Property settlement is concerned with dividing the assets of the parties. Property settlements must occur and be finalised within twelve (12) months from the date of the divorce. The Family Court has a wide discretion in making orders that may alter the interests of parties in property. The Court will not intervene with the interests of the parties unless it considers it necessary to do so to restore just and equitable terms between the parties.
1. The Court must firstly identify the property of the marriage currently owned by the parties, jointly and separately. Property includes real estate, cash, investments, shares, furniture, motor vehicles, interest in any company, trust, partnership, business, etc.
After identifying all of the property, a value must then be placed on each item of property.
2. The Court examines and determines the financial and non financial contributions made directly or indirectly by each partner towards the acquisition, conservation or improvement of any matrimonial property.
3. Finally the Court will examine a number of other matters listed under Section 75(2) of the Family Law Act relating to the future circumstances of both partners to the marriage.
The Court has a very wide discretion in making adjustments as to how much property each partner should receive based upon “future circumstance” factors. After having considered all of the above matters, the Court then has a very wide discretion to make the order that it considers proper, just and equitable. For this reason it is important to resolve as many issues as possible by agreement with your partner. This gives certainty to the sharing of property between the parties and keeps legal costs to a minimum.
A property settlement can be issued in a number of ways:
- Binding financial agreement;
- Consent orders or
- Court proceedings for Court orders.
There are no hard and fast rules for percentage divisions on property settlement, but the lawyers at KPL Lawyers can advise on orders the Court will make in your particular matter. Where necessary, we can assist to negotiate property settlements or conduct Family Court proceedings.