The Essential Guide to Property Settlement in Australia

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Brett Hartley, Director and Accredited Specialist (Family Law) has penned four eBooks to help people understand various aspects of Family Law in Australia; important things you need to know to help answer many questions that you might have.

Brett Hartley is an incredibly well respected Family Law Specialist in Brisbane, his expertise and knowledge in this field are of the highest calibre.

Below is an extract from ‘The Essential Guide to Children and Family Law in Australia’. This eBook explains in easy to read English the important aspects of the law relating to children and Family Law in Australia.


The Essential Guide to Property Settlement in Australia

What is a property settlement?

After a relationship breakdown, separating couples need to finally resolve the ownership and distribution of property that they own. This is often referred to as a property settlement.

A property settlement is a legal, final and binding division of all assets and liabilities that both parties own at the date when the agreement is completed.

It is important to note that there are only three binding and final ways to have a property settlement in Australia. These are dealt with at Page 39. Any other verbal or written agreement between separating couples (if not complying with one of the legal methods of resolving a property settlement) is not binding upon the parties.

Example – Mary and Joe have been married for 10 years. They own a home with no mortgage. The home is worth $300,000.00. They have no other assets or liabilities other than cash in the bank of $200,000.00. Mary tells Joe that she wants to separate and leaves the home. Several weeks later, Mary’s solicitor and Joe’s solicitor come to an agreement for a property settlement. Mary keeps the house and Joe keeps the $200,000.00 cash. This agreement is then drawn up as a Consent Order and filed in the Family Court of Australia and several weeks later a sealed Order issues stating that Joe will transfer his interest in the home to Mary and that Mary will retain the home as her absolute property. The Orders also state that Mary shall transfer her interest in the savings account to Joe and Joe will retain the $200,000.00 absolutely. Joe and Mary have therefore completed their property settlement.

What does a property settlement not include?

A property settlement is separate to a Divorce. Divorce is simply the legal severance of one’s marriage. One can apply for a Divorce if they have been separated for twelve months, have been living separately and apart and the relationship has irretrievably broken down.

Property settlements do not relate to spousal maintenance or child support. These are separate issues that are often dealt with at the same time that a property settlement is finalised but they do not form part of a property settlement.


It is important to seek specialist advice from an Accredited Family Law Specialist in Australia and by reading this guide and understanding the basic process and law that applies, then every person will put themselves in a better position to deal with the financial consequences of a relationship breakdown.

This EBook can also be used by practitioners who do not specialise in Family Law but who want a detailed overview of the important aspects of a property settlement in Australia.

The full EBook covers the following areas:

  • What is a property settlement?
  • When can a property settlement take place?
  • Divorce and property settlements;
  • Same sex relationships;
  • The four-step process in determining a fair property settlement;
  • Identifying and valuing matrimonial property;
  • Assessing relevant contributions;
  • Assessing Section 75(2) factors;
  • What is a just and equitable order?
  • Death in property settlement proceedings;
  • Setting aside transactions and dispositions;
  • Discharging or varying property orders;
  • The treatment of tax, realisation costs and incidental costs in property transactions;
  • The duty of disclosure;
  • How to resolve your property dispute;
  • Recording and documenting the property settlement correctly;
  • The importance of financial advice and estate planning advice; and
  • Prenuptial and Binding Financial Agreements.

 
To purchase the full ebook ‘The Essential Guide to Property Settlement in Australia’ click HERE (link to ebooks page) to make payment and download.

About the author

Brett Hartley

Accredited Family Law Specialist

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