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Property Settlement after Divorce or Separation

Here’s What You Should Know

Going through a divorce or separation can be a stressful time for all parties concerned and having to deal with the division of assets and liabilities/debts can be an arduous long-drawn-out process if not handled properly. Property settlements should be dealt with according to the law as informal do-it-yourself settlements, even though it is amicable, can quickly change into something quite complicated if one party changes their mind and seek more assets at a later date, for the simple reason that an informal settlement is not legally binding.

Once the parties have decided to proceed with a property settlement, consultation with a law firm such as property lawyer eastern suburbs will help the parties understand the steps, approximate timeline and process involved to arrive at a fair and just legally binding agreement.

Why Retain Legal Counsel?

It is a myth that retaining the services of a property settlement lawyer can unnecessarily make the process drag on for much longer than it should and that the fees charged by the law firm do not justify the amount of time spent in legal counsel and documentation. Those who have obtained the services of a property settlement lawyer and those who have experienced issues with the inability to enforce an informal agreement that one party refuses to abide by will tell you otherwise.

The parties involved may question the need for obtaining the services of a law firm and paying for counsel when there are several self-help sites and do-it-yourself templates that can be downloaded from the internet to put together an agreeable settlement. There are several drawbacks to this method that needs consideration before a decision is made.

An informal agreement entered into by the parties concerned even with their consent represented by their signatures, dates and witnesses is not legally binding. This leaves the door open for one party to change their mind about the division of assets at a later date causing issues that could have been avoided if they entered into a legally binding agreement with the help of a lawyer.

Parties that object to retaining independent legal advice to save on cost and time may not fully realise all their rights, and what they are entitled to under the law. There is a chance that one party may end up agreeing to a settlement that is not fair. Legal representation can advise each party on their rights and what they are entitled to under the law to arrive at a fair agreement that does not favour one over the other.

The parties entering into an informal agreement may not have thought through the process and future circumstances fully because of a lack of understanding of these scenarios or because it just didn’t occur to them at the time of agreeing to the settlement. Parties agreeing to a settlement need to understand that illness, job redundancy and debt are possibilities that can impact the agreement and unless there are clauses to adequately cover these scenarios, one party may end up on a stronger footing than the other.

Kristofer Conner