Separating couples who are parties to marriages, de facto relationships or same-sex relationships can file an application in court for the settlement of their properties. The Family Law Act sets out the process of dividing the property of the separating couples.
All the properties of the parties, both tangible and intangible are considered in their net matrimonial assets which are to be divided among them. Property acquired prior to the marriage or relationship, during the relationship and after the relationship is taken into consideration, except if there is a Binding Financial Agreement executed by the parties which will determine how their properties are to be divided.
There are four steps involved in process of property settlement and these are:
Parties to a marriage may file an application in court for property settlement within 12 months from the date of the decree of divorce. They can also file the same during their marriage or file within 12 months from the date of separation prior to the filing of the divorce. If the application was filed beyond the 12 months prescribed period (after issuance of divorce decree) leave of court to file the same is required.
Parties in de facto relationships, on the other hand, can also file an application for property settlement during or prior to the commencement of their relationship. But the 12 month period after the decree of divorce was issued will not apply to them as there was no marriage to annul or set aside. There are certain conditions that they must satisfy under the Family Law Act, and these are:
If the application failed under the Family Law Act, de facto couples can still make a claim under the Property Law Act 1974 if they are constituents in Queensland.
If they enter into a binding financial agreement, this will govern the division of their property. Usually, couples execute this agreement if they wanted to protect their property from the other spouse. This is also resorted to in order to protect the inheritance of the children from the previous marriages. Parties can terminate this agreement in writing or the court may set it aside if there was fraud or the same is unenforceable or void.