08 7111 0375

First consultation free

Property

Separation and divorce can cause significant financial and emotional stress, especially when couples go through the process of deciding how to split the property of the relationship. Here’s what you need to know.

property law and family disputes

What is property?

Once a couple has separated, it is usually necessary to divide the property of the relationship so that they can live their own lives without being tied to one another. This is known as an alteration of property interests. “Property” doesn’t just refer to real estate. It includes all the assets of the relationship. For example:

  • Money held in bank accounts
  • Shares
  • Investment properties
  • Superannuation
  • Motor vehicles
  • Chattels of value such as jewellery
  • Liabilities, such as mortgages and credit card debt.

When do property rights arise?

It’s not only married couples who have property rights. If a couple has been in a domestic partnership (also known as a de facto relationship) for two or more years, they also have property rights.

Negotiation and agreement

Sometimes, the parties can negotiate between themselves and reach an agreement about how to divide the property. If this is the case, there is no need for a court to intervene. Typically these types of agreements are reached when the relationship is shorter-term and there are no children to consider.

However, we recommend that even if you are able to reach an agreement on your own, you get legal advice before committing to ensure that all of your present and future needs are considered.

It’s a good idea to make sure that your agreement is enforceable, just in case any issues arise in the future. You will need to apply to the Family Court for an order in the terms of what you have agreed. Again, we advise that you get the assistance of a lawyer to achieve this.

If the parties can’t agree on how to divide the property, it may be necessary to apply to the Family Court for an order about how the property should be divided. The Court will require evidence (documents and witnesses) from both parties so that it can consider how best to divide the property. This type of litigation can be prolonged and so it is essential to get legal advice before taking this path.

When can I apply for property orders?

The Family Law Act sets out the timing of applications for property orders. The time limits vary depending on the circumstances:

  1. If you are not yet divorced, you are able to apply for property orders at any time.
  2. If you are divorced, you can only apply for property orders within one year from the date of divorce.
  3. If you are in a domestic partnership, you can only apply for property orders within two years from the date of separation.

If you wish to apply for orders outside of these limits, you will need legal advice before applying.

What will the Court decide?

The Family Court will consider a range of things when deciding whether to make a property order. They include:

  • The assets and liabilities of the parties.
  • The financial contributions of both parties.
  • The non-financial contributions made by both parties (for example, caring for children and housework).
  • Whether either party has the care or control of a child.
  • The age and health of both parties.
  • The income, property and financial resources of each party.

It is a careful balancing process and it can be complicated, especially if the asset pool is large and diverse.

The court will assess the pool of property and its value at the date of the property settlement (the date that it gives its orders). This can be years or months after separation. This is an important point because it means that any assets that either party may have acquired after separation can be included in the pool. To put it another way, if you’ve acquired assets after separation, your ex-spouse may be able to claim a share of them. This means that it’s important that you proceed carefully before acquiring any assets before final orders are made.

Pets

If there are any pets, it is important to understand that Australian family law considers them to be property. That means that the court won’t make decisions about visitation, custody and financial support for pets.

The law views a pet as an item of property to be included in the asset pool, similar to a piece of jewellery, a share portfolio or furniture. For further information about pets and family law, click here.

Do I need a lawyer?

While parties can represent themselves in property settlements, it is our experience that involving a lawyer from the outset will assist in reducing the emotional impact of the process and provide a smoother process for communication and negotiation.

Websters Lawyers has an outstanding team of family lawyers who can assist you with your family dispute. Contact us today for a free first consultation to find out how we can help you.

 

 

FREE FIRST INTERVIEW

NO WIN NO FEE

LOCAL LAWYERS FOR LOCAL NEEDS

GET THE RIGHT LAWYER FIRST

Testimonials

Having such a short time frame I was very impressed with the outcome made by [my solicitor]. Excellent and timely manner

Sebastian

Kurralta Park

Very professional mannerism and overall great outcome was delivered by Websters Lawyers.

Nicholas

West Ryde NSW

Helpful, explained fully, patient, excellent service.

Kerry

Ridgehaven

Patient and helpful in explaining the process.

Brian

Ridgehaven

Call Websters Lawyers for a most professional and friendly service. All understanding with [my solicitors] and the reception staff. Thank you so much.

Christine

Magill

Making my will was effortless on my part, with everything explained clearly. Well done to all.

Christina

Highbury

Great service, professional, explains things clearly, definitely recommend Websters Lawyers.

Garth

Upper Hermitage

Patient, professional, good communication about procedures and probable outcomes.

Jeffrey

Brompton

Thank you for all your work over the course of the case. You [both] were always very approachable and I appreciated your understanding and professionalism in all areas.

Alexis

Christie Downs

All in all my experience was great. Thank you for your time and expertise.

Christina

Seacombe Gardens

My matter was dealt with efficiently and was explained in an understandable language. A pleasant experience.

Mary

Ridgehaven

Practical and very helpful. Reasons and explanations given where needed

John

Ridgehaven

I stumbled across Websters in the Yellow Pages and I rang, explained my situation and immediately they took my case on. Greatly appreciate their services.

Diane 

Ridgehaven

The service from Websters Lawyers was outstanding. [My solicitor] was caring, had patience and was very professional. Wonderful personality.

Julie

Yorketown

[My solicitor] made everything so simple to understand. [The receptionist] was wicked too, would recommend them anytime. Level of entire service was outstanding.

Craig

Golden Grove

 

I had dealings with Websters over 20 years ago. They were my first choice when I recently needed legal advice. Both legal and office staff were professional, courteous and accessible at all times. Everything was explained up front in a clear and concise manner. I would not hesitate to recommend their services.

