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Resolving Property Matters Without Going to Court

After a relationship has ended, usually the couple will need to work out how to divide their assets. It is not always necessary to go to court to do this. There are several options available to couples wanting to maintain an amicable relationship after they separate.

Negotiating An Outcome Directly

Couples can reach their own agreement about property settlement without the involvement of a lawyer. This can be done by direct communication with the parties, or with the help of someone, such as a friend or qualified mediator.

Once an agreement is reached, it is usually best for each of the parties to seek some legal advice to check whether their agreed outcome is fair and reasonable.

Negotiating An Agreed Outcome With The Help Of Lawyers

Sometimes, a couple can’t reach agreement directly, or aren’t comfortable to do so without legal advice. In those circumstances, they can each seek a lawyer to represent their interests, and have their lawyers write to each other, or have a discussion about how best to resolve the property settlement. At all times, the couple involved ultimately make the decisions, but are guided through the decision-making process with advice from their lawyers.

A mediation may also be conducted as part of this process, but with the lawyers present at the mediation to provide advice about the offers that might be made, accepted or rejected.

Making A Written Agreement

Any time an agreement is reached, it is usually best to then ensure that the agreement is put into writing, in a document that is legally binding. This helps to make it clear to the couple exactly what the agreement is. It also helps others who may be involved in the process of changing ownership of assets, such as real estate agents, lenders and conveyancers, where real properties need to be sold or transferred.

The most common ways of making a legally binding property agreement are entering into either consent orders or a financial agreement.

Whilst consent orders are lodged with the Federal Circuit and Family COurt (FCFCA) to obtain the court’s approval, this process takes place without anyone having to attend court, or appear before a judge.

Financial agreements are not lodged with the court, but often take a similar time frame to be prepared, checked and for the lawyers to provide the required advice to each of their clients.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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