Settling property matters.

So, you and your partner have decided to separate – what happens when there’s property involved?  Moving on with confidence starts by understanding where you’re at.

We’ve answered 5 of the most commonly asked property settlement questions.

This depends on whether your name is on the title, mortgage, paying household bills etc., or whether you own the property. Property ownership can be negotiated between you and your partner, or the property may be sold with proceeds distributed according to each of your financial and non-financial contributions during the relationship.

Yes you can, since the process of divorce itself is separate from all other issues. As the legal ending of your marriage, a divorce is usually the last thing to do when everything else is sorted out, including children’s matters and property settlement.

However, be aware that there are time limits on when property settlement must be finalised (12 months after a divorce, or two years following separation in a de facto relationship).

Not necessarily. When separating, the Family Court will consider the following as forming part of the asset and liability pool:

  • Real estate, including the family home
  • Money
  • Investments
  • Insurance policies
  • Inheritances
  • Shares
  • Superannuation
  • Any other assets such as cars, furniture and jewellery
  • Debts such as mortgages, loans and credit cards.

Property settlement for divorcing couples is calculated using a four-step process.

  1. The Court will identify the value of the assets, liabilities and financial resources of the parties.
  2. The Court will assess the financial and non-financial (such as the homemaker/parent role) contributions for the parties.
  3. The Court will then consider the future needs of the parties.
  4. The Court will then assess what it considers, in all circumstances, to be a just and equitable division of the assets and liabilities.

If you don’t want your former partner to be included in your existing will, you should make a new will once the divorce has been finalised, as creating a new will invalidates any former wills. Similarly, following a divorce, you should contact your superannuation company and complete the necessary documents to update your policies.

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