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How quickly can I get a property settlement after separating?

Family Law: 09 November 2023

Author: Dylan Burch - Our People

I am not sure why, but there seems to be some confusion amongst people that they need to be separated for 12 months before they start the process for a property settlement. This isn’t correct. As I have previously mentioned, you need to wait 12 months after separation to get divorced but not for a property settlement.

What should I start thinking about when separating?

It is an important time to make sure there is good transparency between you and your partner. It is obviously a highly emotional time, and it can be a time when small errors in judgment could potentially make long term problems. What this practically means is:

  1. Don’t transfer money from one bank account to another which your partner/spouse does not have access to;
  2. Don’t blow your savings on a weekend at Crown with your friends or try and back too many winners over the spring carnival;
  3. Don’t try and hide things, it will catch up with you; and
  4. When asked by your spouse/partner or their lawyer for documents or an explanation, provide the details requested (as long as they are reasonable).

Lawyers are trained to look for significant transfers or for new bank account details money is being transferred to and from. It is now nearly impossible to hide money once it has been in a bank account. Also, if you do try and hide things and you get caught (which you likely will) you may lose your credibility and it could ultimately be very costly to your matter.

How can I speed up the process?

One of the big delays in family law matters is when people take extended periods to provide financial disclosure. Make sure you can access online records of most of your bank accounts, share portfolios, superannuation information and any other relevant financial information. If you can’t, it isn’t the end of the world but most of the time these documents will be required to assist in resolving your matter.

Again, as I always say, make sure you listen to the advice of your lawyers and follow their direction. It is important that everyone is on the same page from the outset and that you move forward together smoothly.

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