If you’re separating from your partner, or getting a divorce, a property settlement will be part of the decision-making process.

Who gets what and how much can be a source of conflict for both people involved. There are a number of options for determining a property settlement.

1. Non-legal arrangement

If you can reach an agreement without taking any legal steps, you’re entering a non-legal arrangement. You may sell your property and divide the proceeds without making any application to a court. This process works for people who are separating amicably and are confident they will maintain a constructive relationship. However, either person still has the right to go to the court at a later time and ask for financial orders to be made.  Not having a legal arrangement in place might not provide the certainty and finality some people want.

2. Binding Financial Agreement 

Binding financial agreements can be entered into at any time before, during or after a marriage or de facto relationship. There’s a measure of finality about a binding financial agreement – as well as being enforceable, it will generally prevent either person from starting court proceedings. However, despite the name, it’s not as binding as a consent order, and there are circumstances where they can be set aside. Before signing a binding financial agreement, each party must get legal advice.

3. Consent orders

A consent order is a court order made with the consent of everyone involved. Consent orders are enforceable and by signing a draft consent order, it means you agree with the orders and are going to comply with them. Consent orders will be final, although in limited circumstances, the court does have power to set them aside and make new orders.

It’s recommended you get legal advice before signing consent orders.

4. Litigation 

Litigation means that the court will determine how your property and finances will be divided post-separation. While the court can consider your preferences, by law the court cannot make the order unless it considers it to be just and equitable. Litigation may be necessary in some circumstances, but you should think about the financial and emotional costs involved, and how time-consuming it can be.

If you’re exploring litigation, you will absolutely need legal advice.

Whatever your circumstances, whether you’re looking at separation or divorce, or if you need advice about a property settlement, contact GLG Legal Springfield on: (07) 3288 3511 or email: info@springfieldlegals.com.au. We’re here to help you through this time.