- Property Settlement
New case management pathway for Priority Property Pool cases
Bani Mishra • January 22, 2024
Family law disputes which involve a small asset pool or an asset pool that has greater liabilities than it does assets, are often very difficult to resolve. Further, parties in these circumstances often have limited (or no) funds to engage lawyers or to commence proceedings to end the parties’ financial relationship. Moreover, prolonging the conclusion of the financial relationship after separation often leads to the parties incurring greater debt as they struggle to maintain two separate households, pay child support and make mortgage payments all while paying increasing interest on existing debts.
To address some of these challenges the PPP500 Pilot program was introduced on 1 March 2020 in the Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Paramatta registries of the Court, which has now expanded nationally to all filing registries with new broader criteria on 30 October 2023 .
To be eligible the matter must:
- only relate to property settlement;
- only relate to property which does not include a company, family trust or partnership of which the value is disputed or would require a valuation or expert investigation ; and
- relate to a property pool with a net value that is under $550,000 excluding superannuation interests; and
- provided that the net asset pool of the parties is not significantly over the $550,000 the Court in its discretion may still make a declaration or notation that the matter be included as a PPP case if the parties have a particular vulnerability (come examples may include a party’s vulnerability based on their location, family violence or demographic features of the parties.
The advantage of a matter being in the PPP list is that parties can have earlier intervention from a judicial officer to resolve and/or finalise the matter as early as possible.
PPP matters have two important phases, the first being a registrar-led phase where the Court can assist the partes to resolve the matter as quickly as possible and the second being a judge-led phase where the processes regarding a final hearing are simplified before a judge.
In general, the PPP program provides the parties with greater opportunities to resolve the dispute by reducing delays through dispute resolution, reducing the number of court appearances where possible, intensive monitoring to ensure parties are complying with orders regarding disclosure and valuations, and by referring parties to appropriate services which may assist in the early resolution of the matter .
Although matters that are eligible for the PPP List are commenced with an Initiating Application, supplementary documents separate to those that would be filed in a normal property cases will need to be filed, and we would encourage you to contact our office for advice before you begin this process.
At Umbrella Family Law we take pride in our holistic approach as we can provide you and your family with more than just legal advice by linking you with the supports you need. If you would like to learn more, please contact the team at Umbrella Family Law.