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, if they wish, 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 assistance of someone else, 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 Assistance 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 assists 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 Family Court to obtain the Court’s approval, this process takes place without anyone having to attend at Court, or appear before a Judge. In Victoria, it can take between four and six weeks for the Consent Orders to be approved.

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.

Contact our office for more information.

 

WHERE TO NEXT?

Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?

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