The breakdown of a long-term relationship or marriage is an emotionally difficult time for most. Not only are the affected parties dealing with the loss of a previously significant other, they are also having to enter into the process of separating finances and negotiating how the children are to be cared for (if there are any).
Often, the parties to a broken-down relationship are unaware of what they should have prepared in order to properly and effectively enter into property settlement negotiations.
There is generally more to a property settlement than people think. Not only are the house and cars to be distributed between the parties, all other assets of value accrued during the relationship whether in joint or sole names need to be dealt with.
Before entering into negotiations regarding relationship property, some factors parties should consider are:
- All assets, liabilities and financial resources of both parties. It is important to take inventory of all current and future assets (as well as debts) in both party’s sole name or in joint names as these items will form the property pool for division. This includes every item from real property, to bank accounts, cars, boats, motorcycles, trailers, credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, superannuation, windfalls etc.
- If there is real property whether that property is in joint names or owned as tenants in common. These two ways of owning real property may sound similar but can have differing implications on the parties to a relationship.
- Joint bank accounts (as well as other liquid assets) and whether either party is likely to access these accounts post-separation for their own benefit.
- Both parties Wills, Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardian which may be affected by the separation or divorce. It is likely that these documents will need to be amended or redrafted.
- Superannuation Binding Death Nominations and whether an update to the beneficiaries of the nomination may be required.
- Whether there are shares in private companies which need to be dealt with.
- Whether either party is the beneficiary of a trust.
- Spousal maintenance and whether one party cannot meet their weekly expenses whilst the other party earns a significantly higher income.
In accordance with the Family Law Rules, each party is to disclose all assets, liabilities and superannuation to the other prior to entering into negotiations and reaching an agreement.
If you have recently separated and require assistance to enter into meaningful negotiations regarding the property of your relationship, please contact our expert team of Family Lawyers here at Baker Love Lawyers.