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There is no set formula on how to divide property. There are however, key aspects of the Family Law Act (1975) that will impact on your settlement and the negotiation process.

Typically people who have been in a de facto relationship have 24 months from the date of separation to finalise their financial matters, and married couples have 12 months from the date of divorce.

Let us help you navigate your settlement.  Here are things you need to know.

Full & Frank

Property includes all assets (things you own) and liabilities (things you owe money on). The assets and liabilities can be in joint or separate names. It includes assets under your or your former partner’s control and it may include property you held in your own name prior to the relationship, or property you acquired since separation.

It is a legal requirement that both parties provide full and frank disclosure of all financial matters. You may need to disclose details about:

Balance sheet

Once all assets and liabilities have been disclosed, a balance sheet is drafted. The balance sheet helps everyone identify who holds an interest in each item of value, the value each party places on the items, and relevant details that form part of disclosure.  

In some cases, clients are advised to seek independent valuations. This can be done by engaging the services of a valuer, or doing your own research to determine the current value of an asset or liability.

Gaining agreement around values can cause clients a lot of emotional distress and delay negotiating a settlement. At Totius, we help you understand the process of valuations, we help you identify if valuations are necessary, and the most appropriate type of valuation needed for your circumstances.  

Establishing the balance sheet is one of the most important parts of property settlement. It enables both parties to commence negotiations with clarity and confidence.

Financial & non-financial

When negotiating the division of assets and liabilities, the Family Law Act (1975) requires each party to consider the financial and non-financial contributions both parties made to the relationship. Some refer to these contributions as direct and indirect contributions.  

It can included this such as:

It is natural that each party may place greater or lesser value on certain contributions. This part of the property settlement process can cause clients to experience a lot of emotions, regret and anger.  People can feel like their contributions are going unrecognised and/or unappreciated. Most people ask themselves:  “Will the property settlement be fair?”  “Will my contributions be recognised?”  

We can help you navigate these emotions and questions.  We will seek to understand your contributions so your negotiations are fair

future needs?

Finalising property settlement not only involves looking at your financial and non-financial contributions, creating a balance sheet and negotiating how to split the pool, it takes into account each parties circumstances moving forward and each parties future needs.

Things that may need to be considered include:

Clarifying each parties future needs is important, especially when there are special health or financial considerations. 

The aim is that both parties can move forward and start living the life they want.

fair split

The biggest question that is always tracking in the back of people’s minds throughout property settlement is “How fair and equitable will the split be?”

The Family Law Act (1975) requires us to ask this question to determine if any adjustments need to be made. In the end, how a property settlement is split can impact on the the type of agreement you end up making. There are different types of property and financial settlement agreements, each having its pros and cons. Seeking independent legal and financial advice before signing any agreement is recommended.

Property settlement is a complex and stressful time. There is a lot to know and consider. It is always recommended that you don’t delay starting the process. It is known that the longer people delay property settlement, the hard it can be to finalise matters.  

At Totius, we partner with you so that you can

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“I was getting lots of advice from friends and family. It was only when I got professional support, that we were able to resolve the matter.”

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