Property Settlement & Spousal Maintenance Lawyers in Melbourne
If you can agree on how to divide the financial assets of your relationship by negotiating with each other, you do not need to go to court. You therefore have 2 options to do this:
By entering into a binding financial agreement with each other
By drafting and submitting orders by consent to court
However, sometimes you may be faced with an unreasonable ex-spouse who refuses to arrive at a fair settlement. In such instances, you approach court for a judge to determine how the assets of a relationship should be divided.
This can be done by initiating an application to the Federal circuit and family court of Australia.
In this application, you can seek a determination on how your relationship assets should be divided. If you are seeking spousal maintenance you can do so in this application.
You can make an application to court anytime during separation. However, if you have already received your divorce, you have only 12 months from the date of receiving the divorce to bring this application.
Parties to a De facto relationship can only bring this application within 24 months of the breakdown of their relationship.
At MJ Legal, we can assist you in negotiating with your ex-spouse. If negotiations fail, our lawyers will provide you with robust representation at Court.
Contested Property Litigation
If you and your ex-partner cannot reach an agreement in relation to division of property, you can make an application to Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia requesting a property settlement order.
The court will make decisions on how to divide assets based on the parties individual circumstances and what is fair and reasonable.
Initiating a property order requires you to file applications, affidavits and supporting documents with court.
Making court applications can be a complicated process, if your applications are inaccurate you may end up having to pay the cost of litigation incurred by the other party.
At MJ Legal, we have dealt with numerous complex litigated property matters and have achieved highly favorable outcomes for our clients.
Spousal maintenance is the financial support paid by one partner to their ex-spouse if they are unable to support themselves.
According to Australian family law, one party has an obligation to support the other party if their personal assets and income are not adequate to finance their daily expenses following a divorce.
The financial positions and the needs of both parties will be taken into consideration before a spousal maintenance order is granted.
You can make an application only addressing spousal maintenance or apply for spousal maintenance through your property application.
MJ Legal can assist you in calculating any spousal maintenance that maybe owed to you and in making your spousal maintenance application or finding defense if you are not in a position to make spousal maintenance payments.
Initiate your property settlement with MJ Legal
Property settlements out of courts
Binding financial agreement (BFA)
If you and your ex-partner have reached an agreement about property, you can enter into a BFA.
You and your ex-partner should obtain legal advice from two separate lawyers prior to having a BFA in place.
Both parties need to disclose all their assets, liabilities and financial resources before entering into a BFA.
If you and your ex-partner have reached an agreement about your property and want to formalize it through courts, you can enter into a consent order.
One lawyer can draft the consent orders on behalf of you and your ex-partner, if both parties agree.
Both parties making full disclosures of all their assets, liabilities and other financial resources is a must prior to drafting consent orders.
Spousal maintenance calculator
Although various different spousal maintenance calculators are used to obtain an approximation of your entitlements, there is no standard spousal maintenance calculator.
The court will pay attention to the needs of the applicant and the financial capacity of the respondent to pay spousal maintenance. Few factors taken into consideration by court when deciding on spousal maintenance are:
Age and health of the parties
Income, property, and financial resources
Both party's ability to work
What is a suitable standard of living and
If the marriage has affected your ability to earn an income
The availability of children under 18 years of age
This is a common misconception.
Property divisions are not always split on a 50/50 basis, unless you and your ex-partner have an agreement to do so either through a BFA or a consent order.
If negotiations between you and your ex-partner fails and you are making a property application to court, there are certain factors that judges would consider prior to making a property order such as:
- Both financial and non-financial contributions made by the parties
- Length of the relationship
- Age and health of the parties
- Future needs of both parties
If you and your ex-partner can reach an agreement in relation to the division of marital property, you have two options.
1. Binding financial agreement
2. Consent orders
If negotiations between the parties fail, one party can initiate a property application in the Federal circuit and Family Court of Australia.
If you are divorced, you have 12 months from the date of obtaining the divorce to bring a property claim against your ex-partner.
A property settlement agreement is a written agreement between you and your ex-partner outlining the division of property. This agreement is solely based on the mutual agreement of the parties.
You can have a property settlement agreement before marriage, during marriage and after separation or divorce.
If you and your ex-partner are agreeable, you can have either 1 of the 2 following property settlement agreements in place:
- Binding financial agreement- which is a mutual agreement entered into by the parties outlining the treatment of property, both independently and jointly owned following separation or divorce. It is a mandatory requirement to receive Independent Legal Advice prior to entering into a BFA.
- Consent orders- proposed orders drafted in relation to division of property on the mutual agreement of the parties and sent to the court for formalization.