Family Law Property Settlements Lawyers Melbourne
Separation or divorce does not end by simply walking away from a relationship. It involves family restructuring in parenting, financial, socially and relationship. With the drastic changes taking place in your life, it should not hinder you from reaching a positive outcome with your spouse or partner.
Following separation, you and your former partner or spouse will need to do adjustment on asset and liabilities for property settlement. This can be a daunting process if you do not know where you stand in asset adjustment and division. Getting legal advice at the early stage would minimise stress, costs and inconvenience.
Property Settlement Services
from Unite Legal's Experienced Lawyers
Asset Adjustment and Division
Asset adjustment and division is considered on a case to case basis, varies depending on the circumstances of each family. Generally, in determining how assets are to be divided after the end of relationship:
(a) Identifying and valuing assets, liabilities and superannuation.
(b) Assessing contribution (financial and non-financial contribution) of the parties.
(c) Ascertaining whether adjustment is required to the property settlement considering each party’s future needs, based on factors such as age, health, income earning capacity, financial resources, expenses in caring for children and care of the children.
(d) Consider whether the property division and adjustment are “just and equitable” in the circumstances of the parties.
Formalising Property Division
If you reach an agreement with your former partner or spouse in dividing your property and finances, the agreement can be documented by applying “Consent Order” or a Binding Financial Agreement.
Consent Orders application is an application to the Court in seeking orders made by agreement and sought by the parties to be formalised as court orders, without going to court or court hearing. This written application is dealt by registrars. The registrars have to apply law and consider a range of matters before making the order. Consent Orders are legally binding and enforceable, similar to the court orders made by a judge. Consent Orders provides maximum possibility of finality as there are limited circumstances to change the Consent Orders.
Binding Financial Agreements also known as “BFA” is a written agreement documenting the division of assets, liabilities and financial of the parties including spousal maintenance if agreed. Binding Financial Agreement has a measure of finality and enforceability. However, Binding Financial Agreements are not as final as Consent Orders as it can be set aside by a court in some circumstances.
Both Consent Order application and Binding Financial Agreement will require the parties to obtain independent legal advice.
Complex Family Law Property Matters
For parties who are unable to reach an agreement on asset and financial split after private negotiations or through dispute resolution or mediation or with the assistance of lawyers, litigation would be the resort to turn to. Pre-action procedures must be complied by the applicant before applying to the Court for financial orders, unless an exemption applies such as urgent application, allegations of family violence or a risk of family violence.
Speak with our Property Family Lawyer
- Guiding you through the process
- Negotiating for property settlement
- Advice on division of assets, liabilities and finances
- Consent Orders application
- Binding Financial Agreements
- Representing you in taking genuine steps or pre-action procedures
- Representing you in court proceedings including initiating court proceedings if no agreement is reached
- Lodging caveats to protect interest in the property
- Urgent applications such as injunction application to present dissipation of assets.
Our multilingual team of lawyers can assist in the following languages:
Frequently Asked Questions
No, parenting and property related matters are completely separate process from divorce application or divorce order.
Property interest of the parties may include cash, real property (houses, buildings or land), investment (shares), personal property (jewellery, furniture, cars, paintings), superannuation, interests in businesses and trusts. Liabilities or debts owed to other parties are also taken into consideration.
The parties have duty to full and frank disclosure about their income, assets and financial. The disclosure process known as “discovery” is done at negotiation stage and in litigation. Failure to give full and frank disclosure has serious consequences.
Although non-legal arrangement may be the cheapest and quickest option in short term, this is not a viable option as either parties could subsequently change their mind and decide to exercise their right to apply for court orders even if the parties initially intend for the agreed arrangement to be a final agreement.
A binding financial agreement can be set aside by the court in circumstances where such as the court is satisfied that the agreement was obtained by fraud including non-disclosure of a material issue, the agreement is for the purpose of defrauding or defeating a creditor or agreement entered to defraud or defeat the interest of the other party. The reasons are non-exhaustive and there are other reasons the Binding Financial Agreement can be set aside.
If the parties are unable to come to an agreement of the value of an asset, the parties can engage an expert in the field for a joint valuation. Alternatively, single valuation can be done on the asset.
Yes, this is categorised as non-financial contribution which is taken into consideration by the Court. Non- financial contribution includes but not limited to contribution as a homemaker and a parent, contributions made to the welfare of the family and conservation or improvement of the family home.
The consequences of failing to give full and frank disclosure in litigation may include:
- The court adjusting a property settlement in favour of the party who has provided full disclosure
- Consent orders being set aside
- Pay the other party’s legal costs as determined by the Court
- Consent orders being set aside
- Charged with contempt of court
Disclaimer: Website contents is not legal advice. This article is general information and the contents do not constitute as legal advice. The website contents are not intended to and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek legal advice as appropriate.