Family Law

Property Settlement FAQs

After the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship it is necessary to resolve “who gets what”. This is known as financial property settlement. As a result of amendments to the family law over the years, when dealing with all aspects of a property settlement NSW law follows the Commonwealth law under the Family Law Act. The family lawyers at our firm have a wealth of experience in this area of law. We have prepared questions and answers to some of the common questions we receive.

How is the property split?

Depending on the length and dynamics of the relationship, as well as the way that the parties have arranged their finances, this can be relatively straight forward exercise or involve complex negotiations.

As a general rule both financial and non-financial contributions are taken into account when determining property settlement. It is important to realise that you may not be aware of some of the things that can be taken into account under the Family Law Act. These include personal injury compensation payments, both parties’ superannuation, future needs, the future earning capacity of each party, the health of the children and both parties as well as financial resources such as expected future inheritances.

Remember, even if you are negotiating a settlement yourself, in order to make an informed decision, before you sign anything, you should find out what your entitlements at law are.

Will my domestic tasks be taken into account?

Property settlements tend to be a ‘balancing’ act when it comes to weighing up the financial and non-financial contributions (such as contributions to the welfare of the family) made by each party. You should not feel at a disadvantage because your relationship was structured so that you spent time out of the paid workforce and instead contributed in a non-financial manner to the relationship.

Property division does not just take into account the financial contributions made by each party. The Family Law Act recognises that relationships are often structured so that one party takes time out of the paid workforce in order to care for children. Therefore, the Family Law Act takes into account non-financial contributions such as child-raising and domestic tasks. Generally these contributions are considered equal to the financial contributions.

Even in situations where both parties in the paid workforce, it is not uncommon for one party to undertake the majority of the domestic tasks. This too may be taken into account in property settlements.

I brought significant property into the relationship. Can my spouse claim any of it?

Remember that any claim to assets of the relationship need to be grounded in ‘contributions’, property is not simply divided by virtue of the fact that two people are married.

The effect of this is that typically in short marriages, each party will take out what they came to the relationship with. In longer relationships, the contributions made by each party throughout the relationship are typically seen to reduce the significance of financial contribution made at the beginning of the relationship by each party. This is because the property brought to the relationship is, in most cases, seen to ‘meld’ into the marital asset pool which is being contributed to both financially and non-financially by the parties.

Technically, it could be seen that after the break down of a long relationship that the other spouse may have a claim against property brought into the relationship.

My spouse has accumulated assets post separation. Can I claim any of it?

Again, an argument needs to be made that you have contributed to the asset in some way. Where the assets have been purchased using assets of the marriage, this is likely to be much easier than a situation where several years after separation one spouse accumulates property from income generated post separation.

Furthermore, where a matter ends up before the court for determination, the court looks at the financial position of the parties at the time of hearing. This can be several years after separation.

It is also important to realise that other considerations such as future needs, income earning capacity as well as maintenance considerations can all be taken into account in determining property settlement.

What else is taken into consideration for a property settlement?

Other considerations such as future needs, income earning capacity as well as maintenance considerations can all be taken into account in determining property settlement.

Is there a "No Win No Fee" option?

The law does not allow a law firm to enter into a "No Win No Fee" costs agreement with a client in proceedings under the Family Law Act. There are serious consequences for the principals of the law firm entering into a no win no fee arrangement in a family law matter under the Family Law Act and for that reason, we are not No Win No Fee Family Lawyers.

However, to assist clients in obtaining the best possible family law legal representation, Prime Lawyers has developed the "Blue Ribbon" payment option for approved Family Law clients in property settlement matters. The "Blue Ribbon" payment option to approved clients is not no-win no-fee, but a deferred payment option. where our family law legal fees are paid when the matter comes to an

To read more about "Blue Ribbon", or to apply to join many current and former family law clients we have assisted under "Blue Ribbon" visit our Blue Ribbon Payment Option page.

How can Prime Lawyers help?

We have a team of experienced family lawyers who will carefully analyse all aspects of your case. We will look at all the financial and non financial contributions made by both parties and advise you on what your entitlements are. Our Family Lawyers are also experienced in undertaking negotiations with the other side to try to resolve your family law matter without the need of going to Court. However, if Court proceedings are required, we have the expertise and experience to go the distance. With our multiple offices, we have the ability to assist clients in Court proceedings or negotiating a property settlement NSW wide.

If you require assistance with a family law property matter, our experts at Prime Lawyers - Family Law Division can help. Contact us to make an appointment with a family lawyer at your nearest Prime Lawyers office.

We have offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Chatswood, Sutherland and Wollongong.    

Blue Ribbon Payment Option

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