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BARKER EVANS

Divorce & Property Settlements

Divorce is the legal dissolution of marriage. The only ground of divorce is for there to be an ‘irretrievable breakdown of marriage’. This means that the court will not consider the reason or reasons for the divorce, as it is a no fault jurisdiction. The parties’ separation is established by evidence from the parties ithat they have been separated for at least 12 months before filing for the divorce (see our page on separation).

Once you file an Application for Divorce, you are only required to attend a court hearing if there are children under the age of 18 or if only one party applies for a divorce (a ‘sole application’). In such instances, additional information must be submitted such as proper care arrangements for the children and the parties may be required to attend the divorce hearing.

It is important to understand that the granting of a divorce does not resolve any disputes about finances or parenting arrangements. However, once a divorce order is granted, there are strict time limits for bringing issues to the court such as property settlement and spousal maintenance claims so it’s extremely important to receive legal advice.

If you have any concerns relating to a separation, we can assist you with:

  • Filing an Application for Divorce
  • Attending your Divorce hearing at the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Property settlement

When a relationship breaks down, the division of assets is obviously a crucial concern to both parties. It is generally less stressful and less costly to settle property matters with an ex-partner without the involvement of the Court. However, it is important to understand the process the court applies when deciding property settlement matters.

Firstly, the Court determines the net asset pool of both parties by adding all assets of each party and subtracting liabilities such as a mortgage or other debt. Secondly, the Court considers the contributions that each party has made to a marriage. Such contributions can be financial in nature or non-financial such as caring for children or upkeeping the family home. Thirdly, the Court assesses the future needs of both parties such that they can move on with their life. For example, adjustments may be made for a party to undergo training to reenter the workforce following the dissolution of a marriage. Finally, the Court ensures that any order is “just and equitable”, that is, property arrangements should be fair (in the circumstances) for both parties.

Financial settlement matters are often complex as they may involve superannuation, taxation, and trusts and therefore it is difficult to gage precisely how assets will be divided. It is also extremely important to seek legal advice early due to the time limits imposed after a divorce (see our divorce page) and for the sake of your financial security after a relationship.

If you have any concerns relating to property settlement, we can assist you with:

  • Providing you with advice on your contributions to the matrimonial asset pool and your entitlements under the Family Law Act 1975
  • Negotiating with your ex-partner or their lawyer with respect to your entitlements
  • Helping you mediatate an outcome
  • Drafting Consent Orders & Financial Agreements
  • Assistance to resolve your matter through Collaborative Practice
  • Representing you in court should the matter become litigated
  • Providing advice and acting for you in an Appeal