- Property Settlement
Navigating Property Settlements During Separation
• July 25, 2023
Separating from your partner can be a challenging and emotional experience, especially when it comes to dividing property and assets. Property settlements during separation can be complex, but with the right tips and strategies, you can achieve a fair outcome that meets your needs, and one which (hopefully) avoids hostility with your former partner or spouse.
In this guide, we’ll explain the basics of property settlements during separation and offer tips and strategies to help you navigate the process.
What is a Property Settlement?
A property settlement is the process of dividing property and assets between a separating couple. This includes property owned jointly or individually, such as real estate, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings. Superannuation may also be divided during the process.
In Australia, property settlements are guided by the Family Law Act 1975 and a range of factors are considered, including the contributions of each party to the relationship, their future needs, and the care arrangements for and needs of any children. In most circumstances, the division of property and assets will result in an adjustment of the property interests of each party to the relationship.
Tips and Strategies for a Fair Property Settlement
1. Seek Professional Advice:
Seeking professional advice from an experienced family lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and obligations during the property settlement process. They can provide advice on your entitlements, assist with negotiations, and draft legal agreements. It will help the process if you trust your lawyer, and the process.
2. Identify and Value Assets
Make a list of all assets, liabilities, and financial resources owned by both parties, including any shared debts, both in Australia and overseas. This will help you and your lawyer determine the value of the property and assets to be divided and will also help to identify which assets, if any, may need to be formally valued. In this regard, particularly if your financial circumstances are complex, it may be useful to involve your accountant from an early stage.
3. Consider Future Needs
When negotiating a property settlement, it’s important to consider your future needs, including your financial and living arrangements, and any future care arrangements for any children. Think about an outcome that is ‘workable’, as opposed to one that is desirous and potentially unrealistic. You may wish to obtain financial advice to guide you in terms of your future needs.
4. Be Open to Negotiation
Negotiation is an important part of the property settlement process. Be open to considering different options and be prepared to compromise to reach a fair agreement. It may become necessary to adjust your expectations to achieve a fair outcome. It is important that you do not think of the ultimate result as a ‘win’ or ‘loss’.
5. Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative separation, can be a helpful option for resolving property settlement disputes. It can often be less costly and time-consuming than traditional litigation. Particularly where there are children of your relationship, the emotional cost and toll of litigation can be significant, and avoiding a protracted dispute may prove to be invaluable to you.
In conclusion, navigating property settlements during separation can be confusing and even daunting, but following the guidelines above can help you to achieve a fair outcome that meets your needs. Seeking professional advice, identifying and valuing assets, considering future needs, being open to negotiation, and considering alternative dispute resolution can all be helpful strategies for achieving a fair and positive outcome. Talk to an experienced family lawyer to learn more about navigating the property settlement process during separation.
The following blog posts may be useful when considering property settlement:
- Mum and Dad Loans: Protecting Assets in Separation
- The Basics of Spousal Maintenence in Australia
- Is Future Capital Gains Tax Considered in Family Law
We also recommend reading the information on The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website. – Click Here.
Contact us today for expert advice.