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Property settlements

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The Family Law Act 1975 outlines matters relating to property settlements for married and de facto couples.

If the parties can reach an agreement

Parties can agree how their property will be divided following separation. An agreement would then be formalised in the form of an Application for Consent Orders to be filed in the Federal Circuit Court. Parties may also enter into a financial agreement prepared by their solicitors, but not filed with the court.

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement

If the parties are unable to agree how their property will be divided, then a court application needs to be filed within 12 months of a divorce becoming final.

“Property” is defined by the Family Law Act 1975 and includes all assets, liabilities and superannuation owned by both parties, prior to and after separation.

The usual approach a court will take in response to a property settlement application is to:

  • Ascertain the property of the parties at the time of the hearing, as well as its value. There is an obligation on the parties to disclose all items of property owned by them, and disclose to each other all documentation relating to that property.
  • The court will then assess the entitlement of each of the parties to the property. The court is prohibited from making any order unless it is satisfied that it is just and equitable to do so.
  • The court divides the property reflecting the parties’ entitlements. The court exercises its discretion when determining the actual allocation of property, however there is a general desire to preserve assets as much as possible.

We specialise in property settlements involving multiple parties, the untangling of complex property interests, trusts and corporate structures as well as complicated superannuation concerns. Our family law team will ensure that you achieve a favourable property settlement.

For assistance with your property settlement, contact our team of dedicated family lawyers in Brisbane or Melbourne.