If you have been married, or in a de-facto relationship that lasted at least 2 years (less in certain exceptional circumstances) then talk to us about your property settlement options.
Why do you need our help?
Firstly, property settlements can be complex and contentious – we will guide you through the process towards a fair and realistic outcome.
Second, we can help you to avoid mistakes, and recognise strategies being used against you. Typically, these can include using the property settlement as a weapon to try and right wrongs, or as a way of dealing with guilt.
Alongside the emotion of separation and divorce, dealing with bricks and mortar property, investments and shares, cars, superannuation, savings, furniture and effects , mortgages, loans, credit cards – anything that can be regarded as either an asset or a liability – can be hard. But the decisions and choices you make now can have long terms impacts, so it’s critical you make these decisions in an informed way, with the best available information and advice.
We don’t offer wild claims of getting you everything. We do make sure you will get the advice you need to get a fair settlement, in accordance with the law. Our job involves explaining the law, and helping to make it work for you. _
Working out a property settlement involves past contributions (which can include domestic, ‘home-maker’ or non-financial contributions), inheritances, future earning capacity, and future needs (both of the parties and of any children). The length of the relationship, the roles you played, and your future earnings potential are all relevant considerations. The aim is to get a fair outcome for everyone involved given your unique circumstances.
Property settlement is a forensic process. We are experts at finding out about all your former partner’s assets and making sure you are treated fairly and in accordance with the law. Our approach is not to jump up and down on the spot and make a lot of noise, we are just calm, methodical, and tenacious. Even where parties are in agreement, the law still says that full and frank disclosure of all relevant facts is required. If you want to settle your matter amicably, and a lawyer is drafting or advising on court orders they are still bound to provide legal advice to you, and this can only be done after a careful review of all the relevant facts.
If you are concerned your partner may be hiding assets, asset stripping, or running up debt speak to us urgently so we can advise you what to do, and if necessary seek a court injunction.
What about Super and Inheritances?
Sometimes, family businesses are involved, or complex Self-Managed Super funds, or Defined Benefit Interests (such as PSS). At other times, inheritances, employee share plans, family trusts or other investments are involved. These are all included in the asset pool so get the right advice from day one so you know the limits of your case.
If the matter is complex and you and your spouse cannot agree, you should consider involving professionals including lawyers, accountants, valuers, and potentially investigators to track all the bank accounts and spending, and provide valuations of assets and to review debts.
In the end, the difference between both parties’ assessment of what is a fair split usually comes down to just a few percentage points and a short, robust, final negotiation. Make sure you know what you are fighting for and why.
Is there a Pre-Nup?
Sometimes there is a pre-nuptial agreement (now called a binding financial agreement or BFA) to take into account. Is it valid? Does it cover spouse maintenance or super? Could it be set aside? We have expertise in pre-nup analysis – we aim to make sure the pre-nup is in fact lawful and binding. If it can be challenged, we can help you to do that.