The Family Law Act now covers marriage, de facto and same sex de facto relationships.
Most proceedings are conducted in the Federal Circuit Court. More complex matters are handled by the Family Court of Australia.
Married couples do not have to obtain a Divorce Order before settling their property matter. If you have divorced and have not resolved your property settlement, the Family Law Act requires that you commence property settlement proceedings within 12 months of the Divorce becoming final.
De facto couples must start proceedings within two years of separating.
Married couples can apply for a Divorce Order 12 months after you finally separate.
There are three principal ways of recording a property settlement:
- An Application for Consent Orders, signed by both parties and filed with the Family Court. This does not require either party to attend Court;
- A Binding Financial Agreement;
- Initiating proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court or the Family Court. This option is the last resort, if the parties cannot reach a negotiated settlement.
Courts currently adopt the following 4 step process in deciding an appropriate division of property:
- Identifying the asset pool (including all superannuation interests)
- Examination of the contributions of the parties to the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of these assets (including financial and non-financial contributions and the contributions of each party in their role of parent and home maker)
- Consideration of a number of specific criteria relating to the future needs of the parties (Click the following coloured tab for further information: Sections 72, 74 ,75 and 79 of the Family Law Act)
- Ensuring that the final decision made is just and equitable
Please consider reading the Family Court brochure “Marriage, Families and Separation” by using the following link: Marriage, Families & Separation Brochure