Divorces can be a very difficult time, regardless of why you’re divorcing your spouse. And often, the last thing people will often think about is the money. However, you should ensure that there is some sort of plan in place, drafted by professional lawyers in the family law, property settlement division of their firm. 

Having something down in writing is the only way for both parties to have clarity on who is entitled to what during a divorce settlement. Let’s not forget that divorce is the formal, legal severing of ties between two married parties. Filing for divorce is usually the last recourse of a party during a break down of a relationship, because of the significant legalities involved. 

How Long Does a Divorce Take? 

Divorces can be a long, complicated affair, or they can be simple and not take a long time at all. This depends on a wide variety of factors such as: 

●       Whether there is a large or small number of assets to divide up between the two parties

●       Whether or not there is any property mutually shared between the two parties

●       How willing the two parties are to make concessions to the other party, in terms of who gets what

●       How much property is owned between the two parties 

If you’re fortunate enough to be involved in the average divorce case in Australia, then you’re looking at a rough completion time of four months from start to finish. If there is property involved, then this process can take longer – property settlement after separation is one of the trickiest parts of the act of separating oneself from another person, particularly in the eyes of the law. 

Don’t forget, the goal of a divorce is separation from your former spouse, however, the process of the property settlement is to achieve as equitable a separation as possible in the eyes of the law. AJB Stevens becomes involved in family law property settlement before the Family Court of Australia – usually, seeking a binding agreement by going through the FCA is far more time consuming and expensive than a traditional law firm. 

So, what can you expect if you’re involved in a divorce property settlement? How does the process of family law property settlement work? Here is the information you’ll need. 

How Are Assets & Property Calculated? 

One of the key parts in a divorce property settlement is how much of the collective assets of both parties is each party entitled to. Now, depending on how the relationship between yourself and your soon-to-be-divorced spouse ends, this may be a very simple Property Settlement Process, or it may not. However, if lawyers are involved, then it probably isn’t such an amicable split. We will now explain how assets and property are calculated in a divorce, before giving a rough overview of who gets what after the Property Settlement Process is complete. 

Assets are simply anything that is legally in your name that has a substantial monetary value. Your mobile phone is a simple example of an asset, your car is another. Property, like houses and seaside cottages, are also assets. These are usually the focus of any Property Settlement Process. Our first step at AJB Stevens is to take all of your assets and debts into account, to provide us (and perhaps you) with a true financial picture of yourself. 

Our guidance through this process is critical, but it requires that you be completely honest with us about your finances – providing misleading information is illegal and could result in a loss of our counsel and a loss of your divorce proceedings, not to mention other legal ramifications. Please, we can only help you if you’re honest. Here is the list of assets we’ll look for a valuation on: 

●       The family home and other associated mutually owned property

●       Savings held in mutual bank accounts

●       Mutually owned motor vehicles

●       Personal effects and household contents

●       Ongoing repayments of credit cards, loans, etc

●       Financial investment, trust assets and inheritances

This is a basic overview of what financial assets we probe to find a true numerical value of your assets. This can be a lengthy process, depending on how forthcoming you are able to be with the relevant information. 

Who Gets What? 

Who gets what during the process of the divorce property settlement relies on the willingness of both parties to compromise. Sometimes, both parties are happy to split all assets 50/50 – though this may, or may not be advisable, depending on the particulars of your case. Though our goal at AJB Stevens is to ensure that all outcomes are fair. 

There is a four step process to finalising any divorce property settlement: 

1)     Calculate the total value of net assets owned by yourself and your spouse.

2)     Assess net pool contributions – including parenting or non-financial homemaking.

3)     Determine the future needs of yourself and your spouse and/or any dependent children.

4)     Make sure that the outcomes achieved are fair and equitable for everyone in the process, including dependent children.

The property pool is a term used to encompass the entirety of the net value of the property(ies) involved in any divorce proceeding. This includes the value of the family home and all physical assets contained therein, including any financial input on the part of either part to upgrade the home (for example, if you paid the majority of the money towards an addition on your family’s home, this would be calculated in your part of the net pool contribution). 

When Do You Need to Seek Help From a Professional Family Lawyer? 

Ultimately, it is everybody’s greatest wish that lawyers didn’t need to exist – that we could all just get along and be law-abiding, amicable citizens of the world. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. It is highly advisable, when going through a separation with your significant other – especially if you’re married – that you seek legal counsel. You should start to seek legal counsel right after you, or your significant other has made the decision to divorce. It doesn’t have to be a malicious action, it can simply be a formalising process of the inevitable. 

You should definitely seek legal advice if there is any animosity in the separation whatsoever. This will help protect you and your assets, including your personal reputation, from harm by your former significant other. 

How Can We Help? 

AJB Stevens can help you in all areas of family law property settlement. Give us a call today to set up a consultation to discuss your divorce proceedings and how we can help you make sure that any division of property is equitable and fair.