Property – De Facto Relationship
What is a property settlement?
A property settlement is a division of all property including superannuation.
This can occur after separation. Time limits are much shorter for de facto relationships so it is important to seek legal advice early.
Property includes houses, cars, savings, investments and superannuation. It can include potential compensation claims and monies owed to you or your partner
How do you finalise a property settlement?
The best way is to talk to your ex-partner and try to reach agreement. It is best that you seek legal advice before you do this so you know what your entitlements and obligations are.
Take advantage of our advice session to seek legal advice at this stage.
What information will we require from you when we first see you?
We will want to know the background of your relationship including:
- When you first started living together.
- If you have children, the dates of birth of your children.
- What the care arrangements were for your children after they were born and as they grew up.
- When you separated.
- A list of all property you have including land, houses, bank accounts, shares, investments and business interest.
- A list of all liabilities you have including home loans, personal loans, credit cards or any other loans.
- All superannuation interest including all names of funds that either you or your ex-partner have, together with the most recent balance of each of those funds or if they do not have a balance, what the entitlement of the fund is.
- All of the information set out in numbered paragraphs 7 and 8 for when you first started living together for both you and your ex-partner.
- Your current employment, together with your current earnings and a history of your employment throughout your relationship and the same details for your ex-partner.
- Details of your health, particularly as it might affect your capacity to work.
What do you do if you reach agreement?
If you reach agreement, you can have an agreement prepared in such a way that an order can be made in the Family Court in terms of your agreement. We can help prepare this agreement and other necessary documents for the court to make such an order.
The Family Court will make an order just on the documents without it being necessary for you or your solicitors to actually go to court in person.
A court order finalises any possible claim that any one party can have against the other for division of property and superannuation. The order provides support, in that if the terms are not complied with, you are able to enforce the terms.
And if you do not reach agreement?
If you cannot reach agreement then we apply to the Family Court seeking orders for division of property.
The court will arrange a conference where you, your ex-partner and your lawyers attend. A Registrar of the court supervises the conference to provide some encouragement to negotiate.
If the conference does not resolve the division of property then a date for trial will be set.
Are there time limits?
Yes there are time limits. The length of the time limit depends on when you separated.
If you separated after 1 July 2010 then the time limit to lodge an application to the court seeking an order for division of property is two years from the date of separation. If you separated prior to 1 July 2010 then the division of property is to be determined under State Legislation and the time limit is 12 months from the date of separation. Extensions of time to lodge applications in the court can be obtained in some circumstances.