Parties can finalise a property settlement as soon as they separate, however in the case of married parties, they should not leave it longer than 12 months after they are divorced, and in the case of de facto parties not longer than 2 years after they separate.
The process generally involves 4 steps:
- Ascertaining the asset pool and value;
- Considering the contributions of the parties, financial, non-financial and as homemaker and parent;
- Taking into account any financial resources of the parties and various factors relevant to the particular parties, such as who has the primary care of the children, income disparity, and health and ages of the parties;
- That the result is just and equitable.
Property Pre-action Procedures
Generally, there is a requirement for parties to attempt to negotiate a property settlement using dispute resolution services, such as mediation, conciliation or arbitration. There are some exceptions such as in the case of urgency. If negotiations fail, then the parties can have recourse to the Family Court to decide their entitlements.