Divorce is a sad truth, but a possible outcome of any marriage. The average rate of divorce in Australia is 1.9 divorces per 1000 residents. Among all its states, Queensland has the highest divorce rate at 2.3 divorces per 1000 residents. In addition, some de facto relationships also end up in separation when the couple cannot set aside their differences. When such marriages and long-term relationships end, it can be really hard to untangle the life and assets two people have built together. With tensions running high, differences can arise, leading to even the most amicably-separated people fighting tooth and nail for everything.
In times like this, the wisest choice is to hire a third party to help so that the matter of division of assets can be resolved as quickly and painlessly as possible. This can also help the parties involved sustain a cordial relationship in the future instead of turning into bitter exes that cannot stand to see each other.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a division of assets after your separation to make the process hassle-free.
Is legal advice necessary?
Consulting with lawyers is so important because there are several rules that the average person is unaware of. When you turn to competent legal teams like Ipswich family lawyers, you will learn the ins and outs of general property settlements and your particular case.
A lawyer will ensure that your interests are protected at all costs. Most importantly, keep in mind that there is a time limit involved if you wish to file your case with the court. Property proceedings for divorced couples must commence within one year after the divorce is finalized. On the other hand, people separating after a de facto relationship must pursue their case within two years after their separation.
What counts as property?
You should be aware of what counts as property when pursuing a property settlement. Property can include all the couple's assets, including houses and land, businesses, shares, cash, bank accounts, credit card debts, cars, jewelry, antiques, and artwork. Some assets that only one of the parties can access can also be considered by the court when making a decision. This includes interests in trusts or estates of deceased family members.
How are property settlements decided?
Each case is different, but they all follow the same basic rules. All the financial contributions that each party made during the relationship are taken into consideration before reaching a settlement. Indirect contributions like gifts and inheritances are also considered. Aside from financial contributions, other efforts like childcare and homemaking also play a role in the decision. Moreover, future requirements are also considered, like age, financial resources, health, and the ability to support oneself in old age.
What can happen to your house?
The biggest concern of people who are separating is usually about their home. It can be hard leaving your house. But if one of you owned the house before the relationship started, the other probably will have to leave. If both the parties have their name on the deed or mortgage, the first step is to get a valuation of the house. After that, one party can buy the other party's share and continue living in the house, or the property can be sold so that each party is awarded the price of their share.
Which documents will you need?
To ensure a fair outcome, you must start being proactive during your separation period. Your ex-partner may start acquiring more debt as the divorce looms closer or start selling valuable assets. If something like this happens, thorough documentation can help you present your case to the court. Start by identifying your assets and making detailed lists. Try to arrange documents related to these assets and make multiple copies for safekeeping. Ensure that you have documents that show your financial contributions throughout your relationship and during the separation.
Can you prove your de facto relationship?
In the case of de facto relationships, especially ones where no children were involved, the separated couple must also prove that there was a relationship in the first place. They also need to prove that the relationship lasted for at least two years for the case to be considered. You can do this by providing documents that show that you lived together. You can also submit text messages and pictures with time stamps to show that you were in a committed relationship for at least two years.
Should you disclose your financial affairs?
When disclosing your financial affairs, you are legally bound to provide details of all your assets, even the smallest ones. Even if it was a genuine mistake, failure to disclose can be seen as an attempt to deliberately withhold important information from the court and may result in legal trouble. Hence, find out what exactly counts as an asset and be thorough in declaring everything.
Will your superannuation also be considered?
Superannuation is money set aside by your employer over the course of your career that you can use when you retire. Even though you may be years away from accessing this money, it is important to consider it during your property settlement.
Superannuation can be valued when you separate and split according to the settlement. However, that does not mean that either party can access the money. As stated by superannuation laws, the payments will only be made after retirement.
You need to keep several things in mind when pursuing a property settlement.
Firstly, get good legal advice to guide you through the process. Keep in mind the rules about time limits in which you can apply for a settlement. Find out what counts as property and get a valuation of your home. Make sure you declare all your assets without leaving anything out. Arrange documents that can prove your financial contributions throughout the relationship. If you are getting out of a de facto relationship, find ways to prove the authenticity of the relationship. Be aware of the rules around settlement cases like these so you know your rights.