Since 1 March 2009, de facto property disputes have been dealt with under the Family Law Act 1975. This means that de facto couples have essentially the same rights to a property settlement after separation as married couples . Further, disputes about the division of the assets is dealt with by the Federal Family Law Courts and not the State Courts. The main difference between married and de facto property disputes is that married couples have 12 months from the date of divorce (not separation) to bring an application for property orders before the Family Law Courts while de facto couples have 2 years from the date of final separation.
There are many misconceptions about how assets and liabilities are divided after the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship. With each family’s circumstances being different, applying the law to your particular situation can be quite complex. Negotiating directly with your ex can be stressful and, where there has been domestic violence/abuse, virtually impossible.
We provide up to date advice and settlement options focused on your individual circumstances. We negotiate on your behalf to try and resolve your dispute without having to go to Court while identifying when the only way to eventually bring an end to your dispute is by going to the Family Law Courts
When dealing with the breakdown of your relationship it can be difficult to find the motivation to deal with dividing up assets. Even if this is the last thing you want to deal with, it is usually a good idea to finalise your property settlement as soon as possible after separation, even if you and your ex do not have many assets.
The reason for this is that if you find yourself before the Family Law Courts in relation to a property dispute, the Court will generally assess the nett asset pool as at the date of trial and not separation. Inheritances and other windfalls received after separation but before Court Orders are made (or a Financial Agreement becomes binding) and assets accumulated by one person after separation may be included in the asset pool by the Court.
Where you and your ex have reached an agreement about how to divide up the assets and liabilities, it is important to have the agreement formalised by either Family Court Consent Orders (court orders) or an enforceable and binding Financial Agreement. This is to protect both of you from any further claims by your ex-spouse for an additional property settlement.
We can provide you with advice as to whether your agreement is in the range of what is fair taking into account your particular circumstances and prepare and/or advise you in relation to any documents required to formalise your agreement to protect you from further claims from your ex in the future.
We understand it can be intimidating and confusing when you have to deal with legal claims. Take the stress out of the process and schedule a meeting to discuss your needs. To us, you’re not just a number, and we want to alleviate the pain you may be experiencing. When you need family lawyers in Melbourne to assist you with legal issues, we’re here for you.