When a relationship breaks down there are a lot of loose ends. There’s living arrangements, child support and parenting arrangements, and of course the division of property and assets. Property and financial settlement lawyers in Perth can help separating couples negotiate the muddy waters of “who gets what”.
Even the friendliest separations require a proper settlement, and for difficult separations the process ensures a fair split when the couple cannot agree.
What is a property settlement?
Property and financial settlements divide up property owned or controlled, independently or jointly, by couples when their relationship ends.
The result is a fair and equitable division of assets and liabilities.
Sometimes the agreement is reached by the separating couple and finalised by their family lawyers. Other times the process is fraught and the Family Court steps in, applying tests to decide how property is split.
We previously wrote about common misconceptions in property divisions which you can read here.
Although they require a Family Court application, settlements are normally negotiated without the need for a trial.
At Leach Legal, our Perth property and financial settlement lawyers will outline your options including negotiated settlements, arbitration, mediation, and Court proceedings.
What is included
In the sense of a relationship “property” refers to assets, including superannuation, financial holdings, and liabilities under ownership or control of one or both parties.
If that sounds confusing, it’s because it can be.
Below is a list of common examples. Our Perth property and financial lawyers can go through your assets with you for a better understanding of your legal standing.
- Family home
- Rental properties and holiday homes
- Commercial property
- Bank accounts
- Share portfolio
- Interest in businesses
- Trust entitlements
- Vehicles including boats, jet-skis etc.
- Antiques and artwork
- Car loan
- Business-related debt
- Credit card debt
Leach Legal can help you understand your position by liaising with your advisors or connecting you to a network of professionals such as property valuers, forensic accountants, brokers and financial planners.
Married or De Facto: What’s the difference?
Our property and financial settlement lawyers are Perth’s experts in married and de facto settlements.
In Australia, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) governs property settlements for married couples.
Unlike other states the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) governs property (and therefore settlements) for de facto couples in WA.
Either party in a married couple has 12 months from the date of divorce (not separation) to apply for a property settlement. De facto couples have 24 months from the separation date to apply.
Past that time there are exceptional cases where a settlement will be granted.
Remember the Court looks at the date proceedings are dealt with and not the separation date, meaning changes to the asset pool after separation (such as property valuations, dividends or inheritances, or new debts) up until settlement or hearing are included in the division.
What is the first step?
Settlement action should be commenced as soon as possible after the separation; however, it is important not to rush into an agreement.
Getting legal advice early will help you understand your entitlements and obligations to negotiate with confidence.
Leach Legal are here to help you, starting with a free 15-minute consultation with our Property and financial settlement lawyers.
Separations are stressful. With Leach Legal on your side, you can rest assured you will be moving on with your life in the best position possible.