Property Settlements occur when the Family Court makes orders relating to the distribution and division of assets and liabilities of a couple after the breakdown of a relationship.
What is a Property Settlement?
In Western Australia, you are entitled to apply for orders seeking the division of assets and liabilities after separation. A property settlement is one of the most common proceedings in the Family Court and involves the Family Court making orders to end the financial relationship between you and your ex-partner.
Who is entitled to a Property Settlement?
You are entitled to apply for a property settlement in the Family Court if you have been married, or in a de facto relationship.
What a lot of people do not realise, is that there are strict time limits on
the bringing of property settlement applications. These time limits are:
For married couples: Applications must be lodged within 12 months of the date of divorce.
For de facto couples: Applications must be lodged within 24 months of the date of final separation.
If you think you may be out of time to make an application, or you believe an application has been made out of time and you are the respondent, then do not delay and contact our office to arrange an appointment with our experienced family lawyers today.
How is a Property Settlement calculated in the Family Court?
There is no simple answer to this question. Each matter will be considered by the Court on a case by case basis. The Court will endeavour to make a decision that is just and equitable in the circumstances.
In the Family Court of WA, the Court will be guided by provisions in the Family Law Act 1975 in relation to married couples and by the Family Court Act 1997 for de facto couples. These two acts are very similar, although as at June 2018, de facto couples in Western Australia are still unable to seek orders for the division of superannuation entitlements. We note that there are discussions occurring to remove this restriction, and we do expect this to change in the near future.
In general, the Court will consider factors such as:
The duration of the relationship;
Financial contributions to the relationship by each party;
Non-financial contributions such as home maintenance, cleaning etc;
The care and support of children (if applicable); and
Any considerations for future needs.
The above are just a snapshot of what is considered by the Court. If you have any queries, our experienced Family Lawyers are able to guide you through the process of Property Settlements and give you a better idea of what your entitlements may be.
Useful resources for Property Settlement matters
Property Settlement matters can be complex and emotionally stressful. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available for people who are facing these kinds of proceedings.
The current fees charged by the Family Court of WA for applications for spousal maintenance are available to be viewed on the Family Court website.
Ok, I want to make an application for Property Settlement
In that case, we are more than happy and ready to help. Give our office a call on (08) 9250 8117 or alternatively, send us an email through our contact form below and book a no obligations appointment today.