Rockhampton & CQ Family Lawyers and Solicitors
What can we do for you?
A property settlement is a process usually following a divorce or de facto separation where the assets and liabilities of the couple are split according to certain rules with a view to obtaining a fair and reasonable result for both parties.
When couples first separate, one of the first very real and normal questions is “what will my financial position look like after divorce/separation”. Our property settlement lawyers are familiar with the rules and expectations of the court when determining property settlements. When first considering a separation, we can give you confidential legal advice about your options and expectations to help you make decisions with confidence.
Let us guide you…
It is important to get the right advice, as early as possible. If you do not, you may accidentally do or say something that you negatively affect your rights or options in a fair property settlement.
We can help you:
- know your rights and options and what you can expect from a property settlement;
- create a strategy for your dispute;
- outline ways to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible;
- help you seek support to reduce the effect of the dispute on yourself and any children.
Our lawyers understand what you are going through. Let us help you.
Some common questions around property settlements…
When do I need to start a property settlement?
Property settlements can be carried out at any time after separation. However, you must make your application to the court for a property settlement within 12 months of a divorce order being made OR, for de facto separations, you must make the application to the court within 2 years after the date that the relationship has ended. If you do not make your application within time, you may lose the right to do so. It is important that you seek advice straight away.
How is a property settlement calculated? Is there a property settlement calculator?
Ultimately, property settlements are decided by the federal circuit court. The same laws apply across all of Australia except in Western Australia.
The Court takes the following steps to calculate a property settlement:
- The Court takes an inventory of all assets and liabilities that existed at the time of separation;
- A current value is put on the assets and liabilities (this includes superannuation);
- The Court must then work out a percentage division of the property by considering the financial and non-financial contributions both parties made during the relationship.
The above calculation can be quite complex so unfortunately, there isnt really a property settlement calculator – you do need to seek advice.
When deciding how the assets will be divided the Court will also consider each person’s ‘future needs’. This includes:
- future obligations;
- financial situation and
- the cost of caring for any children from the relationship.
It is essential that any property settlement agreement is documented and finalised correctly.
How is a property settlement documented?
A property settlement agreed between the parties can by documented (by law) through either of the following options:
- By including the agreement in orders which are made by the Court with the consent of both parties (Consent Orders); or
- By incorporating the agreement in a Financial Agreement, which deals with property settlement and which does not require the approval of the Court to be binding on both parties.
Can I still apply for a property settlement even if everything is in my former partner’s name?
Yes, when identifying all relevant property to be considered in a property settlement it is irrelevant whether the property is owned in joint names or owned by one party only. There may also be relevant property owned by trusts, companies, partnerships or other corporate entities.
What if my former partner wants to sell property but I don’t?
If the property is held jointly in your and your spouse’s name then both of you need to agree to its sale or how else to deal with the property. However, the Court does have the power to order that property be sold if it determines a sale is necessary.
If my spouse acquires property following our separation, am I entitled to any of it?
The relevant pool of property is the property that the parties hold jointly, individually or with another person, or that is held by a trust, company, partnership etc. at the time of the parties reaching agreement or when the Court decides the matter. If your spouse acquires property after separation, that property may be included in the pool of property for consideration. However, the contribution of that post-separation property may be viewed as a contribution solely by them. Therefore, an adjustment may be made in their favour in the overall property settlement between you.
What happens if my partner moves out of the property and stops paying their share of the mortgage?
If your spouse is named on the mortgage for the property then they continue to be liable to pay the mortgage. This is regardless of whether or not they are living in the property. They will stop being liable when their name is removed from the mortgage which may be part of the property settlement agreed on between yourselves.
Most separated spouses reach agreement about the continued payment of these expenses until final agreement on severing their financial relationship can be reached.
If your spouse refuses to contribute to these expenses please seek family law advice from a specialist as soon as possible.
Are domestic tasks considered a contribution for the purposes of a property settlement?
Yes. In assessing the contributions each party has made to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of the pool of property, the financial, non-financial and family welfare contributions such as homemaker and parent contributions made by each party are considered, as are the timing and significance of those contributions. Each contribution will not be considered on its own but will be balanced up against the whole set of circumstances to reach an outcome or agreement.
Why are we different?
Our experienced lawyers know that you need:
- someone who understands the emotions and attitudes of the people involved in your situation;
- your concerns; especially around financial security, child custody, personal safety and so on;
- someone who will provide upfront information about pricing and legal costs (and keep you updated as the matter progresses);
- a lawyer who will provide practical, results-focused advice.
Our family lawyers know that family law clients are usually experiencing one of the most emotional times of their life – a fear of the unknown, concern over financial security, worry for future care of children, anxiety around personal safety and so on. Added to this, most people don’t know what their legal options are – especially when well-meaning friends or family offer advice that may or may not be correct. Our family lawyers see your whole matter and not just the court documents that need to be drafted.
Our lawyers cut through these issues and provide you with legal advice and a strategy based on decades of legal experience to give you the confidence to move forward with your life.
At your first appointment:
- you meet with an experienced lawyer;
- you are advised in frank terms about legal costs and estimates to the end of your matter;
- our lawyer listens to you and understands your matter;
- our lawyer gives you some basic advice about how we start and handle your matter going forward.
Our family lawyers
Our team is well trained and regularly participate in specialist seminars, reading industry updates, court decisions & legislative amendments. Our team stays in contact with industry professionals (such as forensic accountants, investigators, valuers, real estate agents and so on) to ensure we have good working relationships with the right people when you need it.
Click on our staff profiles to learn more about each of our experienced family law team members:
- Terry Tummon – Principal Partner & Solicitor
- Katina Perren – Solicitor & Independent Children’s Lawyer
- Debbie Sloan – Family Paralegal
- Josie Finlayson – Family Paralegal
- Chloe Cookson – Junior Support Officer
Check out some of our recent legal updates and property resources that you might find useful on this Family Law Resources link. Please remember that these updates and resources are general guidance only. If you need legal advice, you should contact us to discuss your matter as your personal circumstances may not suit the circumstances described in the updates and resources.
During family law legal matters, many issues come up that require the support of experienced social support works and other professionals. Here are some links to support resources that may help you (please ensure that you make yourself familiar with any confidentiality rules or seek advice from us):
- Relationships Australia (Australian Government) property settlement guide
- Family Relationships (Australian Government) – guidance for property settlements
- Family Court of Australia – information about property settlements
- ASIC MoneySmart – guidance on property settlements and debt management
- Queensland Government relationship help and marriage counselling, support and advice links
- Queensland Government domestic and family violence counselling, support and advice links
- Beyond Blue – advice for new parents links
- Queensland Government – how to help people who have a drug problem
To talk about your matter – reach out to us via any means to start a conversation. All of our contact information is listed here on our Contact Page.
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