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Property Settlement versus Divorce – What’s the difference?

When you think of property settlement, you might think of the buying and selling of property. In family law, a property settlement is the term used to describe the division of assets and liabilities after the breakdown of a relationship.

A property settlement involves laying bare all of the assets and liabilities each party has and negotiating to come to a just and equitable agreement as to division. Many factors play a role in how the division is decided, such as: care of children; future needs; financial and non-financial contributions; length of relationship; to name a few.

A divorce, on the other hand, is the legal ending of a marriage. Parties need to be separated for 12 months before applying for divorce, and the only ground for divorce in Australia is that there is no reasonable chance the parties will recommence their relationship. The granting of a divorce does not determine any property divisions or parenting arrangements; it is simply the legal recognition that the marriage has ended.

Once a divorce has been granted, parties only have 12 months to finalise their property settlement matters if they seek to have a Court determine the division. For this reason, Mullane & Lindsay Solicitors generally recommends the property division either be completed or well underway, before commencing the divorce process.

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Attribution: Written By Sally-Anne Todkill, Legal Assistant (Paralegal) to Ashleigh John (Director)

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