There are important steps that must be undertaken to work out how a property will be appropriately divided. These steps are as follows:
- Determine all the assets and liabilities; assess what is ‘just and equitable’.
- Assess the contributions made by both parties.
- An assessment must be made under s75(2) of the Family Law Act, for within this section lie many factors that must be considered in a property settlement. This usually involves considering the income levels of both parties and the arrangements that will be made regarding children.
It is important to get advice early about your entitlements in a property settlement.
Duty of disclosure requires all parties to a family law dispute to provide to each other party all information relevant to an issue in the case. This includes information recorded in a paper document or stored by some other means such as a computer storage device and also includes documents that the other parties may not know about.
Disclosure is a complex area of law. It requires disclosing all sources of earnings, interest, income, property and other financial resources. This applies whether the property, financial resources and earnings are owned by or come to the party directly, or go to some other person or beneficiary or are held in corporations, trusts, company or other such structures. Also required to be disclosed is information about any property disposal that was made in the year immediately before the separation of the parties or since the final separation and that may affect, defeat or deplete a claim.
A Financial Statement will list your financial situation and additional requirements may be case specific.
A Conciliation Conference provides an opportunity for parties to make a genuine effort to settle their dispute. It aims to reach an agreement by adopting a practical approach and to prevent the need for further court events.
A property settlement can be agreed upon by the parties without going to Court. The arrangement can be formalised by the parties signing a Binding Financial Agreement. Alternatively, the agreement can be formalised by Consent Orders, made in a court, but the parties do not need to attend court.
It is important to get advice as to how to proceed
Let Linda help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities with regard to meeting your duty of disclosure.