It is important during a breakdown of a relationship or marriage both parties consider the issue of separating assets and liabilities. It goes without saying that separation is often a time that is highly emotional and stressful, however it is almost always a significant life changer as it may leave the vulnerable with significant financial strain.
Often long term de-facto relationships and marriages involve jointly owned assets, including properties, home contents and motor vehicles that have been accrued during the relationship or contributed by one party.
It is common for most couples to be able to agree on how shared assets should be divided (known as a “property settlement”), and arrangements may involve the jointly owned property being sold and the proceeds divided, or the joint property being transferred into one of the parties’ sole names. Whichever it may be, it is advisable to formalise the property settlement agreement in a legal document. The main reasons for doing this are to:
- Ensure that the agreement is clear and concise and legally binding.
- Achieve a sense of closure.
- Ensure that neither party can make a claim on the other in the future and thus obtain certainty.
- Achieve an exemption from stamp duty when transferring a piece of property to the other party.
In some cases, couples are unable to agree on how assets and liabilities should be divided. When this occurs, it is best to seek legal advice from a solicitor to be informed of your rights and to allow for negotiations to occur with your former spouse. Unfortunately, where agreements simply cannot be reached through negotiations or alternative dispute resolution, the only available avenue is to proceed to court.
Why seek legal representation?
People who have gone through a separation are often more satisfied with the outcome in the circumstances where they can mutually agree on it, whether that be through negotiation or between themselves with minimal legal intervention, as opposed to a court judgment.
We know that a mutually beneficial and cost-effective resolution is the most desirable in the circumstances. If you would like more information on how we can assist you with your property settlement matter or any other family law matters, do not hesitate to contact us on 9963 9800 or via the contact page form here.