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  • Writer's pictureTemara Willis

Financial settlement with your ex-partner. What you need to know!

A 'Property settlement' or 'Financial settlement' is the process of dividing you and your ex-partner's assets and liabilities. It includes (but is not limited to) cars, furniture, jewellery, shares, credit card debts, money and superannuation. It doesn't matter who's name the asset or liability is in. Your settlement can be reached in a few different ways by;

Mutual Agreement – you and your ex-partner, can decide between the both of you who should get what without the involvement of a third party. If you agree on dividing your assets, you don't need to muddy the waters with outside representation.

Mediation - this is a good option when you can't agree on how to divide your assets and liabilities. Instead of arguing, you think an external professional's support is needed, with their role being one that supports you both in an unbiased way. A mediator provides the framework for a balanced and productive discussion on dividing your property.

Lawyers - they are best placed when needing legal advice on what you might be entitled to before starting mediation, so you are best set with the information you need. Alternatively, they can be called upon if mediation was unsuccessful or the communication with your ex-partner has completely broken down.

Family Law Court - your last resort and only available if you cannot settle the matter through mediation or your lawyer.

Once you have reached an agreement, there are a few ways to make your settlement legally binding.

A Binding Financial Agreement is prepared by a family lawyer and needs to demonstrate that you have both received independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement. If you want to divide your assets and liabilities outside the Family Court, you might consider this option.

A Consent Order is when you and your ex-partner have reached an agreement, and you submit it to the Family Court for the court to 'seal' or make the order. For Consent Orders to be endorsed, the court must be satisfied that the settlement is 'just and equitable.'

A Court Order is made by a judge as to the judgement after a court hearing or trial, concluding the settlement. This is a costly and time-consuming process. Most cases will settle before this stage is reached.

Making your agreement legally binding in either of these three ways ensures that you are protected from future claims. That is as long as you have complied with full disclosure.

Call Adelaide Family Mediation if you need support mediating a settlement agreement.

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