Property settlement under the Australian Legal System is the division of all the assets and liabilities of a couple after the breakdown of their relationship. The law does not make a distinction between married couples and those who are in an eligible de facto relationship, as such, property settlement is applicable to all couples regardless of being married or not.
Settlement of property can be done in three ways, a do it yourself approach, through a binding financial agreement made by a family lawyer, or through filing an application to the Family Court for a Property Settlement Order.
The best and least expensive way of property settlement under the Australian Legal System is amicably settling the property. Commonly referred to as the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Property Settlement, this is the fastest method of settling the property of the spouses. It is convenient considering that the separating couple will only need to mutually agree on how they will allocate their assets and liabilities to each one of them. It is more successful to those couple who mutually respects one another and only looks after to the best interest of both parties. A DIY kit for this type of arrangement is available at the Family Law Website. The separating couple can also go to the court and ask the forms directly from the staff of the Court Registry.
For better result, an advice from a financial adviser or a family lawyer will provide adequate information for the parties on how the parties can settle their property after separation. A family lawyer may also help in the drafting of the agreement including its terms and conditions to embody the settlement of their properties. This document can turn into a Binding Financial Agreement once they have been filed with the Court.
The last and final method of property settlement is the application before the court for a Property Settlement Order. This method involves several steps and it is best for an applicant to seek the services of a proper legal representation in order to fully protect his best interest. The relevant and important documents must be initially organized and collated in order to form the bulk of evidence for the party applicant. This includes the financial statement of the property which will list all the assets and liabilities of the family before the filing of the case.
After filing of the initial application, the Court will set a date for the interim hearing. The schedule depends on the number of cases lodge in the court but it is usually set within 2 to 4 months. The final hearing for the case varies accordingly some may get their schedule as early as 3 months while others have it on the 24th month after filing.
Negotiation and settlement are still valid if the parties mutually agree thereto even while the application is pending before the court. The law encourages negotiations and amicable settlement since it embodies the will of both parties and it will immediately settle their dispute. The parties need to inform the court of this decision in order for them to issue an appropriate order.