Why you need a Family Lawyer for a Property SettlementAug 20, 2018 10:00:00 AM
Working with a family lawyer can help ease the burden. All family lawyers have been through rigorous training and have years of experience dealing with separation and divorce settlements, meaning they can help you navigate the waters of a separation.
A lawyer can also see things more clearly and objectively, without the emotion of someone involved in the separation. They can point out the best steps to take to achieve the fair outcome you want.
What is a property settlement?
In almost all cases of separating couples in Australia, they have property and assets that need to be allocated. This covers items such as houses, cars and jewellery as well as businesses and superannuation. It also includes debts, such as mortgages and credit cards.
In an ideal world, partners would be able to allocate these assets fairly. However, with emotions running high and differing relationship dynamics, this often leads to one or both parties feeling unsatisfied with the outcome.
Informal property arrangements can cause problems in the future. As these agreements are not legally binding, either party can make a claim through court at a later date. There can also be charges and fees associated with moving property if it has not been court-ordered.
Property settlements in court
Court cases are seen as a last resort by many, however they can be a viable alternative for some couples.
Depending on your situation, you can end up in court after other attempts at settlement have failed. You may have refused alternatives or come to a decision that requires court involvement.
Court cases have the drawback that they can be costly, which can reduce the total assets you have left to divide. However, there are times when getting to court quickly can be vital for getting the outcome you want.
In any court case, having a lawyer present is a significant advantage, as knowing the law can make a huge difference in the outcome of a case. Deciding to represent yourself and go up against your partner's lawyer alone could be a mistake that costs you significantly.
Property settlement alternatives to court cases
Court cases are a common way to solve asset settlement, although they are not the only way. The three prominent methods that can reach an outcome quicker with less expense are negotiation, mediation and arbitration.
- Negotiation is often thought to be the simplest. In negotiation, the two parties decide between themselves (often with the help of lawyers) who gets what. This can be done face-to-face, as a four-way meeting, or with the two lawyers communicating between one another.
- Mediation of matters brings in a third neutral party. The mediator speaks with the two parties and their representatives to work out a fair outcome. This can be useful when there are certain items that are causing sticking points in a negotiation, as the mediator will help the parties to decide who gets what.
- Arbitration is less common in Australia, however it is becoming more prominent. It is also widely used in the UK. This is similar to a court case, with an arbitrator working like a judge and lawyers presenting their cases for consideration.
The benefits of a lawyer
A family lawyer can help you from the moment you decide to take steps to achieve a settlement. Their advice can shape the direction you take with your separation, helping you to achieve the outcomes that are most important.
In many cases – whether you go to court or use an alternative method – having a lawyer on hand can make a huge difference to the result you get.
To find out more about divorce and asset settlement, download our free property settlement ebook: Know Your Rights When Dividing Property Assets.