Divorce property settlements can be nasty things. Tensions are often high following a divorce or separation amongst former couples, and this is only exacerbated by the division of the former couple’s property pool and assets.
The purpose of this article is to provide information on the most commonly asked questions revolving around divorce property settlements.
The Initial Cost Of Divorce Property Settlements
An application for divorce has a filing fee of $930 as of March 2021 – Please note that this figure incrementally increases every year.
A reduced fee of $310 is possible in the following instances:
- Where you hold certain government concession cards
- When you are experiencing financial hardship
If your application for divorce is joint, both spouses must meet the same criteria for reducing fees.
To determine whether you are eligible for a fee reduction or exemption based on financial hardship, an authorised officer or the registrar will consider your daily living expenses, assets, income and liabilities. If you do not meet the requirements for either of these and yet paying the entire fee would still cause you significant financial issues, you can still apply for a financial hardship reduction on this basis.
For an application for an exemption from fees, please see the form here.
Please see the form here to apply for a reduction of the payment of a divorce or decree of nullity.
The Bulk Of The Cost In Divorce Property Settlements
The reality of costs for divorce property settlements is that the fees can range significantly depending on the complexity of matters. Unfortunately, more often, parties are unwilling to compromise and relentlessly pursue cases in the courtroom.
These costs are made up of filing fees for applications, court fees and legal fees. The sum of these fees can easily range in the tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes even in the six-figure range.
Stay-At-Home Parent Entitlement In a Divorce Property Settlement
The stay-at-home parent is commonly concerned that they are not entitled to part of a divorce or separation settlement because they did not financially contribute to the bills or mortgage payment. This could not be further from the truth. The court heavily considers non-financial contributions in determining the division of the property pool in divorce property settlements.
Examples of non-financial contributions include:
- Sacrificing your career or study to be a stay-at-home parent while your partner works
- Taking care of the home
- Cooking, cleaning, gardening and making dinner
- Any improvements you make to the property, such as maintenance or renovations that increased the properties value or have resulted in savings
Are There Any Risks Of Not Complying With Property Court Orders?
If one party does not comply with the court orders, the court may set aside any previous orders and make new ones. Assuming the property value was to go down during this time substantially, this could result in a situation where the court would be unwilling to set aside orders. It would ultimately reward the party who was in default.
Delaying compliance with property orders can also naturally result in an unfavourable result when selling the property, as the value of it may have gone down from the point it was supposed to be originally sold until when it is sold. However, assuming the property value has gone up, the additional legal expenses involved will realistically detract from this – so realistically, not complying with property court orders is a no-win scenario for either party.
If compliance is not possible, obtaining legal and financial advice as soon as possible can end up saving you and your former partner both a significant amount of money and time.
Aftermath Of Divorce Property Settlements – Spousal Maintenance
The concept of spousal maintenance commonly arises following a divorce or separation. It refers to the financial support payments one partner receives from the other partner to ensure the partner receiving the payment can maintain a reasonable standard of living following a divorce or separation.
The time period of spousal maintenance is determined on a case by case basis. However, it is certain that the payments do not continue indefinitely. Alternatively, they should be viewed as merely financial assistance while the partner receiving the payments seeks employment or pursues education. The threshold for spousal maintenance is not particularly high, with the eligibility requirements being that:
The partner paying has the financial means to support the partner requiring the assistance
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing divorce property settlements, it is important to note that you should seek the best family and property lawyers’ legal guidance. This is because the result and ramifications of a divorce property settlement can have a significant impact on you for the rest of your life, and so you should leave the matter in the hands of the experts.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions about divorce property settlements or any other family law matters, head over to our blog section for more informative articles on a wide range of family law topics.
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