It may seem like the exception to the rule but there are many couples these days that manage to separate amicably. The tricky part is ensuring that the agreement reached represents a fair division of the assets so that it can be legally formalized by the court.
If you have been in a relationship for more than a few years it will be inevitable that you and your partner have accumulated assets together. Where you and your former partner have had a child or children together, the care arrangements for that child or children can influence how those assets are to be divided.
If You Can’t Reach Agreement
Nothing causes conflict like arguing over who gets to keep which kitchen appliance. If you and your former partner can’t reach agreement over how to divide your assets, the best way to approach this is through mediation.
Mediation is a process where a neutral third party (the mediator) assists the parties to identify disputed issues, develop options, consider alternatives, and with any luck reach an agreement.
Mediation can be undertaken through community based organisations such as Relationships Australia, through private mediators or through your lawyers.
A family lawyer can write to your former partner and commence a dialogue with a view to helping both parties better understanding eachothers respective positions
A good family lawyer will be able to guide you through the mediation process. They can and
with a view to better understanding your respective positions Provided that both parties are willing to engage in the process, mediation can often yield quite successful results and the parties can walk away with an agreement that they are both happy with.
Doing it yourself (DIY)
Although doing it yourself can sometimes seem like the easiest (and cheapest) option, knowing what needs to be included in the application and proposed minutes of consent can incredibly difficult. The Family Law Act sets out principles and guidelines for the division of relationship assets and this can be a helpful resource, however, if your agreement doesn’t reflect these provisions, even if you both agree to it, your application may be rejected by the court. In these circumstances the DIY option may cost you more in both time and money.
Engaging a Lawyer
If you are considering engaging a family lawyer, it is important to ensure that you find a lawyer who appreciates your desire to remain amicable. A good family lawyer will acknowledge the importance of preserving the relationship past the lawyer’s involvement. This is particularly important where children are involved!
If keeping costs to a minimum is a priority there are certain things that you can do before contacting a lawyer to ensure costs are kept to a minimum, these include:
- Drawing up a list of the assets and liabilities of the relationship;
- Commencing discussions with your former partner as to how the assets of the relationship are to be divided;
- Collating together all of you and your former partner’s financial documents including bank statements, superannuation statements, tax documents, payslips and trust or company documents so that you are well-informed of each of your financial positions.
If you are looking for legal assistance to resolve your property settlement matter, Williams Barristers & Solicitors have both female and male lawyers with extensive experience in family law matters and understand the importance of reaching an amicable resolution.