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North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers

Do I still need a lawyer if I’ve reached an agreement with my former partner? | North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers

We as family lawyers love hearing that a separation was amicable, or that someone is still on good terms with their former spouse or partner. However, agreeing to divide your property without obtaining a legally binding property settlement can leave you exposed in a number of ways.

Limitation periods

If the limitation period has not yet lapsed (see our article on time limitations), your former partner may initiate proceedings in Court seeking a legally binding property settlement, even though you have previously agreed something informal between yourselves.

Even where the limitation period has lapsed, if the Court is satisfied that hardship would be caused to your former partner or a child if leave were not granted to bring the action out of time, leave may be granted for your former partner to bring the matter before the Court outside the limitation period.

Generally, the property pool which is available for division between parties is the property pool as it exists at the time that a final property settlement is made.  Any assets acquired by either party post separation from savings or other assets acquired during the relationship may then be included in the property pool available to be divided between the parties (although adjustments may be made in favour of a party regarding their particular contribution post separation). If then, for example, you had received the family home when you negotiated an informal settlement with your former partner and since sold that property and used the funds from the sale to buy a new house, that new house (including any increase in capital value since its purchase) may form part of the property pool available for division with your former partner.

Legally Binding Agreements

There are a number of ways you can make your agreement for the division of property legally binding.

These include:-

  1. Consent Orders- the terms of the Orders are agreed between the parties and an Application signed by each party is filed in the Registry of the Family Court seeking that the Court issue the orders in the terms as agreed;
  2. Court issued Orders – after the parties have progressed through a trial, the Court determines what is a just and equitable division of property; and
  3. A Binding Financial Agreement made in accordance with the requirements of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).

When parties are able to agree as to how to divide their property, whether that’s over a cup of coffee or with the assistance of a lawyer, a lawyer can then assist with drafting the Application for Consent Orders as well as the Orders that you are seeking that the Court issue.

North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers

Why you still need a lawyer | North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers

It will be important to first obtain legal advice where you are seeking Consent orders to ensure that the proposed division of property is within the range of what the law would regard as just and equitable for your particular circumstances.

Contact our team of North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers today for an initial consultation regards how best to finalise your property settlement.

How that new engagement ring might affect your relationship with your former partner | Property Settlement Advice

The family court has said that after separating, “parties are entitled to… properly [get] on with their lives.” So, for those people who have separated, and are ready to take the next step with their new partner – fear not! The law is on your side.

If you’re ready to buy that engagement ring for your new partner, or if you are the new partner, the first thing to ensure is that the ring is not being purchased from funds which existed at or prior to the separation of the partner from his former partner. You should ensure that funds being used to buy the ring were acquired entirely post-separation.

Property Settlement Advice

Property Settlement Advice Brisbane

If, for example, after you have separated from your former partner, you sell the car you acquired while you were with your former partner, and then use that money to buy the engagement ring for your new partner, this would constitute a “premature distribution” of matrimonial assets on your part.

This doesn’t mean that you have to give the ring to your former partner; it just means that the Court will consider that you have therefore had the “benefit” of that matrimonial money and an adjustment may as a consequence possibly be made in favour of your former partner out of the net assets that are available for distribution between you.

That’s not to say that every time you spend money that was acquired during the relationship with your former partner, you have to effectively account for it in your property settlement with your former partner.  Parties are able to use funds acquired during a former relationship for day to day living expenses post-separation where needed. However, the purchasing of an item such as an engagement ring for a new partner, would not be considered such a “day to day expense”.

In family law proceedings, so far as practicable, the Court has a duty to end the financial relationship between the parties to a marriage or a de facto relationship. The court must also ensure that it does not “alter the property rights of the parties, unless justice requires it to do so”.

This means that if you buy an engagement ring on a credit card and pay off that credit card debt from funds that you obtained entirely post separation, be that on your own or with the assistance of your new partner, you can expect that the engagement ring, or its value, would not be treated as part of the property pool available for division between you and your former partner. However, where assets are required by a party from post-separation income, they may be considered in the property settlement with the former partner in so far as those assets are available to the party.

If you have any questions on how to move forward financially with your new partner, when you have not yet finally settled your financial relationship with your former partner, call our family law team on (07) – 3506 3651. We can offer you experienced property settlement advice.