Property settlements after divorce: here’s what you need to know
Start with financial separation checklist
- your home
- bank accounts
- other assets of value such as household goods and jewellery
- credit card and other debt
- hire or rental agreements
- businesses you run or share
- other benefits or inheritances
- non-financial contributions to the relationship
Understanding how a property settlement works
- Litigation – where you and your ex-partner can’t agree and you go to court
- Arbitration – a form of dispute resolution where both parties present their case to an independent third person (the arbitrator) and are bound by their decision
- Alternative Dispute Resolution – mediation, negotiation and other forms of dispute resolution are where both parties come to an agreement on the division of property, rather than going to court
Be aware that through these processes you may need to engage with:
- court officers
- accountants to investigate the total value of the asset pool, complicated structures and asset protection schemes
- Non-confrontational alternative dispute resolution (ADR) specialists such as mediators or arbitrators.
What you’re entitled to
- what you've got, what it’s worth and what you owe
- your direct financial contributions to the relationship such as wage and salary earnings
- your indirect financial contributions to the relationship such as gifts and inheritances from families
- non-financial contributions to your relationship such as caring for children and homemaking
- future requirements, factoring in your age, health, financial resources, care of children and ability to earn
How long a property settlement takes
Find the support you need
- Legal advice
It’s important to get quality, independent legal advice. You can ask trusted friends and family for referrals or you can search for a family lawyer in your state.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with your ex-partner, mediation is a good alternative to going to court. Consider using an accredited Family Dispute Resolution practitioner. Just remember, mediators don’t give advice – they’re there to help both parties resolve the dispute. You should still obtain your own independent legal advice.
You could also try using an Arbitrator – an independent person who can make binding decisions on dividing your property.
- Family Dispute Resolution
And remember, if you plan to go to court, you need to genuinely attempt family dispute resolution, before filing an application.