I’m Exhausted After the Divorce – Can the Settlement Wait?
Separation and divorce can be draining, both emotionally and financially. You may feel like you have filled out enough forms and filed enough paperwork to last a lifetime, but unless you got it out of the way early on, you will still have the property settlement to deal with. For many people, the idea of going straight back to the lawyers to sort out their financial affairs after a divorce is overwhelming. But while you can wait for a little while, it’s important not to leave it too long.
Once your divorce has been granted, you have 12 months to make an application for a property settlement or spousal support. If you have not settled between yourselves or filed an application to the family court after that time, you may not have any legal avenue to get your share of any assets or property.
If you wait before finalising your financial affairs it can lead to other problems, especially if one person’s income changes dramatically in the year after the divorce, or if one party is wasting or concealing assets. The sooner you can have your affairs arranged on a sound legal footing, the easier and more straightforward it is likely to be.
Will I have to go to court to finalise the property settlement?
If you and your ex-partner can agree on a division of the property, you will not necessarily need to go to court. It is possible, but not advisable, to make an informal agreement between you and settle the matter without any legal support. This can have a number of disadvantages, as it is not legally binding which means that either partner can change the settlement, or ask for maintenance or extra support in the future.
An agreement can be made legally enforceable if you make a legally binding financial agreement or get a consent order made by the court.
A financial agreement is a good option if you want to avoid going to court and you are able to agree between yourselves on the division of property and assets. An agreement can be made before your divorce and it is a written document that states how you want your property to be divided. In order to be legally enforceable, a financial agreement needs to be signed by both parties and their lawyers need to also verify that they have both sought independent legal advice.
In the event that you can’t agree or you believe that your ex-partner is trying to conceal assets from you, there are family dispute resolution services available that can be helpful. If this doesn’t work, then court may be your best option.
What can be included in a property settlement?
Many people aren’t aware of the full scope of what can be included in a property settlement and this can leave them disadvantaged.
The reason why property settlements can be so complex is that they take into consideration not only assets like real estate and vehicles, but also investments, insurance policies, shares, and superannuation. They can also take debts into account, including mortgages and credit card debts, to ensure that everything is distributed fairly.
Even though you may be overwhelmed and exhausted by a recent divorce, it is important that you get your property settlement finalised sooner rather than later, especially if you are filing a court application. If you leave it too long, you may be disadvantaged or end up having to rush through what should be a considered and thoroughly thought out division of property.
Legal advice is always recommended when you are dividing your assets. If you need any help with your property settlement or divorce, contact one of our experienced family lawyers today.