Family & Divorce

How long will my property settlement take?

This is a burning question for all those who have separated and need to finalise their property settlement. We offer these tips to help you transition from your first inquiry through to finalisation.

Do you and your former partner have an agreement about the terms of your property settlement or do you need to negotiate one?

If you are agreed AND your agreement covers all relevant items and issues, let us wave you on to the fast track to finalising your property settlement.  We’ll still need to talk about financial disclosure and confirm your agreement appropriately meets your needs and addresses your circumstances, but agreement always helps progress.

A word of caution though – sometimes people think an agreement exists but there are items or issues that have not been factored in.  This is probably the orange traffic light zone.  If there are issues to be addressed and they are complex, then it might take some additional time to resolve, or if the issues are minor, you might be in for only a short detour before resuming on the resolution track.

Alternatively, if you need to embark on negotiations to reach agreement, the time taken will depend on how willing you and your partner are to participate in negotiations, whether you both take a solution-focused approach and whether you action the legal advice you are given.

Disclosure … just get it done!

A surprisingly time-consuming factor can be the financial disclosure process, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Disclosure requires both parties to exchange all financial documents relevant to property settlement (think tax returns, pay slips, bank statements, superannuation statements, trust deeds and loan statements for example).

If each person is quick to action this and you each gather your financial information so it can be promptly forwarded to the other side, this will go a looooong way towards progressing your matter in a timely manner.

Drawing up the settlement agreement is the easy bit, right?

Well, that depends.  A settlement document that properly protects your interests and financial future is not likely to be a two-page document.  Your settlement documents, likely to be two individual documents, might be anywhere from 20 to 50 pages in length.

As these documents set out each person’s financial information, obligations and entitlements, a thorough and detailed approach is required to produce documents that properly protect your interests.

This may take longer than you initially expect but is the investment you require to secure a settlement outcome that is legally compliant, protects your financial future and accurately finalises your property settlement.

TGB’s Family Law Team has the technical knowledge and practical perspective required to move your property settlement from limbo to legally binding.  Let’s work together to get you on the fast track to final settlement.

Get in touch

TGB’s friendly family lawyers in South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland are always happy to answer any of your questions relating to property settlement, or any other aspect of separation and divorce.

The author, Carissa Miller, is a Senior Associate in our Port Lincoln office who specialises in family law. If you would like to discuss your property settlement or other family law issues further, please get in touch with Carissa at (08) 8682 1488 or