Divorce And Separation In Australia – How Does Property Settlement Work?

In Australia, the property shared by you and your former partner is known as ‘matrimonial property’. During a divorce, it can be tricky to know exactly how much you will receive from your divorce property settlement. Whilst, it may sound complicated, at Reid Family Lawyers we have simplified the property settlement process so that you can understand exactly how it works.

How are assets split up in a divorce?

Contrary to popular belief, during a divorce there is no 50/50 rule when it comes to splitting assets, as the division of assets is determined on a case-by-case basis. So, what are these assets? Property can range from joint or independently owned property, cars, or business interests. Generally, there are three ways to formalise a division of your matrimonial assets after a separation: financial agreements, consent orders or if you are not able to resolve your dispute by either of these methods, a division as determined by a judge.

How is a property settlement achieved?

A property settlement, also known as the agreement between two parties to divide assets, liabilities, and financial resources after separation, can be formalised by way of a financial agreement or Consent Orders.

Independent financial agreements: According to the Family Law Act 1975, a financial agreement is a written document that outlines how property is to be divided. It can be prepared before, during or after the end of a relationship and it states how financial resources will be split, following separation. Under the Family Law Act 1975, regardless of whether you are married, de facto or in a same-sex relationship, anyone in Australia can make a binding financial agreement. These Agreements are complicated documents.  Both parties need to obtain independent legal advice and your lawyers must attach a certificate to the Agreement confirming that the advice has been given.  At Reid Family lawyers, we can help you prepare a financial agreement and will go through each of the steps required in preparing the written document. 

Consent orders: A consent order is also a written agreement however it is approved by the courts. It typically occurs when both parties have agreed on parenting, financial or property arrangements.

A financial agreement and Consent Orders are both legally binding but there is more protection from Consent Orders.

Court-ordered property settlement: A court-ordered settlement occurs when the two parties are unable to reach an agreement. As a result, they can apply to have the court decide on how property will be split between the two parties. Some of the key factors considered by the courts are:

  • The financial and non-financial contributions of both parties
  • Your current assets and debts
  • Future requirements needed by both parties such as health or caring costs for children of the relationship, and the ability to earn money in the future

How much will I receive from my property settlement?

There is no pre-determined formula for property settlement. Each decision made by the court is done on a case-by-case basis. So, this means that you can’t expect assets to be divided equally between the two parties. If you think that you might be getting the short end of the stick in a property agreement, seek legal advice immediately.

Need Legal Advice For Your Property Settlement? Contact Reid Family Lawyers

With no one-size-fits-all solution, the property settlement process is dependent on a range of different factors. Whilst it may seem complicated, contacting a family lawyer can help to simplify the process. Contact Reid Family Lawyers to get your property settlement agreement underway.