Family Law – Property Settlement

You’re at the stage when you need some advice on separating your property between you. It may be that you and your spouse/partner are still on good terms and can decide on the split amicably. 

Alternatively, you and your spouse/partner may need some legal advice and assistance in negotiating your property settlement. 

If you would like a free, personalised report on your family law/property settlement, please click the tab above labelled ‘Get Started Online’ to start a series of questions that will relate to your matter. At the end, you get a report that you can use, take to another solicitor, or engage Vania Holt Legal. 

Do I have to be married? Or is it ok to be in a de facto relationship? 

No, the law is the same for both married couples and couples in a de facto relationship (after approximately March 2009). The law is different for each state so we can advise on your relationship in New South Wales. 

A de facto relationship can be between members of the same sex or opposite sex. You can even be in a de facto relationship while married to someone else!

How can a lawyer help with property settlement?

If you cannot split your assets and liabilities amicably, you may need advice from a lawyer to help negotiate on your behalf. You may also see a mediator. 

Once you have agreed on the property settlement, it should be formalised with the court by Consent Orders or by a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) (Separation Agreement). If property is transferred subject to Orders, then no stamp duty is payable by either party. 

You may have heard of pre-nuptial agreements made by parties before or during marriage. If the Agreement conforms with the requirements of the law, it is binding. So couples may already have organised their finances well before divorce.

Do I have to go to court?

Only if you cannot agree on the property settlement. 

When do I have to complete the property settlement if I’m divorced now?

If you divorced after being married, you must file the application for property settlement within 12 months of the divorce order taking effect. It does not need to be finalised within 12 months, you only need to have filed. 

How does the Court divide the assets and liabilities?

The Court considers the following items when determining an Order for property

1. the value the assets of property;

2. Whether it is just and equitable to make an order;

3. Make an assessment of the contributions by either party (either paid or not paid); 

4. Make an assessment under s75(2) Family Law Act and this includes looking at the arrangements for the children and the income of each party, among other considerations; 

5. Determine whether the order which is proposed is just and equitable. 

The term ‘just and equitable’ is a legal concept that can be explained by us.

Am I eligible for spousal maintenance?

If you are eligible, you need to show two conditions:

a. you cannot adequately support yourself because of caring for children (under 18 years of age); AND

b. that your spouse is reasonably able to pay maintenance. 

You must apply for maintenance within 12 months of a divorce order coming into effect. 

If you were in a de facto relationship, you have 2 years to apply for spousal maintenance. 

What can I do now?

If you would like legal advice, please contact us on 0425 736 057 or at vania.holt@vaniaholt.com.au . Alternatively, you can initiate your family law matter above by clicking on the tab ‘Get Started Online’. This will provide you with a free, personalised report of where your matter sits now. If you decide to engage Vania Holt Legal, we will have this information on file so that it saves you the first hour or two in fees – win/win for everyone! Nothing better than saving money!

We have an office in Maitland but can meet you at your office if that is more convenient.

Click through to our book now to get in contact with us schedule an appointment now.