When it comes to a marriage or relationship breakdown it is always good to get professional advice on what will happen to the assets of the marriage or relationship sooner rather than later. As assets increase in value over time, you may find yourself in a situation where the value of your assets has significantly increased at the time that an agreement or court order is reached, compared to their value as at the date of separation and it is the case that if your matter ends up in Court your property and the property of the relationship or marriage is likely to be valued as at the time of Hearing.
If you reach an agreement
If an agreement is reached between the parties a financial agreement can be prepared, which can cover the division of property, finances, spousal maintenance, superannuation etc. Each party will be required to obtain independent legal advice for the financial agreement to be legally binding.
Another option available is to formalise your agreement with consent orders and have them approved by the Court. You will not need to attend Court; however, the Court must be satisfied that the parties have reached an agreement that is just and equitable before the Consent Orders will be approved.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement, and attempts have been made to negotiate a property settlement without success, the next step is to commence proceedings with the Court. The Court will then decide on property orders at a Final Hearing.
When making an order for property distribution, the Court takes a four-step approach.
- Identify and value the financial contributions of the parties.
- Identify and assess the non-financial contributions.
- Identify and assess the future needs of the parties, taking into account age, health, ability to earn an income and if the party is caring for the children.
- Having assessed all the above, come to a decision which is â€˜just and equitable.’
Burbank & Brown can take you through the four-step process early on so that you are fully informed when it comes to negotiating following a separation in the hope of avoiding costly and stressful Court proceedings.
You have twelve (12) months from date of divorce to lodge Court proceedings for financial/property orders and two (2) years from the breakdown of a de-facto relationship.
For more information or early advice, get in touch with Burbank & Brown.