How to finalise a divorce settlement
Surviving a separation is hard enough without the added stress of finally reaching an agreement on property settlement but failing to document it properly. We were recently involved in a case where the parties had separated and had reached an agreement for division of a multi-million-dollar property pool. However, the agreement had only been documented on a piece of paper between them… (Not enough!). Seven years later the wife approached the husband looking for a property settlement.
There had been no divorce to finalise the time limit for a property settlement claim, but more importantly, as the agreement had not been documented correctly the issue of property settlement remained open. What followed was a lengthy court case, a further payment by the husband to the wife and a lot of unnecessary stress.
It is crucial that an agreement for property division be documented and documented correctly. This means, either by (a) a consent order (a Court form) or, (b) a Financial Agreement. Not only do these documents provide finality, but they also have the added benefit of any property transfers made pursuant to the documented agreement being exempt from stamp duty (which can be a significant amount) and receiving CGT rollover relief.
Obtaining independent legal advice from a Family Law solicitor should always be the first step before you proceed to document a property settlement agreement.
Resolving a property settlement is a major event in anyone’s life and documenting it should receive the careful treatment it deserves by being prepared by a Family Law solicitor. Many separated couples reach an agreement on how to divide property, when this occurs one of the parties will visit us (a solicitor can only represent one spouse), and seek our assistance in correctly documenting the agreement.
When a couple decides to separate and resolve their financial affairs, their accountant and a family lawyer are critical to the process. Accountants can also discuss with our lawyers some matters which arise following a separation of their client.
For a fixed-cost no-obligation initial consultation contact Michael Lynch Family Lawyers by calling (07) 3221 4300 or emailing to [email protected]