A property settlement can be a tricky and uncomfortable thing. But it’s a real part of the legal process when a relationship comes to an end. There are likely a lot of things going through your mind during this period, so it’s important to have a few guidelines to help you get through the process effectively.
Many couples acquire assets together including, cars, houses, furniture, electronics and more. The best way to settle property is to mutually come to an agreement with your ex-partner. However, if a consensus can’t be reached, you may need to take it to court. It’s wise to note that taking your dispute to court will be expensive, time-consuming, stressful; and even then you may not get the result you want or deserve. With property settlement, it’s always best to negotiate with the intention of a clean break with your ex-partner.
If negotiations amount to little, seeking legal intervention may be the last resort. Here are 4 steps to help you best prepare for property settlement
1. Make sure you have access and security over your finances
It’s wise to break joint accounts as soon as the relationship is over. Having a clean break with joint accounts and shared access is essential. During this phase, it’s best to think long-term, which also involves deciding where you will live. Call your bank and inform them of the situation. They will let you know about any requirements like joint signatures needed for withdrawals. In Australia, if two parties set up a joint account, both parties own the monies, regardless of the amount each party contributed to the total. Also, if you own a credit card and your partner is an additional cardholder, you are liable for any debt they have accrued on the card. Be mindful to stop or limit online access to shared accounts during this time.
2. Have important documents ready
Having your important documents ready makes the property settlement process much easier. Organise your last 5 payslips, tax returns, along with bank and mortgage statements, including credit cards, vehicle registration statements any other documents relating to ownership of assets and liabilities. This makes it easier and more efficient to build your case and assess your claim.
3. Record significant facts about your relationship
Take note of any important dates, events and facts about your relationship. Creating a timeline of events can be useful for lawyers. Include dates for: marriage, when you both moved in together, property purchases, separation and children’s date of birth. Include financial and non-financial contributions towards the day to day logistics of the relationship and running of the house. This information is crucial for the court to be able to accurately assess the property settlement case.
4. Get legal advice early
Property settlement is a tumultuous time. It’s during this time you’ll need the support of an expert with a successful track record you can trust, who can guide you towards the best decisions for your long term benefit. Getting the support of an expert early can help guard you against making fatal mistakes in the property settlement process, and ensure that the legalities go as smoothly and painlessly as possible. It’s also important to get the aid of a legal advisor to ensure that information is presented accurately and nothing is falsified, as misinformation can result in criminalisation or other penalties.
Taylor & Scott Lawyers understand family law property settlement agreements need to be fair and equitable for all concerned, so we overcome complex issues through negotiation expertise.
We uncover every means of gaining improved settlement outcomes in ways that include:
- Identifying everything included in the property pool of you and your ex-partner.
- Negotiation with your ex-partner or legal representative to reach a satisfactory agreement.
- Formalising the agreement to achieve a property settlement accepted by the Court.
Having trouble with your property settlement? Get in touch with Taylor & Scott today by calling 1800 600 664 or contact directly through the Taylor & Scott website.
At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.