3 Essential Questions about Property Settlements QLD

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When a relationship breaks down, parties are faced with the difficult task of determining how to divide their assets and liabilities. This can be done by agreement, or with the help of the court. 

Property settlements can be complex and complicated, and we recommend engaging a skilful lawyer to help you to navigate this process.

Property Settlements in QLD are governed by the Family Law Act 1975

How are the Assets and Liabilities Identified and Valued in Property Settlements QLD?

The first step for property settlements in QLD (Queensland) is to identify and value the assets and liabilities in the property pool.  This involves both parties providing financial disclosure of the value of their assets and liabilities in order to get a thorough understanding of both parties’ financial situation.

Identification of Assets and Liabilities

When determining the value of the property pool, the assets and liabilities of both individuals will be considered.  This applies regardless of whether they were acquired before or during the course of the relationship.  

Assets can include:

  • Real estate, including family homes, investment properties, or holiday houses
  • Bank accounts and cash
  • Shares, bonds, or other investments
  • Superannuation
  • Business interests
  • Vehicles, including cars, boats, or motorbikes
  • Jewellery, artworks, or other valuable items
  • Future financial resources, like inheritances, if they are imminent and their value can be determined

Read more: The Fate of Your Superannuation Upon Death

Liabilities, on the other hand, encompass all debts and financial obligations, such as:

  • Mortgages on properties
  • Personal loans or car loans
  • Credit card debts
  • Business debts
  • Tax liabilities

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Valuation of Assets and Liabilities

Once all the assets and liabilities have been identified, they must be valued correctly. Some things have clear values, like money in a bank account or money owed on a credit card. But some assets, like real estate, businesses, and retirement funds, may need the help of a professional valuer or a financial expert to figure out how much they are worth.

The property will be valued in the current market to determine it’s worth, and valuers will often look to comparable properties when completing the valuation report.

In some instances, a person’s pension may need to be valued, particularly if it includes “defined benefit” plans.       

Businesses will also need to be valued for the purpose of property settlements, and this often involves reviewing financial statements, determining the business assets and valuing the businesses’ good will.  This is a complicated process and requires the assistance of a skilled valuer.

Once all assets and liabilities have been identified and valued, they are put into a balance sheet. This creates a clear financial picture that can be used for property settlements negotiations, or court proceedings.

It is important for both parties to provide accurate information regarding their assets and liabilities as both parties have a duty to provide full and frank financial disclosure.  In some cases, there can be legal consequences, such as cost orders, if parties actively attempt to mislead the court, or fail to provide the documents requested. 

Do You Need a Lawyer in Navigating Property Settlements?

Given the complexity of property settlements, it is recommended that you hire a lawyer to assist you, as this will ensure that you achieve a property settlement that is just and equitable. After a relationship ends, figuring out how to split the property pool can be challenging, and a skilled family lawyer can help guide you through this process.

Reasons to Hire Family Lawyer

Family lawyers are specialised in handling complex property settlements.  An experienced family lawyer can help you determine your rights, responsibilities, and possible outcomes based on your situation. They can also help you through the process and give you advice that is right for you.

Identification and Valuation of Assets and Liabilities

A family lawyer can help you to identify the assets and liabilities in the property pool as well as work with valuers to determine their true value; this is an essential step in QLD property settlements.  If they need to, they can also engage specialised professional valuers to ensure that, pensions, businesses, and other important assets are valued correctly.

Negotiation and Mediation

Skilled lawyers negotiate on your behalf and try to reach the best possible agreement. They can also assist in mediation, which is a way to solve problems without going to court by encouraging open communication and compromise.

If you can come to a deal, your lawyer can help you draft a Consent Order or a Binding Financial Agreement, which are enforceable documents that protect you from future claims.

Court Representation

If you can’t agree and have to go to court, your lawyer will be able to assist you by drafting the required court documents and advocating on your behalf.

It is possible to be self-represented during a court property settlement, but it is recommended that you engage a lawyer to help you navigate this process.  The is a lot of legal jargon, and it can be very emotionally draining, so getting the support you need is important.

Client Assistance: Ex-husband Seeks 70/30 Split, Wife to Have Full Custody of 5 Kids

In a high-net-worth divorce case, our client, the wife, was facing a proposed 70/30 property split. Her husband claimed that as the majority of their financial resources were tied to his business, he deserved a larger share. Our client, set to have full custody of the children, rightly contested this proposal.

We meticulous identified and valued all the assets in the property pool, ensuring all were accounted for in the property settlements in QLD. We placed particular emphasis on the family home and other assets that were crucial to our client and her children’s wellbeing.

Our advocacy centred on the future needs of our client and her children, highlighting the cost of their care and maintenance. We effectively demonstrated that the proposed split was not only unfair but did not account for the children’s needs.

Through skilled negotiation, we successfully advocated for a more balanced property settlement. This high-stakes case highlights our dedication to securing just outcomes in property settlements in Queensland, proving the profound difference skilled legal counsel can make.

What Happens When Neither Party Wants to Settle?

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through negotiations and mediation, then the parties may need to go to the court to determine the property settlements.   Here’s what you can expect if you are required to go to court:

Court Proceedings

Either party can apply for an Order from the court to divide the property pool.  It is important to note that the application must be made within the limitation periods: 12 months from the date of the divorce order, and within 2 years of the date of separation for de facto couples.

Court-Ordered Mediation

Once proceedings have commenced, the court may order that the parties participate in a mediation to attempt to resolve the dispute without the court’s involvement.  This is referred to as “court-ordered mediation”. 

Preparing for a Hearing

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, then the matter will proceed to a hearing.   Both parties will be required to file court documents in preparation, and this may include an affidavit which outlines the history of the relationship, both parties financial and non-financial contributions, as well as any future needs of either party. 

Court Hearing

At the hearing, the parties will present arguments to the court in support of their position and the orders they are seeking.  After reviewing all the evidence, the court will make a decision based on what they consider to be fair and equitable in the circumstances.

Court Order

The court then makes an order outlining how the property pool will be split. A Court Order is legally binding on the parties and failure to comply with the Orders can have serious legal consequences.

In court-ordered property settlements, the court, not the people involved, decides what will happen. Since going to court can take a long time, cost a lot of money, and be stressful, it’s usually seen as a last resort. It’s usually best for everyone to try to reach an agreement outside of court.

Property settlements can be very confusing, and it isn’t easy to navigate this process alone which is why we strongly recommend engaging a lawyer to ensure your interests are protected, and the outcome is as fair as possible.

Walker Pender Group can guide you through the complex process of Property Settlements in QLD. Our expert legal team specializes in property settlements, ensuring your rights are protected and your interests are advocated. Don’t tackle this alone. Reach out to Walker Pender Group today and secure your future.

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