When a couple break up often the first question, after the emotional turmoil that usually accompanies a breakup, is do we need to do a property settlement. While this can occur between parties in any case, by simply splitting assets, the question is more one of do they need a formal property settlement splitting the asset pool. At first instance there can be concerns about engaging a lawyer to do the property settlement because of the anticipated costs but without wanting to sound ‘cliche’ can you afford not to do it correctly. Many just aren’t sure what is included or should be taken into account when doing a property settlement and if something is overlooked, that is something that one party had an entitlement too then you could miss out on thousands of dollars anyway.
Initially it would be important to find out what your entitlement is and from that point deal with the matter properly so the matter is not only settled once and for all, but there are no further problems in the future that might, say “come back to bite you”. These days it doesn’t matter whether that is from a marriage or a defacto partnership, the Family Law Act covers both now and basically sets out whether there should be an adjustment of financial interests between parties from a marriage or defacto relationship.
There is a process in place that needs to be followed, which starts by the parties making a full disclosure of the assets and agreeing on the terms of the settlement. Often if there is no agreement at the start, that can be facilitated by solicitors to avoid going to court. The statistics show that approximately 98% of all matters are decided without going to a court hearing. Once everyone is agreed it is a matter of putting it down in writing then filing with the court. But before that occurs the important step is to have independent legal advice about the terms of settlement which makes the terms binding on both parties.
While coming to an agreement early in any proceedings is best, knowing your rights and true entitlement is essential. Ignorance can cost you far more than the legal costs incurred in such situations. With a simple property settlement legal costs starting from around $800 it is better than missing out on thousands by not getting the right advice.