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Property Settlements

Expert guidance to fair Property Settlements

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Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance

In some cases, spousal maintenance may be warranted. To be eligible, you must demonstrate:

  1. Inability to adequately support yourself, especially if caring for children under 18.

  2. Your spouse's reasonable ability to pay maintenance.

For divorced individuals, spousal maintenance applications must be filed within 12 months of the Divorce Order, with potential permission if late. For de facto relationships, the timeframe is two years from separation, with similar permission considerations.​

Steps in Dividing Property in a Settlement


Value the assets of each party.


Determine if making an order is just and equitable.


Assess contributions made by each party.


Consider factors under s75(2) of the Family Law Act, including child arrangements and income.


Evaluate the proposed order's "just and equitable" nature.

What is involved in going to court for a property settlement?

If an agreement cannot be reached, the matter may proceed to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia.  For divorced individuals, court proceedings must commence within 12 months of the Divorce Order taking effect, with the option of seeking permission if late.  For de facto relationships, proceedings must commence within two years of separation, with similar permission considerations.

What is a Separation Agreement?

If your relationship breaks down, resolving property matters amicably with your partner is possible. However, if an agreement proves elusive, seeking assistance is crucial.

Your family lawyer can guide you through negotiations, and mediation, facilitated by an independent party, is also an option. If an agreement is reached, formalizing it can be done through Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement (Separation Agreement). The latter ensures finality, prevents future claims, and exempts assets transferred under the agreement from stamp duty."

Is the law the same for married and de facto property settlements in NSW?

Yes, the law governing property settlements is uniform, regardless of whether you are married or in a de facto relationship. The only exception is if the separation occurred before 1 March 2009.

A de facto relationship can exist between individuals of different or the same sex, and it can coexist with legal marriage or another de facto relationship.

In the event of a relationship breakdown, you have the option to amicably address the division of shared property with your partner. Alternatively, if reaching an agreement proves challenging, seeking assistance may be necessary. A family lawyer can guide you through the negotiation process, facilitating a settlement with your partner.

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