Property Settlements

Property settlement is the division of assets, liabilities and financial resources in the case of a divorce or separation. This can be done either mutually by agreement, or through a judicial decision in the Family Court of Western Australia. We have significant experience in successfully representing clients in complex property settlements and cases involving companies, trusts and overseas assets.

Following the breakdown of a marriage, or de facto relationship, parties need to consider how they are going to divide their property. Our services include (if necessary) access to the various range of experts necessary to advise in respect of a resolution of financial issues including access to land valuers, business valuers, accountants and other professionals as required - further information on experts -click here.

Our rates and fixed prices are lower than the prices charged by many Perth Commercial law firms because we own our offices so we don't pay the exorbitant St George's Tce rent that many commercial law firms do.  

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) governs property settlements for married couples and de facto couples, except in Western Australia. In Western Australia the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) governs property for de factor partners.

We advise on matters relating to asset division, spousal maintenance and superannuation splitting.

When parties have separated they will need to reach an agreement to formalize the division of the property of the parties. Property settlement orders seek to comply with the finality principle which seeks that financial arrangements of the parties be brought to a formal ending within a reasonable time.

Married
Married couples have 12 months from the date of divorce to apply to the family courts for a property settlement and it is 12 months from the date of divorce not from the date of separation.

De Facto
De facto couples have 24 months from the date of separation to apply to the family courts for a property settlement.

BINDING FINANCIAL AGREEMENTS
Where an agreement for property division has been reached we can advise you on the most appropriate and cost effective way to formalize your agreement. This may be through consent orders in the Family Court of Western Australia or with a binding financial agreement - read more here.

We offer fixed fees for Binding Financial Agreements.  Our fixed fees include advice and certificate for preparation of Binding Financial Agreement are from $2,400.00 exc GST.  Our fees for reviewing a Binding Financial Agreement already prepared are from $1,500.00 exc GST.

Can I enter into a financial agreement if I am in a de facto relationship?
Financial agreements are now recognized and can be enforceable in the Family Court of Western Australia. See financial agreements here.

There are lots of matters to take into account when negotiating property settlement and we can provide you with advice on your entitlements.

The Family Court has the power to make orders for property settlement.

All of the assets of the parties involved are taken into account - even if the assets are not in joint names. Each party has an obligation to full disclose his or her financial position to the Court, and to the other party.

How to Divide the Assets
Where an agreement for property division has been reached we can advise you on the most appropriate and cost effective way to formalise your agreement.  This may be through consent orders in the Family Court of Western Australia or with a financial agreement.  There are lots of matters to take into account when negotiating a property settlement and we can provide you with the advice as to your entitlements.

When making a decision on how to divide the assets after the breakdown of a relationship, the court will use the ‘four step’ approach:

1. Identify and value the assets and liabilities of the parties. This may be a simple or complex task depending on the circumstances. The Family Court can have regard to assets held by a company or a third party in certain circumstances.

2. Assess the financial and non-financial contributions of the parties before, during and after the relationship. The assessment of contributions can be difficult in cases involving significant initial contributions, inheritances, compensation payments or gifts. There is no presumption that an assessment of contributions will result in a equal division of the assets.

3. Assess the parties’ Section 75(2) factors, sometimes referred to as ‘future needs’. The court can make an adjustment in favour of one party if the circumstances permit. However the assessment of these factors or needs is discretionary and the adjustments generally vary from case to case.

4. Lastly, assess what orders, if any, are just and equitable in the circumstances of the case.

The Court is obliged to make orders which are 'just and equitable' having consideration to:
* the financial contributions of each of the parties;
* the non-financial contributions of each of the parties, particularly in the role of homemaker and parent;
* the future financial position of the parties, including the need to provide for children and the capacity of each of the parties to provide for those children.

An application for property settlement can be commenced at any time up until 12 months after a divorce becomes final.

There are different limitation periods that apply for de facto couples.

Read more on time limits and division of assets here.

If you would like to make an application for property settlement, then contact us today.

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