours are:
8.30am to 5.00pm
Lunch hour: 1-2pm
We look forward to helping you