Understanding the basics of Property Settlement
A family law property settlement refers to the process of dividing assets and liabilities between separating or divorcing couples. It’s all about reaching a fair and equitable arrangement when it comes to property, finances, and other assets.
What’s included in your property pool?
This a broad category that includes:
- The family home or any other real estate properties
- Vehicles, such as cars, motorbikes, and boats
- Bank accounts, cash, and investments
- Businesses or shares in companies
- Furniture, jewelry, and other personal belongings
- Debts, including mortgages, loans, and credit card debts
- Inheritances and lotto wins
The list can go on, but you get the idea. Essentially, anything of value that the couple owns, either jointly or separately, will be taken into account when determining a fair property settlement.
How is a family law property settlement decided?
It is never our intention for clients to go straight to Court, but our advice adopts the four-step process a family law judge adopts when determining property settlements. While each case is unique, here’s a general overview of what these steps involve:
Step 1: Identify and value the assets, liabilities, and financial resources of both parties.
Step 2: Assess the contributions made by each party, including financial contributions (e.g. income, savings) and non-financial contributions (e.g. homemaking, parenting, renovations).
Step 3: Consider the future needs and circumstances of both parties, including factors like age, health, income-earning capacity, and parental responsibilities.
Step 4: Determine a just and equitable division of the property based on the previous steps.
How do I resolve my family law property settlement?
In most cases, a family lawyer will work with you to try and reach an agreement without going to court. This can be achieved through negotiation and mediation. These alternative dispute resolution methods promote open communication and allow both parties to have a say in the outcome.
If an agreement can be reached, a family lawyer will document this for you in a legally binding way, generally through an Application for Consent Orders.
If negotiations fail or there are complex issues involved, court proceedings may be necessary. In such cases, a judge will make the final decision based on the evidence presented and the legal principles involved.
What should I do next?
It’s important to remember, every case is as unique as the people involved. It is important to seek legal advice tailored to your specific family law property settlement situation.
The team at Berryman Partners have years of experience helping people with their family law needs throughout the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter region. If you’re going through a separation or divorce and need assistance with Property Settlements, Contact Us on (02) 4943 3988 to speak with one of our expert family lawyers. We will help you through each step of the process.