Property and Financial Settlements

Dividing assets when a relationship breaks down can be complicated for many people. Our team specialises in untangling complex property interests, intricate business and trusts structures, third party issues, and superannuation arrangements. Our experience is extensive, and we can help you navigate the complexities so that you can make better informed decisions.


A trusted team to assist with your Property and Financial Settlements

Our team provides a tailored service designed to meet the requirements of each individual client. We take the time to understand your matter and, when necessary, work with other experts so that you achieve the best possible outcome. We pride ourselves on our strategic approach to all matters – we don’t just follow a process!

Our Services

  • Property Settlements

    The family law system applies the same general principals to property settlements whether you were married or in a de facto relationship. Property includes all assets, liabilities and superannuation owned by both parties, prior to and after separation.

    If you can agree how your property will be divided you have the option to formalise the agreement by filing an Application for Consent Orders with the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, or you may enter into a financial agreement prepared by your solicitor.

    If you are unable to reach agreement about how to divide your property you can apply to the court for a decision.

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

    • Identify and value the property of the parties at the time of the hearing. 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, including direct and indirect financial and non-financial contributions. 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 and future needs. 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.

    Applications for property settlement must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final, or within two years of the breakdown of your de facto relationship.

  • Financial Agreements

    A financial agreement is a contract entered into by individuals which sets out how they want their property and financial resources to be divided, and their maintenance arrangements administered, if they separate, rather than relying on the process set out in the Family Law Act.

    An agreement can be entered before, during and after the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship.

    Financial agreements may be used by couples to:

    • protect the wealth of one or both parties accumulated prior to entering a de facto relationship or marriage, together with further wealth accumulated in the future
    • protect financial assistance received from families (including, for example, gifts, inheritances, loans and trust distributions)
    • avoid the legal and emotional costs of dispute, negotiation and/or litigation in the event of, or following, separation; and
    • enjoy the benefit of rollover relief provisions (in certain circumstances) to minimise the crystallisation of contingent liabilities such as capital gains tax.

    There are very strict legal requirements which must be met before parties can enter into a financial agreement. In addition, it is essential that the parties entering into a financial agreement disclose their respective financial positions and negotiate in good faith. It is also important that parties allow sufficient time to negotiate, and enter into, a financial agreement. The subject matter of the agreement is often significant, and each party must be allowed sufficient time to consider, negotiate and take advice regarding the subject matter.

  • Spousal Maintenance

    Spousal maintenance is the obligation of a person to financially support their former partner following the breakdown of their marriage or de facto relationship, to the extent that their former partner is unable to support himself or herself.

    It is important to remember that, while childcare obligations are a relevant consideration in determining whether maintenance should be paid, spousal maintenance is distinct from, and can be ordered in addition to, child support.

    A person is not automatically entitled to receive maintenance following the breakdown of their marriage or de facto relationship. Maintenance can only be ordered by a court if the following criteria are met:

    1. The person seeking maintenance must be unable to support themselves adequately because:

    • the person has the care and control of a child of the marriage or de facto relationship (provided that the child is under the age of 18 years)
    • the person is unable to be gainfully employed by reason of age, or physical or mental incapacity; or
    • for any other adequate reason.

    2. The other partner will only be required to pay maintenance to the extent that they are reasonably able to do so.

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