Property Settlements

Dividing Property

In a married or de-facto partnership, you and your partner would have acquired many assets (like your home, investment properties and cars) over the course of your relationship. Most couples also amass their fair share of liabilities, too. It’s only fair that these assets are divided fairly; but resolving who gets what can be a source of conflict and tension during times of separation.

What exactly is covered under the umbrella term “property”?

Under family law, the category of “property” includes an awful lot. More than just your bank balance and home, it can also include a family business, any investments, a trust, death entitlements, superannuation and pension plans. It also includes any debts or other liabilities.

Here’s a quick overview of what is defined as “property of a relationship.”

All assets (the things you own and have purchased) held by you and your former partner in joint or separate names such as:

  • Your family home or any investment properties;
  • A holiday home;
  • Cars and boats;
  • Household effects—everything from the sound system to the dishes;
  • And personal items, like jewellery and clothing.

All assets under your own or your former partner’s name such as:

  • A business;
  • Superannuation;
  • A share in an extended family business or investment property held under a family trust.

Anything that you owe money on (liabilities) in joint or separate names such as:

  • Mortgage debts
  • Credit cards
  • Hire purchase agreements.

The term “property” can also come to include property you held in your own name and purchased prior to entering the relationship, or property you have acquired since the relationship ended.

Avoiding the courts: resolution through property agreements

You want to avoid the courts if you can. That’s why property agreements are our favoured pathway to resolution. They involve less stress, cost less and keep the process moving at a faster pace. When assisting you in the writing up of your property agreement, we will assess the following:

  • The assets you and your ex partner walked into the relationship with; including property, investments and business. Just how relevant these pre-relationship assets will be to your overall resolution depends on both the length of the relationship and the contributions each person made to their upkeep or development.
  • The net value of your current assets, including the value of property such as houses, shares and cars.
  • Each person’s contributions over the course of the relationship, including direct financial contributions (your wage, payments earned off properties or improvements made to properties) and indirect financial contributions (gifts, inheritances or the regular payment of household expenses).

Helping you resolve your assets

We always have your best interests as our priority. All attempts to fairly divide your assets through a property agreement will be made on your behalf by your legal team. If the matter can’t be resolved, and you do wish to take matters to court, our solicitors will advise you of the best way to proceed.

What happens to my will after I separate?

Whether or not your will becomes automatically invalid at the point of your divorce isn’t always clear. Separation alone however, doesn’t automatically revoke your will. This means unless you’re comfortable with your estate being left to your former partner, your will needs to be altered. CM Lawyers offer will updates alongside our family law services ensuring your documents are up-to-date with your present circumstances. Take the time to read more about wills and estates after separation.

Dividing a lifetime of assets is stressful.

Because we’re a small firm with big firm experience, we’re able to give you flexible and cost efficient legal advice and representation.

If you want to speak to family lawyer about your separation, get some answers to your questions or seek legal advice, fill out a contact form now and we’ll get back to you soon.