At the end of a relationship or marriage, the property of the parties may need to be adjusted between them to reflect contributions made by each during the relationship, taking into account each of their likely future circumstances. Property taken into consideration may include real estate, shares, savings, cars, business assets and superannuation.
This can be a challenging task if people can’t reach an agreement about the division. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the Family Law Courts have power to alter the interests of each party in property they own. There are a range of matters which the Court must consider before making an order adjusting the property interests of the parties, including:
- Financial contributions – whether direct or indirect, to the purchase, upkeep or enhancement of an asset.
- Non-financial contributions – to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of property;
- Contributions to the welfare of the parties or family – including contributions to the care and support of each other and as a parent;
- Any impact upon the earning capacity of each party as a result of the proposed order;
- Future considerations – including such things as the health of each party, their income and earning capacities and whether either has responsibility to care for or support a child;
- Equity and fairness – whether in all the circumstances, the proposed order is “just and equitable”.
Each case is different and the determinations of the court are based upon many considerations. In addition, the discretion of the Judge is guided by previous decisions made by the courts. While it may seem alluring, there are serious risks associated with informal property settlements. Obtaining legal advice to understand and guard against those risks is essential.
Ian Symonds & Associates team are specialists in property settlements, from drafting agreements to securing complex outcomes in court. We have extensive experience providing key insights into how the legal system operates in this field. Our specialists are both tenacious negotiators, making them an invaluable asset to your matter.
Family Dispute Resolution
Where there is a dispute regarding the care of children, the parties are required to attend family dispute resolution with a qualified practitioner, before applying to the Court for specific orders. The practitioner will then issue a certificate stating that a genuine attempt to reach an agreement regarding the care arrangements for children has been made. The certificate must be produced to the court before an application for parenting orders can be made.
In some circumstances, the dispute resolution practitioner may issue a certificate confirming that the matter is not suitable for dispute resolution. The Family Law Act sets out exceptions about when dispute resolution is not required – including in cases of urgency and where there is family violence.
It is recommended that parties obtain legal advice before they attend dispute resolution so that they understand what might be the likely result if they went to court to guide their negotiations. This is crucial in understanding the range of options and outcomes that might be in the best interests of the children. Expert family law advice should be obtained before signing a parenting plan or a consent order.
Ian Symonds & Associate solicitors are specialists in parenting matters, recognising the sensitivity and empathy required in resolving disputes. We combine this with knowledge of the law and strategic thinking to make the process as effective as possible.
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