Whether you’ve recently gone through a divorce or you’re in the throes of a separation, when it comes to dividing your property, assets and liabilities, first you should seek legal advice. The division of property after a relationship breakdown, either marriage or de facto, is commonly called a property settlement. Here at Geldard Sherrington Lawyers, we’ve put together a guide to help you through the often challenging process.
Dividing your property fairly
After separation, in the majority of cases, parties need help dividing up their assets and liabilities. This enables them to be financially independent of the other. Thankfully there is no timeframe in which you must complete this process. The decision rests solely between both parties. Bringing an end to your legal relationship with your spouse and dividing property or assets can begin as soon as the parties are ready to take those steps. Of course, you need to remember that dividing some assets may be a lengthy process. Take the family home for example. It will need to be listed on the market, sold, then the process begins with a family lawyer to divide up the entitlements.
How does it work?
Working out how to divide your money and property after a relationship breakdown can be complicated. The approach taken towards resolving property interests is generally a four-step process aided by a family solicitor:
- First, your family lawyer will determine the assets and liabilities of all parties, including any superannuation
- Your family lawyer will then examine each party’s contributions, which includes financial as well as other contributions
- Your family lawyer will look at each party’s future needs such as age, health, earning capacity and the ongoing care of children within the relationship
- Your family solicitor will need to consider whether the actual division of assets is just, equitable and fair.
You’ve agreed on division of property, what’s next?
Once you’ve made that crucial decision to divide your property and assets, and you’ve agreed on how your property should be divided, the best advice is to have that decision formally documented by a family lawyer. Superannuation can only be divided by having a formal property settlement. While some relief from stamp duty is available if assets are transferred between parties to a marriage/de-facto relationship by way of a formal property settlement. Just some minor things to consider before moving forward. Both areas something your family lawyer should be well versed in.
What if the property isn’t in your name?
It may not matter that the property may only be in one person’s name, and even if you earn little or no money, you may still have rights to property. Whether you were married or in a de facto relationship – you can still apply for a property settlement. Property and assets include things like the family home, cash, bank accounts, investments and businesses. Perhaps you have insurance policies, a family trust, superannuation or inheritances. Shares, jewellery even vehicles are all included in your assets upon separation.
Who can I turn to for help?
The good news in all this is, if you’re faced with a separation, and you’re daunted by the division and settlement process, you don’t have to go it alone. Here at Geldard Sherrington Lawyers, we offer guidance and advice. If you’d like to speak further with one of our family solicitors, give us a call on 07 41 94 5422. Or, find out more online. We’re here to help in your time of need.