Interim Property Settlement
How can I pay for living expenses after I separate from my partner or spouse?
Rarely, do separated parties to a marriage or de facto relationship resolve financial matters between them in a short period of time after separating. Resolving financial matters after separation is often hindered by:
- Emotional feelings of the parties about the separation;
- Disagreement about what each party should receive;
- Uncertainty about what the future holds for either party;
- A party not knowing about his/her legal rights in relation to financial matters following separation.
Due to the time that can pass until a final property settlement can be achieved, it is important to consider how immediate financial needs of a party to a separation can be met. One of the options available to a party to a separation in relation to meeting short term financial needs is an interim property settlement (also known as part property settlement). An interim property settlement can generally be described as an “advance” on what a party to a separation is to receive in a final property settlement. Such interim property settlements are usually funds available to be used by one of the parties after the parties have separated. These funds can be used by the party receiving the benefit of the interim property settlement as they wish. These funds can be used to buy a property, buy a car, pay legal expenses or to meet day to day living expenses. There is no restriction on how the funds classed as interim property settlement can be used by the party who has the benefit of it however, it is important to keep in mind that the interim property settlement is treated as part of what the party will receive in the final property settlement. For example if a party receives $50,000 as interim property settlement and in the final property settlement receives a total sum of $950,000, then the payment to be received by the party will be $900,000 as he/she has already received $50,000.
An interim property settlement can be obtained by agreement between the parties or by a court order if the parties cannot agree. For a court to make an interim property settlement order then the court must believe that it shoud make and order in the “interests of justice”. The court needs to find that the amount to be received by interim property settlement is within what that party will most likely receive in a final property settlement.
The other options available to help a party meet short term financial needs are spousal maintenace (for day to day living expenses) or a litigation funding order (for future legal costs). If you require further information about spousal maintenance or litigation funding orders then please follow the links to each of the respective topics.
A party that needs funds to meet short term finanial costs should obtain advice from an experienced family lawyer about the options available to obtain such funds. Amrstrong Legal, Melbourne has a team of family lawyers to provide advice and guidance about interim property settlement, spousal maintenance and litigation funding orders.