The Family Court has the jurisdiction to hear matters that relate to property & finance. For families that have gone through a separation and agreed to a parenting plan, it is often tricky deciding what to do next with the family home. The current COVID-19 pandemic has made this issue even more difficult due to the Victorian governments’ lockdown orders forcing businesses to reduce their operating capacity.
The most effective way to divide the family home is to create an agreement between parties. These agreements can be daunting, and many parties do not know where to begin. The Family Court has listed several factors which parties can refer to which help in the decision-making process.
The factors are:
- working out what you’ve got and what you owe, that is your assets and debts and what they are worth;
- looking at the direct financial contributions by each party to the marriage or de facto relationship such as wage and salary earnings;
- looking at indirect financial contributions by each party such as gifts and inheritances from families;
- looking at the non-financial contributions to the marriage or de facto relationship such as caring for children and homemaking, and
- future requirements – a court will take into account things like age, health, financial resources, care of children and ability to earn.
The Family Court can provide dispute resolution services (funded by the Australian Government) which are an affordable and often quick option for resolving disputes if parties cannot reach an agreement.
The aim of the service is that both parties come out of a dispute resolution feeling satisfied that they have achieved what they wanted whilst maintaining a healthy relationship with their partner.
If the resolution fails; parties can apply to a court for financial orders, including orders relating to the division of property and payment of spouse or defector partner maintenance.
To help mitigate loss and work towards a favourable outcome, Parties should seek legal advice before applying to the court for any orders. If parties were married, applications for property adjustment must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final.
If you want to finalise a property settlement following separation, speak to someone from Midwinters Lawyers’ experienced Family Law team today.