Following separation, most people want to sort out their property settlement as quickly as possible and get on with their life. Here are seven steps to achieving that:
1 – See a specialist family law solicitor as soon as possible. You need a solicitor with the experience and confidence to give you guidance as to the likely outcome.
2 – Through your solicitor, promptly provide financial disclosure to your ex. This may include obtaining:
- Appraisals of the home
- Appraisals of vehicles (eg through redbook.com.au)
- Up to date super statements
- Recent bank statements
- Your last 3 tax returns
- Your last 3 notices of Assessment
3 – Through your solicitor, promptly requesting financial disclosure from your ex.
4 – Once disclosure has been made, getting advice from your solicitor as to a fair outcome.
5 – Attending private mediation. The key features of mediation are:
- Mediation usually involves 5 people attending: the mediator, you, your lawyer, your ex and your ex’s lawyer.
- The mediator assists you and your ex to reach an agreement. They don’t decide the outcome.
- Mediation can be face to face or shuttle (or a combination). Shuttle mediation is where you will not meet your ex-partner/spouse face to face. This method is often preferred where there is a history of family violence in the relationship.
- If agreement is reached, then it is usually formalised by a court order made on a later date.
- A properly prepared for private mediation has a high rate of success. It will save you time, and the cost and emotional stress of court proceedings.
6 – Attending private arbitration. If you go to mediation and don’t reach an agreement, or if you decide that mediation is not appropriate, then you can have your matter decided by an arbitrator. The key features of arbitration are:
- It proceeds much a like a court hearing.
- Getting to a quicker resolution than court proceedings. The time frame from agreeing to arbitration to getting the decision will usually be about 6 months. The time frame from deciding to commence court proceedings to getting the decision will be about 2 years.
- It is generally cheaper, notwithstanding that you pay 50% of the arbitrator’s fee.
7 – Be sensible! Make a sensible proposal. Accept a sensible proposal. Follow advice. Promptly provide requested documents.
There are no guarantees to a speedy resolution, but following these seven steps will increase your chances!
If you’d like a speedy resolution to your property settlement, contact our family law team today.
For more information about mediation, you may like to read our article A Guide to Family Law Mediation