Family & Divorce

The Property Settlement Court Process

Going to court can be very stressful, time consuming and expensive, understanding the process and how to manage it can help to alleviate some of the associated stress and ensure you can focus on achieving a positive outcome, writes TGB Family Law Partner Wendy Barry.

A common question throughout the court process is ‘what happens next?’, the infographic below, prepared by the Tindall Gask Bentley family law team, outlines the order of steps taken from the initial preparation of the appropriate documents, through to judgement and final orders in the property settlement court process.

Infographic, Family Law, Property Settlement Court ProcessClick here to download this infographic. 

There are a number of steps in this process, however, it is important to highlight that at any stage an agreement can be reached by way of Consent Orders. Reference to this infographic will provide insight into all the relevant steps and give you a better understanding of the step-by-step nature of the process.

If you have been served with an application by your former partner for a property settlement you should immediately seek advice about what will be required of you. There are a number of risks associated with inaction at this point and you should always participate actively in the process in order to ensure your entitlements are protected in the long-term. Failing to act promptly could result in a compromised outcome, which may impact your financial position long into the future.

The initial stages of preparation for the court process are fundamental to the outcome and a significant amount of work will go into this stage. All relevant evidence will be gathered and you will ‘build’ your case.

Building your case will require the consideration of a number of factors, for example, your combined asset pool.  Some of the following points you may not have considered, it is important to discuss them with your lawyer.

– How your superannuation will be treated;

– How to prevent asset erosion;

– Whether you are eligible for or may be required to pay spousal maintenance;

– The implications of divorce on property settlement and/or spousal maintenance entitlements/obligations;

From this point forward the process will include a number of opportunities to reach a settlement, your lawyer will guide you through these stages and advise you on the best course of action. If there is an ongoing inability to reach an agreement the matter will proceed to trial. At trial the judicial officer will hear evidence from both sides and then decide on a final order. This Court Order will be legally binding and therefore enforceable by law.

There is no way to predict how the judicial officer will ultimately decide.  For this reason it is vital to prepare early and have a lawyer assist you in the preparation of all materials and the consideration of settlement offers.

At TGB our experienced family law team are able to guide you through the series of court events and the associated work (including preparation of legal documents) at the same time supporting you to relieve the stress associated with property settlement proceedings.

Seeking legal advice does not only ensure your long-term entitlements are protected, it also provides peace of mind during a difficult process.

For further information or assistance contact the experienced TGB family law team at your nearest location.