Family Law Property Settlements – Vehicles

Establishing a workable property settlement is daunting for people experiencing separation or divorce. It’s difficult to untangle finances after years of shared asset accumulation with a spouse or partner, and it’s not uncommon for ownership of expensive items such as vehicles to be disputed. Family Law property settlements are ideally formalised with the assistance of an experienced lawyer, allowing you to make the best transition possible while focusing on a successful future.

Does property settlement include vehicles?

Vehicles are included in property settlements for Family Law purposes, along with other assets obtained before, during and after separation. Strict time limits apply for commencing property settlement proceedings, with outcomes aiming for the “just and equitable” distribution of assets. It’s not uncommon for a person to own several vehicles, often with great sentimental value attached, so a fair approach to negotiations and settlements overseen by a Taylor & Scott Family Law professional is highly advised.

Property Settlements are governed by the Family Law Act 1975, and the law has been amended to include de facto and same-sex relationships. Assets and holdings which may be divided during property settlements include, but are not limited to:

  • Real estate;
  • Investments, including shares;
  • Cars, boats, bikes and any other vehicles;
  • Furniture and collectibles;
  • Inheritances, gifts, and windfall gains (such as lottery winnings); and
  • Savings

Does settlement include vehicles bought after separation?

Vehicles, as well as any other assets acquired after separation (but before a property settlement) are included in settlement calculations. Parties to Family Law disputes have obligations to exchange full and frank financial disclosure which includes information relating to any property acquired post-separation.  An accurate valuation of property in each party’s sole name, and joint name, will be required to formulate a just and equitable separation agreement.

What should you do if you are thinking of separation?

If you remain on reasonable terms with your former-spouse or partner, and your situation isn’t complex, you may agree upon a just and equitable distribution of matrimonial property.  Even in those circumstances, it is crucial to have the terms of your agreement formalised so as to extinguish any rights, entitlements and obligations which arise as a result of your marriage or de facto relationship.  That is, until your agreement is formalised by way of a financial agreement or consent orders (both being technical legal documents governed and endorsed by the Family Law Act), and so long as a time limitation period has not expired, either you or your spouse may still commence proceedings under the Family Law Act for a property settlement.  The terms of your informal agreement have no bearing on what you are entitled to under the Act which emphasises the importance of properly documenting an agreement. In the event that you and your former spouse or partner are unable to reach agreement as to how to divide your assets, your Taylor & Scott Family Law professional will confidently  guide you through the negotiation process, pressing hard to achieve the best outcome for you.

Once a settlement is reached it is strongly recommended that it be formalised by the Family Court, by way of “Consent Orders”.  This will have the effect of finalising your property settlement.  Consent orders can also be made by the Family Court to address children’s matters, spousal maintenance and other issues. Your separation agreement provides surety moving forward, with the understanding that neither party can make a future claim.

What happens if an agreement can’t be made on the division of property?

Taylor & Scott Lawyers was established in 1905, and we continue to forge the best property settlements for the people of Sydney and NSW. When negotiations are carried out by an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer, and there is a desire from both parties to reach fair outcomes, a timely and satisfactory result is very possible.

If you have reached an impasse however, and your former spouse or partner won’t budge from unreasonable demands regarding vehicles or other assets, Taylor & Scott is ready to fight on your behalf.  We will support your case with solid evidence that establishes your position. Our reputation within the Family Court of Australia is highly regarded, assisting the Court to make decisions based on reliable information including:

  • Your financial contributions to the relationship;
  • Non-financial contributions such as homemaker or primary carer;
  • Gifts, inheritance, winnings, bonuses; and
  • Assets attained prior to commencement of the relationship.

There is a lot to sort out when a relationship ends, but the matter isn’t fully resolved until a property settlement is formalised which provides for property, including vehicles and other assets to be distributed between the parties. At Taylor & Scott Lawyers, we can make it happen for you much faster than you may think, so contact us today for a confidential assessment of your situation.

At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.