Lennox Law, Sept 16

The end of a marriage or a de facto relationship can be a time of worry and uncertainty.

Disagreements may arise regarding the division of property that may be difficult to negotiate with your former spouse or de facto partner.

Property disputes that cannot be resolved end-up in either the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court and are usually subject to:

• Protracted delays where it can take some time for your case to be allocated a hearing date by a judge; and

• Significant legal costs.

This can lead to angst, uncertainty and the inability to make a clean break and ‘get on with your life’.

The early resolution of property disputes is therefore of enormous benefit to the affected parties and is encouraged by the Courts.

If you can reach an agreement about your property settlement with your spouse or de facto partner and you have no issues involving children, the best method of formalising your agreement is by applying to the Court for consent orders.  This obviates the need for any pre-action procedures and on-going court proceedings, as consent orders bring a legally binding end to your financial relationship with your former spouse or de facto partner.

A family lawyer can assist with:

• Providing advice on your property rights;

• Negotiating a settlement on your behalf; and

• Preparing an application for consent orders and drafting the orders themselves.

If you cannot reach an agreement, the prospective parties are required to make a genuine effort to resolve their dispute before filing an application at Court.  There are compulsory pre-action procedures for Family Court matters that encourage the parties to resolve their dispute by negotiation or the use of dispute resolution services.

If you need any advice about your rights in a family law property settlement or any family court proceedings, you should talk a family lawyer about your options or call the Family Relationships Advice Line (1800 050 321) about the types of services that may be available to you.

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