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 making the deposit of any agreed amounts and you are done right? You do not need Court Orders because you both agree right?

Wrong.

The Family Court of Western Australia has a duty to all married and de facto couples to determine their financial matters on a final basis. This duty is not just for contested matters that require a determination of the Court. This duty also extends to consent order applications where an agreement is reached.

Once Orders are made, only in limited circumstances can the Orders be changed or set aside. These circumstances include, but are not limited to fraud, duress, impracticality or hardship.

The making of legally binding consent orders provides parties with certainty about their financial affairs and also acts as a barrier against any further property settlement claims, thus giving the parties the ability to move on with their lives and arrange their finances accordingly.

If the parties decide not to enter into any Orders by consent then there is a strict time limit of 12 months from the date of divorce for married couples and 24 months from the date of separation for de facto couples to apply to the Family Court of Western Australia for a property settlement.

This means that at any time from the date of your informal agreement to the date of your time limitation either party can apply to the Court for a property settlement. The making of an informal agreement is not necessarily a barrier to a successful application and in some cases the parties may be required to agree or litigate yet another property settlement, all because the first one was not formalised correctly.

Leach Legal can assist you to create reliable, binding and enforceable Consent Orders in circumstances where you and your partner have reached an agreement. We can advise you on all aspects of the agreement, including enforcement or benefits of the agreement and also engage in discussions with you about matters you may not have thought about. In addition we are able to offer certainty about the price and offer fixed fees for all work in relation to preparing your consent orders.

Alternatively, if you and your former partner have not been able to reach an agreement then Leach Legal can provide you with advice and assist you to obtain Orders through proceedings.

Call us to speak to an experienced family lawyer for your free 15 minute telephone consultation.