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Why you should be Proactive in your Property Settlement

As a family law solicitor, you see it time and again, separated couples can’t reach agreement on their property matters so they put it off, or they reach agreement but don’t formalise it properly.  Here’s just a few reasons you should be proactive when dealing with a property settlement.

Time Limits

You have 12 months from the date of divorce, or 2 years from the date of separation if you were in a de-facto relationship, to bring a claim for property settlement in Court. If you leave it too long, you might lose your right to a fair property settlement.

Protecting Your Future Assets

If you do not get formally divorced, the 12 month period never begins and so assets acquired post-separation, even years into the future, may form part of the ‘property pool’ to be divided between you and your ex-spouse.  This could include real estate since purchased or an inheritance.  For de-facto couples, a lot can change in the two years following separation.

The Risk of Handshake Agreements

Verbal agreements, and even written agreements if not done properly, will not necessarily prevent a property settlement claim being made by your ex-spouse.  Having your settlement recorded correctly, whether by way of an Application for Consent Orders at Court or a private Financial Agreement is extremely important in preventing any further claim and will provide you each with certainty that any future assets and income will be protected from the other.

Property settlements may not always be straight forward and we recommend you get advice at the earliest possible opportunity about your rights and entitlements.

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