We understand the financial distress and inequity that often follow separation. We can provide legal advice to assist you.
In Western Australia, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) deals with protecting the rights of parties who have been married.
The law relating to the property of de facto partners is very similar to the law relating to the property of parties to a marriage. There are differences in regard to the treatment of superannuation and time limits. The Family Court Act 1997 (WA) deals with protecting the rights of parties who have lived together in a de facto relationship for at least 2 years and have separated after 1 December 2002.
In making a decision about division of property, the Court goes through several steps and, pursuant to Section 79, the Court uses a 3-step process:
- Ascertaining the net asset property pool;
- Determining what contributions have been made by each party to that property pool. These may include financial contributions, non-financial contributions (such as unpaid work), and contributions to the welfare of the family; and
- Determining whether any adjustment should be made to the division of the property pool as a result of the relative contributions of the parties.
Pursuant to Section 75(2), the Court then can make further adjustments to the division of the property pool, paying regard to such factors as:
- The respective ages and health of each of the parties;
- Whether either party has the care of children of the marriage;
- Whether the other party pays child support; and
- The respective earning capacities, income and financial resources of each of the parties.
A property settlement does not necessarily mean you need to attend Court.
We understand you want to keep your legal fees to a minimum when attempting to resolve your financial affairs.
Following separation, assets and liabilities accumulated during a marriage or de facto relationship are divided in a manner that is deemed “just and equitable”. This presumption does not mean an equal division will be the result.
Preservation of the net asset pool is critical. Property matters can sometimes involve assets that were disposed of or further encumbered by one spouse to the detriment of the other. In some cases one spouse hides assets from the other over a period of time. In other cases the issues can require the help of a Single Expert Witness for valuation purposes including such situations as where the parties own one or more business entitles.
In some instances, splitting superannuation can be a useful means to enable a settlement.
These issues require the skill of an experienced solicitor and sometimes litigation due to the amounts in controversy. We will assist you at every stage of the process and seek spousal maintenance and litigation funding where appropriate.
We will also make every effort to keep your matter out of Court. However, some matters require the Court to oversee and monitor progress towards a just and equitable settlement.
At WA Family Legal, we will help you by:
- Providing initial comprehensive advice in relation to all aspects of your property matter, including your likely legal costs going forward;
- Writing a pre-action letter and engaging in meaningful negotiations in relation to resolving your property matter by way of a Form 11 Application for Consent Orders;
- Guiding you to the most cost-effective and appropriate means of reaching a resolution to your property matter whether it be by way of:
- Pre-action procedure;
- Negotiation and Mediation;
- Form 11 Application for Consent Orders;
- Binding Financial Agreement; or
- Initiating Court proceedings and representing you at Court.