PROPERTY AND FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT
One of the most complex and important matters to be dealt with after a separation is how your property, superannuation, financial resources and liabilities might be dealt with by a court if you are unable to reach an agreement with your former spouse. The Family Law Act provides for how a court will undertake a four-step process to determine any competing proposals between parties to litigation about financial matters.
This can involve complexity because of the nature, length and circumstances of a relationship and because it requires careful and expert consideration of corporate entities and trust structures.
In Australia, courts have the power to adjust property interests of parties to a de facto relationship or marriage after separation. The court also has the power to substitute responsibility for certain liabilities.
“Property” has a wide meaning under the Family Law Act, and includes property owned or controlled by each party to the relationship that has broken down. In adjusting the property of the parties, the court is required to bring the financial relationship between separated spouses to an end in a manner that is “just and equitable”.
To determine what is “just and equitable”, the Family Law Act requires courts to consider the contributions each party made to the property of each of them, and the respective needs each party to the relationship has in the future.
Court proceedings are always a last resort. The rules of the court contain an emphasis on mediation and alternative dispute resolution prior to commencing proceedings, other than in the case of urgency. As such, and in any case, we seek to resolve any disputes about financial issues by agreement with your former spouse, including with the assistance of experienced of high qualified and experienced barristers and mediators when required.