Our experienced lawyers can help you work out your entitlements.
We can guide you through the four steps in determining entitlements of parties to a property settlement pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (Act).
- Identifying and valuing the property of the parties to ascertain the net asset pool.
It is irrelevant under the Act whose name the property is registered in. Other assets may include, but are not limited to, superannuation, jewellery, art, cars, furniture, gifts and inheritances. All assets must be disclosed.
- Assessing the parties direct and indirect financial and non financial contributions to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of any property of the parties as well as their contribution to the welfare of the family.
- Considering what adjustments, if any, should be made on account of the future needs of the parties.
Some of the factors the Court may take into consideration in relation to adjustments are the parties ages, health, property, financial resources, commitments, duty to maintain children under 18 years, standard of living and child support being paid by one parent to the other.
- An assessment of whether the end result is just and equitable to both parties.
The Court must not make an order for property settlement unless it is satisfied that it is just and equitable to do so.
Formalising a Property Settlement once parties have separated
There are two methods under the Family Law Act to formalise an agreement reached between two parties in relation to a property settlement.
- The first and more traditional method is by the parties entering into Minutes of Consent Orders and filing the orders and an Application for Consent Orders with the Family Court.
Both parties do not need to be legally represented but it is advisable. There is a Court filing fee payable.
- The other method is a Binding Financial Agreement. Both parties must obtain their own legal representation and their legal representative must complete a Certificate stating that they provided a party with advice as to the effect of the agreement on their rights and the advantages and disadvantages of signing the agreement.
This advice must be given prior to the party signing the agreement. Both methods require the parties to make full and frank disclosure about their financial circumstances.
Both methods are enforceable and legally binding so it will depend on the circumstances of each case as to which one we use. However, if parties are also seeking orders in relation to children then we would use the Minutes of Consent Orders.
Appointments to see our family and divorce lawyers can be made in either our Melbourne office or our Mount Waverley office, in the South East of Melbourne.
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