Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to agree on a property settlement with your former spouse. In these circumstances, you may need to ask the Courts for help.
The Courts have the power under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to make orders dividing property between spouses who have separated.
In Western Australia, the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) provides the Family Court of Western Australia with powers to divide property between separated de facto couples (including same-sex couples).
Property settlement in the Courts may be summarised as a five-step process:
- Step 1: The Court will ask itself whether it is “just and equitable” to make an order altering the parties’ property interests.
- Step 2: Determine the extent and value of the parties’ assets and liabilities.
- Step 3: Assess the parties’ contributions (including financial, non-financial, parenting and homemaker contributions).
- Step 4: Adjust the property settlement to account for the parties’ respective “future needs”, and any other relevant factors.
- Step 5: Having followed the above steps, consider whether the overall outcome is “just and equitable”.
We can advise you in relation to property settlement, including your likely entitlements, and what steps you should take to reach a final outcome. If you need to apply to the Court, we are experienced litigators and will represent your interests vigorously.
Even if your matter ends up in Court, we will continue to work with you to “think outside the box” throughout the process, to generate options for settling your matter prior to Trial.