Property Settlements

Property Settlement under the Family Law Act

If you and your spouse separate, you need to consider what is to happen in relation to the division of any property that you own. The Family Law Act provides for property settlements between couples who are, or have been, married or in a de facto relationship, including same sex couples. The powers set out in the Family Law Act can be exercised by the Family Court, the Federal Circuit Court or a Local Court, depending on the value of the property involved.

If both parties have reached an agreement as to how the property will be divided, how can they be sure their agreement is binding and enforceable? 

In many cases parties are able to reach agreement about a property settlement with the assistance of their lawyers. If they do, they can make an application for consent orders which is a relatively simple and inexpensive procedure. If consent orders are made then the parties have the benefit of knowing that their agreement is binding and enforceable. There are also certain tax benefits in having orders made.

What happens when the parties are unable to reach an agreement about the division of property?

If you cannot reach agreement with your spouse as to a property settlement then you need to file an application for property settlement in the appropriate Court. The majority of property settlements are dealt with by either the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court. There are ongoing opportunities for settlement of the proceedings after filing an application for property settlement in the Federal Circuit Court. Most property settlement applications filed in the Federal Circuit Court are settled without a decision being made by a judge. If a settlement is not achieved then the Court will make a decision as to how the property of the marriage should be divided after a hearing before a judge or other officer of the Court. Complex property settlement matters are dealt with by the Family Court.



We can Help

As lawyers, it is our job is to help you through the legal process as best we can. However, we realize that many of our clients will be unsure as to how to best manage their separation in the best interests of their children. Many have crucial needs that may not be about legal issues. You may feel you don’t have the information you need to support your children when making incredibly important decisions about their future during your separation.


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