You can apply for a property settlement at any time after separation
When a married couple or a couple in a de facto relationship, divorce or separate, not only do they part ways, the properties of the marriage or relationship must also be settled between the parties.
If the marriage or relationship has incurred debts (such as a mortgage) these must be settled. If there are amounts owing from other parties (such as personal loans made from the funds of the marriage or relationship to friends or family), these must be collected and included in the pool of assets of the marriage or relationship.
There are times when the pool of assets of the marriage or relationship is not sizeable and the parties do not wish to go to court and incur more expenses which will further diminish the properties of the marriage. There is a way by which the couple or partners can settle their marriage or relationship properties without going through the court process. It is property settlement through mediation.
In mediation, the parties sit with a mediator and the parties discuss the dispute, if any, regarding property settlement between the parties. There is a requirement for the parties to come before the mediator with a mind set on settling disputes with a good faith intention to iron out differences and to fully and frankly disclose all information regarding the property settlement. Before the mediator, disputes can be settled through negotiations which can be amicable and not adversarial. The resolution of the dispute can expeditious and quick unlike in court where the process can be protracted.
Once negotiations are successful and the parties have reached an agreement, they will need to formalize it by putting the agreement in writing with the parties’ signatures on it. This is now a binding financial agreement between the parties. In the alternative, the parties can apply to the courts for recognition of their private agreement in the form of a consent order which embodies the terms of their agreement.
In the event that mediation fails, the couple or partners can always resort to court. For this, you need the advice of a trained and experienced family lawyer who can represent you and help you present evidence in court.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.