Property Lawyer

We can help you reach an agreement on dividing up your property and assets

At the end of a long-term relationship, working out how to share what you owned can be a challenge. It is helpful to have a lawyer guide you through the process so you can be sure you have thought of everything.

What is a property settlement?

A property settlement is when you work out who gets what at the end of a relationship. If you have been married or in a de-facto relationship (living in a ‘marriage-like’ way for two or more years), then you might need one.

Property settlements can cover things such as:

  • Dividing property
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Child support
  • Financial enforcement

Property is any tangible asset:

  • Your home
  • Any other properties or real estate
  • Money in the bank or investments
  • Household contents
  • Cars/boats/motorcycles
  • Interest in family trusts
  • Business interests
  • Farm machinery
  • Water entitlements

This is not a full list, even your family pet can be considered in a property settlement.

Is property split 50/50?

Contrary to popular belief there is no magic 50/50, 60/40 rule when working out how to divide property. There are some factors which must be considered though:

  • The current value of any property and any debt owing
  • Direct financial contributions, both before and during the relationship
  • Indirect financial contributions by either of you (gifts and inheritances etc)
  • Non-financial contributions to the relationship (caring for children and the home, maintaining the property etc)
  • Future needs – this includes consideration of age, health, financial resources, care of children etc

The final thing to do is to test whether any proposed property settlement is fair and reasonable under the circumstances.

It is important to remember that the way your assets and debts will be shared between the two of you will depend on the individual circumstances of your family. Beware of “advice” received from well-meaning friends or family because of their own experiences.

Your situation is different from your friends or neighbours’ and should be carefully assessed by a qualified family lawyer like the team at Joliman Lawyers. We are experienced in this field and can give you the right advice to suit your situation.

Can my property settlement be informal?

There is no law against making your own informal property settlement, however, it isn’t a wise move. Unless a settlement is approved by the Courts, or an informal binding Financial Agreement is made with a lawyer, any private property settlement is not binding. This means that either one of you could change your mind at any time and ask for more. It really is in your best interest to do it formally the first time.

You don’t have to appear in court to have a binding agreement. If you are both happy with the terms of settlement, an experienced family lawyer can prepare and lodge your application for you.

Does timing matter?

You don’t have to wait for divorce to arrange a property settlement. It can be done at any time after the marriage or de-facto relationship has broken down.

It is wise to complete your property settlement as soon as both parties are ready, as leaving it for multiple years can have a significant impact on who gets what. This is normally good for one and bad for the other, so timing is important.

What if we can’t reach an agreement?

If you can’t reach an agreement through negotiation, then mediation is a much cheaper option than going through the Courts. Your mediator will help you:

  • Work out what property you have
  • Work out how each of you contributed to it
  • Identify any future needs
  • Work with you to come up with a fair agreement

There are lots of times property mediation may be beneficial:

  • If you do not feel that your ex-partner is being honest about what property you owned
  • If you can’t come to an agreement between the two of you alone
  • If you feel uncomfortable or insecure talking with your ex-partner about finances
  • If your situation is very complex

We can help you with your property settlement

There is lots to think about when separating property. It can be hard to work out on your own how much you have, how much you contributed and your ongoing future needs. Our team can help you to figure out just what you have and what a fair split would look like.

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