Property and financial settlements

Some commonly asked questions about property and financial settlements

  • The total value of all of the assets and liabilities, including joint and individual assets. This is a complicated process that must give consideration to taxation issues and whether assets have appreciated or depreciated.
  • The contributions made by each party, including both financial (eg income) and non-financial contributions (eg being a stay-at-home carer to children). The court will take into account any assets that either party owned prior to the relationship.
  • The future needs of each party. Among other things, the court will take into account the age and health of each person, the capacity of each party to earn money, the property and assets belonging to each party, the existence of any new relationship that might change the financial circumstances of one party, and importantly, the parenting responsibilities where children are involved.
  • Whether the division of assets and finances is just and equitable.

It is generally within 12 months of a divorce becoming finalised, or within two years from the date of separation for a de facto relationship.

It is always preferable to negotiate an agreement out of court. If you have come to an agreement then you can file an application for consent orders with the Family Court in order to make your agreement legally binding. Stacks can help you to reach a fair agreement with your former spouse or partner, and draft and file the appropriate documentation with the court. Once approved, the court will seal the consent orders, making them binding and legally enforceable.

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution that allows you to discuss openly what you want to achieve, including property settlement, arrangements for your children and child support. It is a flexible settlement tool and can be either formal or informal, where a mediator helps you to identify and resolve points in dispute. It can help you to understand your former partner’s goals in the property settlement, and get things “on the table”. If you can agree, then this will be formally documented through written consent orders.

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