Rod

Dernancourt

It has truly been a pleasure communicating with you throughout the process. I really appreciate your patient and speedy replies to my questions and requests. You were always able to provide an easily understood response and this helped me deal with the process. Your friendly and positive manner encouraged me to seek your advice.

Kathleen

Battery Hill QLD

[My lawyer's] service was prompt and efficient with all questions explained clearly with all our requests carried out within the laws. Overall service was very satisfactory.

John

Wynn Vale

[My lawyer] was excellent. 

Gordon

Glengowrie

Excellent service. Professional. Clear advice and instructions. Prompt actions. Overall 10/10!

Phillip

Ingle Farm

Overall, I was happy with my outcome and my lawyer, would definitely recommend [my lawyer].

Janet

Adelaide

[My solicitor] was excellent at helping us through preparing our wills which were particularly challenging as they involved assets in multiple countries. She was professional and knowledgeable and spent time tailoring the wills to our needs.

Jonathan

Greenwith

[My solicitor] was very helpful, respectful and polite. She made sure I understood the process and documentation of our wills.

Rachel

Greenwith

Professional. Smooth Transaction. 

Luke

Largs North

I found the whole experience from Receptionist to Solicitor excellent. They completely put us at our ease.

Ethel

Smithfield

This was a new experience for us and didn’t have a clue what to do. [Our solicitor] on our first visit put us at ease, explained what will happen, pointed out there was a strong case. [Our solicitor] was genuine in her approach, kept us well informed, explained actions several times with patience and understanding. Overall very happy with the service we received.

Stephen

Elizabeth Vale

[My lawyer] was very reassuring in her approach to my case. I felt that every possibility in terms of evidence to provide and possible outcomes were explained to me, The result of the case was the best possible outcome I could have expected.

David, Belair

 

With no previous dealing with the criminal justice system, [our solicitor] gave us excellent advice and guided us through a nightmare to achieve a just and correct outcome. [Our lawyer] was both forthright and compassionate in her handling of our case.

Malcolm, Belair

[My lawyer] explained all the legal terms in language I could understand – she was very easy to talk to.

Cameron, Munno Para

I felt confident knowing my matter was in good hands. Very professional!

Shravan, Christie Downs

Initial phone call was fantastic and the role of an executor was fully explained.

Penny, Henley Beach

The service I received was efficient and promptly finalised. The solicitor clearly explained the details and I was happy with how easy it was.

Dale, Fairview Park

[My lawyer] was exactly the lawyer I needed in a serious matter. The outcome was as predicted which was a fantastic result. I received prompt professional and personal service at all times. Capable and supportive in a very stressful period.

Jason, Munno Para West

I had any of my concerns answered to my satisfaction and understanding.

Valda, Ingle Farm

[My lawyer] is an excellent professional lawyer who assisted in achieving a great positive outcome/result. I sincerely thank you and your great staff for your assistance and guidance throughout my claim. Would highly recommend [my lawyer], staff and Websters Lawyers. Kept fully informed and guided, professionally throughout the matter.

Rena, Northgate

Our work was dealt with very efficiently and speedily. Our lawyer was very professional, at the same time as being approachable. Communication was great.

Christina, Highbury

My experience with Websters Lawyers was far beyond what I expected. From the moment I spoke to [my lawyer] she made me feel very comfortable and eased my stress. In my case I had a court appearance the day before we were scheduled to fly to Spain, Considering my first appointment with her was only 2 weeks before the court hearing, she was able to obtain the police statement and thoroughly work on my case within that limited time frame. She was very knowledgeable, understanding and confident which greatly relieved so much pressure from me and my family. At court, she explained everything thoroughly and advised me of all the possible outcomes. Price, service and result, very highly recommended. Thank you Websters Lawyers.

Rafael, Davoren Park

I have high expectations and they were met. Websters service was swift, courteous, professional and met the agreed budget. I will recommend Websters to my family, friends and colleagues. Thank you.

Peter, Forestville

I would recommend Websters Lawyers, especially for [my lawyer's] dedication and exemplary attitude and advice. She is the epitome of a good lawyer. The service was impeccable.

Pamela, West Lakes

[My lawyer] was very professional and I was made comfortable to understand.

Gregory, Penfield

I was very pleased with the end result and how well [my lawyer] conducted herself.

Sonya, Glanville

Very professional.

Jesse, Morphett Vale

[My lawyer] has been very prompt , reliable and provided a high level of communication.

Peter, Parkside

My experience at Websters was very positive. The stress was taken from me and I could not be happier with the outcome. [My lawyer] at Websters was professional, personable, available and caring. Thank you for making the experience stress free.

Magda, Holden Hill

Found my lawyer upfront and reliable – I would highly recommend Websters Lawyers.

Lee, Evanston Park

 

Top bunch of solicitors and admin staff. Very friendly and to the point service.

Bradley, Hallett Cove

Websters Lawyers were very professional in their service, I would be happy to recommend them.

Carole, Tea Tree Gully

We would not hesitate in recommending Websters for any legal matter. They are professional and courteous at all times and call back when they say they will.

David and Dianne, Lockleys

 

I fully recommend Websters Lawyers. This was the 3rd time myself & my family have used Websters Lawyers. In these stressful times we have found them to answer and guide us through the process needed to accomplish the legal requirements in a timely and courteous manner.

Dianne, Lynton

Solid, to the point, no hustle. Highly recommend.

George, Windsor Gardens

Contact Us

Adelaide Office :
T: ( 08 ) 8231 1363
F: ( 08 ) 8231 5529

Ridgehaven Office :
T: ( 08 ) 8395 8000
F: ( 08 ) 8395 8222

Smithfield Office :
T: ( 08 ) 8487 0150
F: ( 08 ) 8395 8222

© Copyright WebstersLawyers.com 2017 All Rights Reserved
Website By A to Z Marketing