Separating from a former partner means also separating your financial affairs. For some, this is relatively straight forward and painless. For others, it can be quite difficult.
No matter how big or small your property pool, when you separate you need to protect your assets now and for the future. The longer you leave the matter unresolved, the more complicated your matter is likely to become, and there may be time limitations in place which, if exceeded, may limit your ability to claim or result in further and unnecessary costs.
You may have heard other people referring to property settlements as a 50/50 or 60/40 split, for example. It’s important to note that you will not automatically receive 50%. What your entitlement may be assessed as is dependent on several factors which will need to be taken into consideration regardless of whether you reach an agreement by consent with the other party, or whether your matter proceeds before a Court.
The only recognised way to document your agreement is by way of Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement. We can advise you as to which method we believe is most suitable to you and your circumstances. If your agreement is not properly documented, your assets may not be adequately protected. We strongly recommend against signing any document without first obtaining legal advice.
How to prepare for your appointment on your property matters
One of the first things we will do together is to work out what is in your property pool. Prior to your appointment, we’ll send you an instruction sheet that will prompt you to think about what assets and liabilities you own jointly, and separately. Come prepared to your appointment with details. It’s ok if you don’t know the exact numbers, or if you don’t know what your partner owns – they will be required to disclose that information as your matter progresses.
You will also have been provided with a disclosure checklist prior to your appointment. This lists the various documents you need to collate and disclose to the other party. The more of this you organise prior to your appointment with us, the easier it will be for us to provide you with preliminary advice regarding your entitlements.
Come prepared to answer the following questions:
- What did you and your former partner bring into the relationship when you first commenced living together?
- What did each of you contribute financially throughout the relationship? Think about each of your employment histories; the wages you earned; redundancies or inheritances that may have been received and where those funds were applied.
- What did each of you contribute non-financially throughout the relationship? For example, who was responsible for the homemaker duties? If you have children, who was primarily responsible for their care?
- Think about your ongoing future needs – is one party significantly older than the other? Do either of you have health concerns that require ongoing treatment or impact your ability to work? After separation, who will have primary care of the kids? Does one party earn significantly more than the other?
- If you have been separated for some time, we will also want to know what your financial arrangements have been. Who is paying the bills? Has anything been sold?
During your appointment, you may also receive a ‘to do list’ including a list of documentation you need to collect for us and other enquiries or steps you may need to take. You should walk away from the appointment with a general advice and understanding of your entitlements, and any interim matters that may need attention.
Book a consultation with Vanessa and determine what’s involved.
Some helpful resources for this stage: