Written by Mark Quaglia
IMPORTANT POINTS TO ASSIST YOU IN YOUR FAMILY LAW PROPERTY DIVISION
If you are considering separating, or have just separated, I have summarise some of the most important things you can do to ensure the best outcome when it comes to division of your assets and liabilities with your former partner.
1. UNDERSTAND THE EMOTIONAL JOURNEY
Separation is a difficult and confronting period: filled with emotion, anger and anxiety of what the future holds. It is often the case that one party has “checked out” emotionally months, or sometimes years, before the other party even realises that there is a problem. It is quite common to that one party wants to separate and the other does not. ( Good)
As Each party encapsulates themselves in their own emotional cocoon, communication (or the little communication which still exists) becomes more difficult: the bitter,angry reality of what is going to happen, or why this has happened, or that it is “their” fault not mine – can place a wedge between the 2 parties the result of which will makes “negotiation” difficult.
Getting to the negotiating table for meaningful discussion (while easier said than done)
can be a challenge but will alleviate more emotional pain and protracted legal costs for all the parties concerned. Therapists, counsellors and support groups can play a huge role in assisting someone involved in a separation to deal with their sense of loss and their ability to move on from their relationship. This in turn makes negotiating amicably and reasonably a much more likely scenario. (Good)
2. KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION “OPEN” WITH YOUR FORMER PARTNER
As is always the case, with good communication, the prospect of reaching a sensible resolution with your former partner is maximised.
3. COME UP WITH A DRAFT PROPOSAL
Any draft proposal is a good start to the negotiation process. An agreement can cover whatever financial issues matter to you both, and can include:
the sale or transfer of the house,
the amount one of you will have to pay the other.
division of bank accounts, cars, contents of the house, etc
Remember you can’t commit yourself by any such discussion as it is unenforceable until you’ve gone through it with your lawyer and it is approved by the Court.
Before going to see your Lawyers, prepare a list of all the assets and liabilities (including superannuation) held by you and your former partner at the time you commenced living together. Include their values at that time. This will reduce your legal costs – assist your lawyer a great deal.
Prepare a balance sheet listing all the major assets and liabilities (including superannuation) currently owned by you and your former partner, and include your estimate of the value of each item.
Compile the following documents for your lawyer:
Your last three tax returns;
Your most recent pay slip;
Your most recent superannuation statement;
Your most recent statement for any account (savings, credit card, loan, mortgage, term deposit) with any financial institution;
A market appraisal from a real estate agent for any real estate you own
Prepare a chronology with the dates of:
Your birth, and that of your former partner and your children;
Your marriage, commencement of your cohabitation and your separation;
purchase and sale of any properties during the relationship, including the prices;
any inheritances or gifts you, or your former partner, received during the relationship, including the amounts.
5. DON’T TAKE LEGAL ADVICE FROM YOUR FORMER PARTNER
Don’t believe your partner when he/she tells you:
Usually, your former partner will not be giving you advice with your best interests in mind. Notwithstanding how obvious that may seem, It is surprising how many people we see who are worried by what their former partner has told them about their entitlements.
6. TAKE LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN EXPERIENCED FAMILY COURT LAWYER
A good Family lawyer will guide you through the complexities of what, for most people, is a novel and unknown journey. That Family lawyer can explain the process and your entitlements.
Legal proceedings are always only a last resort. We at BSG Lawyers will explain all available options and will provide you with a strong reality check, to balance all the subjective and often, incorrect, legal advice you receive from well-meaning family, friends and neighbours.
7. ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Importantly, one should always consider (if possible in the circumstances) other methods of resolving the dispute such as mediation, arbitration or informal settlement discussions through lawyers.
Understand that resolutions are only ever reached where two people compromise their respective claims. So be prepared to compromise.
So take these points into consideration – as an important Step to increasing the prospects of resolving your property issues at an early point in negotiations.
For an Appointment CONTACT:
Mark Quaglia – BA LL.B GDLP
Registered Migration Agent
Suite 8, 70 Walkervillle Tce
Walkerville, SA 5081