Property & Financial

Protecting Your Business from Divorce

Nobody goes into marriage – or business – expecting it to end badly. However, if the Family Court determines your ex-partner had a material impact on growing your business you could be facing a large payout or worse. Divorce can have damaging effects for small business owners, especially if the separation comes unexpectedly some years …

Who Gets What? Common Misconceptions

There are no universal rules for dividing assets after separation. In Australia the family law system is discretionary meaning despite what you may have read or heard it is not as simple as dividing property and financial assets 50/50. Property settlements aim to reflect what is fair for both parties. Reaching an agreement without the …

Why-should-we-do-a-financial-settlement-now

Why Should we do a Financial Settlement now?

Many people separate and in the interests of remaining amicable work out some temporary arrangements and then wait and see what happens. Neither party get legal advice and they do what they think is sensible and practical and usually what works best for their family. “I don’t need legal advice, we can work through this …

Super in De Facto Relationships

Super in De Facto Relationships

Superannuation splitting in de facto relationships has been problematic in Australia’s financial and legal climate for some time. Last year, Catherine Leach, Director of Perth’s largest Family Law firm, discussed with Chanel Nine News the need for the legislation to change. Today, the bill is under review in Federal Parliament, and if this legislation passes, …

Mediation Process through divorce explained

Binding Financial Agreements – Thorne v Kennedy Decision

A decision on binding financial agreements from the High Court of Australia in the case Thorne v Kennedy was handed down  on 8 November 2017. Concern has been expressed that this “means the end of Binding Financial Agreements – Binding Financial Agreements will no longer be enforced”. This is far from the case. Facts of …

Who gets the dog

When parties to a marriage or de facto relationship separate, there may be a dispute about who keeps the family pet. Whether it is Gordon the goldfish, Cuddles the cat or Fido the loyal family dog, the question is – how does the Family Court treat pets in divorce proceedings. For most separated couples, it …

Things to think about when preparing a Financial Agreement

A Financial Agreement is commonly known as a “prenuptial agreement”. Both de facto and married couples can enter into Financial Agreements either before they commence living together or get married, or afterwards. Financial Agreement can make provision for how the assets and financial resources of the parties will be dealt with during the relationship and …

What Happens If The Bank Account Has Been Cleaned Out?

A question a family lawyer is often asked is: what happens if my partner empties the joint account and spends the money? Does he or she have to give it back, or is it taken into account in some way? When a couple separates, emotions are often highly charged and behaviour can be unpredictable. What …

Four Common Mistakes in Property Settlement Negotiations

1. Not getting advice EARLY I understand that people may not want to “get lawyers involved” after separation. Honestly though, this is often a big mistake. How can you negotiate a settlement if you do not understand how the Family Law system works, or the specifics of how superannuation is treated? Most firms offer an …

Valuations in the Family Court

In cases in the Family Court involving property, one of the first things your lawyer will ask you is to help draw up a list of assets and liabilities. You are likely to be handed, and asked to help fill out, a document which lists assets and liabilities under various headings such as: real estate; …

Everything Is In!

People are often confused about what assets and liabilities are taken into account by the Family Court when it comes to working out a property settlement following the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship.  It is common for parties to hold assets in the names of other entities, and assume that those assets …

Can I help you achieve a family law property settlement?

Yes, I can and the best way for that to occur is by working together. So, to quote Jerry Maguire: “help me help you!” To do this, you need to understand how you can help me provide you with the best advice possible. Now before you ‘turn-off’ and say to yourself: “This isn’t what I …

Penny Wise Pound Foolish

Transferring Property without Legal Advice When couples mutually decide to separate, they also often try to divide their assets and liabilities without seeking legal advice regarding their future vulnerabilities such as the tax implications resulting from their financial settlement. In the end, failing to obtain legal advice can be an extremely costly exercise particularly if …

Overseas Property – not necessarily out of reach

A recent decision in the Family Court in Melbourne demonstrates the power of the Australian Family Court to make orders about people who are not living in Australia, and about property that is not in Australia. A couple had spent 15 years living together and married but have never lived in Australia. The Wife an …

The Cardinal Sins of Family Law Matters

Going through a relationship breakdown is one of the most difficult things a person can go through. Aside from the emotional turmoil that inevitably accompanies a relationship breakdown, you will find that EVERYONE is a family law expert- your friends, the internet and your family often provide [well-meaning] incorrect advice. Here are some very specific …

Lottery wins and family law property settlements

The recent case of Elford [2016] FamCAFC 45 considered how lottery ticket prize money would be treated in a property settlement. In this case: 12 months into the 10 year relationship, the Husband won over $620,000 on a lottery ticket; He had been using the same numbers each week for some 8 years before the …

How Much Spousal Maintenance Am I Entitled To?

After the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship a person may find themselves in a weak financial position after the financial support once provided to them is withdrawn or decreased. This change in financial support can leave a person in a situation where they are unable to support themselves. Additional circumstances may …

To disclose or not to disclose, where is the question?

Chapter 13 of Family Law Rules 2004 deals with the duty of disclosure. Pursuant to Rule 13.01, parties in family law negotiations are obliged to make full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances in a timely manner. The duty of disclosure is an ongoing duty. Parties must disclose all relevant documents and continue to …

Child Support Obligations

Despite parties severing all ties after separation or divorce as parents they have an ongoing obligation to support their children financially until, in most cases, the child reaches 18. This obligation is governed by the Child Support (Assessment) Act, and administered by the Child Support Agency (CSA). Assessment Either parent or a non-parent carer can …

The importance of Family Court Orders in your property settlement

So you have recently separated from your de facto partner, husband or wife. You sit down together and manage to come to an agreement about how your assets should be divided and who should be responsible for your liabilities. Things are going well. Now all that is left is completing the necessary transfer paperwork and …

Should you look a gift horse in the mouth?

Over the course of a marriage, or even prior to, a couple may receive funds from their respective parents, often to assist them to purchase a house. The status of these monies may come into contention pending a property settlement as the Family Court treats gifts and loans differently and the difference can have an …

Should I enter into a Binding Financial Agreement?

A Binding Financial Agreement (“BFA”) is a written agreement between parties to a marriage or de facto relationship. Couples can enter into a BFA when they are contemplating marriage or cohabitation (commonly known as a “pre-nuptial agreement”), during the relationship, or following separation. The focus of this article is on “pre-nuptial” agreements. A BFA can …

BOOTH [2010] FMCAfam 1269

23 November 2010, published 5 November 2014 Property – Long marriage – Initial contribution of home by Mr Booth the primary asset – Contributions assessed 61/39 of $711K pool (1 per cent being for Mr Booth’s care of children) – No s 75(2) adjustment – Husband’s non-disclosure of earnings FACTS: Mr. and Mrs. Booth married …

Sexually Transmitted Debt

What you need to know about separation, divorce and debt Debts, just like assets, are usually factored into a property settlement. Even if the debt is not in your name, and/or you did not know about it, it is likely to be part of the overall asset pool. If your ex does not “put the …

Why Documents Matter in Family Law

Why Documents Matter in Family Law When a couple separate, they are usually asked to tell “their story”.   They individually tell friends, family, colleagues and professionals about their relationship, why it ended and what their expectations are moving forward. Amazingly, each person will tell a different “story”. These different stories can sometimes be very …

Working with Documents? Things your Lawyer should tell you

You can spend a huge amount of money with your lawyer on providing documents to prove your case.  This is called disclosure. You are required to provide disclosure to the other side, whether you are negotiating, mediating or involved in Family Court proceedings. Your lawyer will tell you what documents you have to provide.  If …