How do we settle our property?
The same laws about property apply whether or not you were married, or in a de facto relationship (whether with a partner of the opposite sex or the same sex). You can start negotiations about property as soon as the marriage or relationship has broken down.
If you get divorced, you must start property or spouse maintenance proceedings within 12 months of your divorce becoming final. If you have been in a de facto relationship, you must commence property or maintenance proceedings within two years of your separation.
De facto Relationships
If you are in a de facto relationship, you can make an application for a property settlement under the Family Law Act if any one or more of the following conditions apply:
We are now separated. How do we divide our assets?
Property includes all things owned by either one or both partners (in joint or sole names) including:
What about superannuaton? Superannuation will be relevant to any property settlement. It can be treated as property and can be split between married or de facto couples after they separate. How superannuation entitlements will be split depends on a variety of matters, including the type of superannuation scheme to which that person belongs. You should consult a lawyer if superannuation is an issue in your matter.
How does the Court divide our property?
There is no formula or rule that determines how the property will be divided. The Court is not required to split the property 50/50. It will consider many things, including:
It is a good idea to get a lawyer for your property settlement even if only for legal advice and help making consent orders. Otherwise, even if you have settled up in accordance with an informal agreement, there is nothing to stop the other party taking you to court to get more. If you have court orders, you will be exempt from paying stamp duty on many property transfers.
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