First steps after a relationship breaks down19-February-2013 Family Law By Simone Green
Separating from a relationship can be a difficult and emotional time in people’s lives, but there are some practical first steps worth taking to prevent protracted legal arguments and expense when the time comes to finalise a property settlement.
If you feel capable of discussing a financial settlement directly with your former partner, we recommend that you have an early but very general discussion in respect to interim arrangements. These may include who will pay any joint debts until a settlement is finalised and what funds can be applied to living expenses. You can also agree, for instance, to each take a sum of money from joint accounts, or retain such funds in accounts in individual names, to be characterised as an interim property settlement or living expenses pending final settlement.
Assessing and identifying the asset pool is the very first step towards negotiating an agreement, or indeed assessing a party’s entitlements in Family Law.
As soon as possible, you should begin preparing documents, which will help to clarify the asset pool of both partners.
Family law expert, Simone Green, from Sydney law firm Streeterlaw, says she asks her clients to prepare a balance sheet of their assets and liabilities.
“This might include an approximate value of all real estate, bank accounts, a complete list of shareholdings, superannuation, motor vehicles, jewellery and any other personal property of value,” Ms Green explained.
She said evidence of income, bank accounts and other property will need to be mutually exchanged with a client’s former partner.
“It is also useful to obtain market appraisals of any real estate early on to provide a general idea of the value of any property,” she added. “While it is certainly not necessary to have gathered all the above information prior to seeing a lawyer, it will greatly assist us in giving you accurate advice and also help reduce your fees and get you on your way to effecting a property settlement.”
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