After separation it may be important to divide property and this is called a property settlement.
It is important to obtain advice about property issues as soon as possible after separation to ensure that your rights are protected and to give you the advice and information you need to achieve a fair and reasonable property settlement. Delay in obtaining advice can result in assets being dealt with or possibly disappearing before you have an opportunity to receive your entitlement.
Property settlements between married partners and de facto partners (including same sex couples) are determined according to the principles in the Family Law Act.
Property includes all assets and financial resources owned either jointly or individually and includes real estate, motor vehicles, furniture, bank accounts, businesses, shares, collections of precious items, investments, superannuation and anything else that can be given a monetary value.
A property settlement should be addressed as soon as possible after separation – you do not need to wait until you are divorced.
The first step in the property settlement process is to identify and value the asset pool and it may be necessary to obtain valuations (e.g. from real estate agents or other valuers) if there is any dispute as to values.
There are two main factors for determining property entitlements:
• Contributions – This includes both financial and non financial contributions and also an assessment of any separate or special contributions made by either or both of you. Non financial contributions include contributions in the home maker and parent role.
• Future needs – This includes factors such as who is responsible for the children after separation, income and employment capacity, age and health and availability of other financial resources.
One of the most important considerations in a property settlement is the welfare of any children under the age of 18.
Most property settlements are achieved through negotiation with the assistance of lawyers.
It is important to formalise property agreements through appropriate documents so as to prevent further claims in the future. These documents include court Consent Orders and Binding Financial Agreements.
Once your property settlement is completed, it may be necessary to transfer the former matrimonial home from joint names into your sole name. This process is often referred to as conveyancing. Conveyancing can be undertaken by a registered conveyancer or a solicitor.
At Adelaide Family Law our solicitors are skilled in the procedures to arrange a property transfer, so there is no need to engage another professional. In fact, it will save you time and money as if we have completed your family law or property settlement matter we will have all the necessary information at hand.
Following the completion of your family law property settlement our solicitors would be happy to arrange your property transfer as well.