Four-Step Process Involved in Filing an Application for a Property Settlement

One of the key matters that divorced or divorcing couples have to deal with is the division of the property that they own. When the parties involved are unable to reach a consensus regarding how to divide their property, they can always turn to the courts for assistance.

The Australian family law system provides a legal framework for the division of marital property. If you're contemplating going to court to make a property settlement when you're getting a divorce, a family lawyer that focuses on property settlements can guide you through the murky waters of filing an application for property settlement. 

Read along to acquaint yourself with the steps involved in filing an application for a property settlement under Australia's family law system.

Step 1 — Determining the Value of the Parties' Asset Pool

The first step of the property settlement process is to identify the financial assets and liabilities that both you and your spouse own either separately or jointly and determine their value. This is done to establish the parties' net asset pool, which is calculated by subtracting the total liabilities from the total assets. 

Examples of assets include money deposited at the bank, business interests, real estate property owned, superannuation and redundancy payments. All assets must be identified and demonstrated honestly. The financial liabilities of the marriage include bank overdrafts, mortgages, credit card debt, personal loans and tax liabilities. 

This step can be simple or complex depending on the financial situation of the parties involved.

Step 2 — Assessing Each Party's Contributions 

This step involves assessing the role that each party played in the accumulation of assets and wealth of the marriage. The contributions can be either financial or non-financial. 

For example, one partner may have been in charge of running the family businesses while the other had to stay at home to take care of the children and run daily household errands. In such a case, both parties will be considered to have contributed to the welfare of the family and will deserve a share of the family property.

Step 3 — Assessing Each Party's Future Needs 

Sometimes, ending a marriage means that one or both partners may not be able to meet certain needs without the help of the other. 

For example, if one of the parties needs special treatment and help with daily living activities because of an illness, they may need separate financial resources to cater to their special needs.

Step 4 — Determining if the Proposed Division of Property Is Fair to the Parties

This final step involves holistically looking into the circumstances of each case to determine if the property has been shared in a fair and just manner.

If the division of property is considered to be fair and just to each of the parties, the court makes a final ruling on the matter.

It takes two to tango, but it only takes one hunkered-down partner for a marriage to break down. If you're going to need court action to get a property settlement between you and your spouse, the best course of action is to hire a family lawyer that works with the division of marital property.