After separation, you have certain rights and obligations regarding your finances and property. We’ll help you work through this important stage of the separation process. You may have a lot of questions about your entitlements as well as your obligations. Our family lawyers are here to help.

In some property and financial settlement matters, we can offer deferred payment options to help ease the burden of your legal fees. Ask your lawyer about this in your free initial consultation. 

Things to consider

When you apply for a property settlement after divorce or separation, you will need to disclose your assets and liabilities. The court will also usually consider the following factors when determining a property settlement:

  • the financial contributions of both parties to the assets of the relationship
  • the non-financial contributions of both parties to the relationship
  • the contribution of both parties as a homemaker and/or parent
  • the future needs of both parties

Make a free initial appointment to speak confidentially with one of our family lawyers in Cairns about getting a fair property settlement without having to go to court.

Time Limits

There are certain time limits that apply for property settlement matters. You must apply to the court for a property settlement within the below time limits:

  • De Facto Relationships - you must file for an application in the court within two years of the date of separation
  • Divorced - you must file for an application within 12 months of the date of divorce
  • Married but separated (not yet divorced) - there is no time limit to apply for a property settlement

If you are unsure whether you are within the time limits, speak to a family lawyer in Cairns today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Court consider in a property settlement?

In the case of a property settlement, the Court will consider the current assets, liabilities and financial resources of the parties. They will also consider the contributions each person has made to the property pool (both financial and non-financial) together with the future needs of each person, such as the financial circumstances, accessibility to pensions and government benefits and care for another child or person.

How do you negotiate a house settlement?

To ensure the best interests for you and your family are maintained, make sure you use an expert family lawyer who will help guide you through the negotiations. Seeking the right legal advice is the most secure way to avoid expensive mistakes and to ensure that strict deadlines involved in property settlements are adhered to.

Do all separating couples need a property settlement?

It is vital that all financial ties with your former spouse are finalised as soon as possible. When a property settlement is considered by the Court, they will consider the current value of any assets and liabilities. This means that any assets acquired after the separation are considered.

Is my ex-partner entitled to half my house?

It’s a myth that assets are split 50/50 when a couple separates as many factors are considered when determining the property settlement. The Family Law Act sets out the factors for consideration, which is why it is important to seek expert advice from a family lawyer to ensure your best interests are maintained.

Does length of marriage affect a property settlement?

The short answer is, yes. The shorter the marriage, or relationship, the closer the Courts will consider the initial contributions and the financial contributions during the marriage. Property settlement outcomes are based on many factors and therefore it is important to speak to an expert family lawyer.

We have pets – do they count as property?

Whilst pets are part of many families in Australia, they are considered as property by the Courts and not dealt with in the same way as children. To establish who gets to keep the animal, the first step is to determine the actual owner. Factors to consider when working through this are who bought the pet, who feeds the pet and takes it to the vet, whose name is it registered and insured under?

Is Superannuation counted as property?

Yes it is, however, it will be treated differently to other assets (such as furniture or your house) as superannuation cannot be accessed until you meet the eligibility requirements of the superannuation fund.

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