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4 Step Property Settlement Process Property Settlements

Divorce Property Settlement in Australia

Divorce Property Settlement

At Mathews Family Law and Mediation Services, we have wide experience in matters related to divorce property settlement. We take the time to understand your concerns and offer the best possible solutions based on your individual situation. Our property settlement lawyers have an unrivaled reputation and can help you make an informed decision. We understand that separation is a stressful phase and assure you that we will be there for you when you need us. Reaching a mutually acceptable financial agreement in divorce can be daunting. With our bespoke service, we will approach your case to deliver a favorable financial outcome. We are driven by the zeal to ensure a fair settlement and you can count on us even for the most complex cases.

Divorce Settlement in Australia

At Mathews Family Law and Mediation Services, we have wide experience in matters related to divorce property settlement. We understand that even if your finances are separate, there is a need for a formal financial settlement. Our experienced lawyers possess the expertise and understanding to enable you to handle the financial aspects of divorce as successfully as possible. We will outline ways to reach a fair settlement so that you do not face any legal disagreements in the future. Approachable and experienced, our lawyers will help you get the results you want.

Reaching Financial Agreement in Divorce

After you have taken the decision to divorce, sorting out the financial aspects can be a complex task. There is much to consider but with the backing of our expert property settlement lawyers, you can be sure that you will be supported at every step. We take the time to understand your concerns and offer the best possible solutions based on your individual situation. Our property settlement lawyers have an unrivaled reputation and can help you make an informed decision. We understand that separation is a stressful phase and assure you that we will be there for you when you need us. Reaching a mutually acceptable financial agreement in divorce can be daunting. With our bespoke service and clear legal advice, we will approach your case to deliver a favorable financial outcome. We are driven by the zeal to ensure a fair settlement and you can count on us even for the most complex cases. We will ensure that your interests are protected and the divorce proceedings are as amicable as can be.

If you have any queries about family law property settlement, do not hesitate to book a consultation. We are here to answer any questions that you may have and will be happy to guide you through the process of a divorce property settlement.

Property Settlement Lawyers

If you have any queries about family law property settlement, do not hesitate to book a consultation. We will be happy to assist you.

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Inheritances and Family Law

Family Law

Generally speaking, inheritances are not excluded or otherwise quarantined from the asset pool to be divided between separating parties, and will not automatically be allocated back to the party who received them.

Some of the relevant factors the Court takes into account are as follows:

Timing and length of a relationship

For example, an inheritance received very early in a long relationship might not result in a significantly higher contributions assessment to the party who received it, because the other party might have made other contributions over the years which offset the effect of the inheritance.

An inheritance received late in the relationship or after separation in a short relationship, is more likely to result in a higher contribution assessment to the party who received it.

Amount received

The amount received – and compared with the asset pool to divide – will affect the Court’s ultimate decision.

For example, a smaller amount (say $20,000 inheritance in a pool of $1.5m) is less likely to result in contributions being assessed in favor of the party who received it than a larger amount (say $1m in a pool of $1.5m).

How it was applied

If the money was used for family holidays or otherwise spent and is no longer represented in the asset pool, it will carry less weight when assessing contributions than if it was used to purchase real estate or shares and those assets still exist at the time the Court is making a determination. It may also be relevant if the funds have been kept separate and not otherwise mingled with the parties’ assets.

Financial circumstances of the parties at the time the Court makes a decision

In a pool of $1m, where one party receives a post-separation inheritance of $500,000, it might not be just and equitable for one party to receive half of the net assets ($500,000) and the other to receive the other half plus the whole inheritance ($500,000 plus $500,000). The Court will consider the whole financial situation.

Inheritances received after separation

If one party receives an inheritance after separation but before property settlement has been agreed and formalized, the inheritance will be taken into account in the property settlement as the Court must consider all of the current financial circumstances at the time the determination is being made.

This is one of the reasons why it is recommended that separating parties finalize and formalize their property settlement as soon as possible.

This does not necessarily mean that the other party will receive a portion of the inheritance. The Court might determine that the other party made no contribution to the inheritance, but it will be taken into account and adjustments might be made in favor of the other party who does not receive the inheritance.

Future inheritances

A future inheritance will usually only be taken into account if the death of the testator is imminent.

As the inheritance has not yet been received, the Court could not include it in the asset pool but can take it into account in assessing the respective future needs of the parties.

How can an inheritance be protected against claims by the other party?

Parties to a marriage or de facto relationship can protect future inheritances by entering into a Binding Financial Agreement which sets out how any inheritance would be dealt with in the event of separation.

If parties have separated and there is a possibility that one party will receive an inheritance in the future, it is recommended that they finalize their property settlement as soon as possible, and before the death of the testator.

Specialist Family Law advice is essential. Let your client know about our free initial telephone consultation service by calling Vanessa Mathews on 9804 7991.

We’re operating as usual at Mathews Family Law. If you have any questions or concerns about how COVID-19 may impact your client’s position in relation to their family law matter, call Vanessa Mathews on 9804 7991 or email enquiries@mflaw.com.au.

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Mediation Mediation and Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)

Family Law and Mediation – Is Mediation Appropriate For Me?

dispute resolution lawyer

Mediation (also known as ‘Family Dispute Resolution) is a powerful tool for resolving parenting child custody and property settlement asset division disputes following separation and divorce, with a greater sense of satisfaction and ownership by the parties of the resulting agreement.

You may be feeling uncertain about whether or not FDR / mediation is ‘appropriate’ for you.

The answer to this question may or may not be obvious, for example:

  1. FDR / mediation will be obviously not appropriate if a party refuses an invitation to attend an initial intake meeting with an FDRP / mediator –all FDR / mediations commence with an initial intake session, including risk assessment. The decision to participate in FDR / mediation must be voluntary and cannot be ‘imposed’.
  2.  FDR / mediation may be appropriate even if a party expresses concern about a power imbalance and their capacity to participate – alternative modes of FDR / mediation will be considered at the initial intake meeting, including the options of joint sessions, shuttle mediation, remote attendance via skype/telephone/email. The availability of alternative modes enhances access to FDR / mediation.
  3. FDR / mediation will be appropriate if both parties consent to attend – a choice of mode of attendance ensures that parties wishing for a non-litigious approach have the opportunity to utilize FDR / mediation notwithstanding concern about doing so.

For more than a decade Vanessa Mathews, accredited family law specialist and accredited FDRP and Mediator, has been providing FDR / mediation services in conjunction with her work as a family lawyer in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. During this time Vanessa has provided FDR / mediation to hundreds of clients. Whilst there will always be the need for the Family Court to resolve the most complex parenting child custody and property settlement asset division matters, Vanessa continues to be in awe of, and humbled by, clients who choose to take responsibility for their parenting child custody and property settlement asset division and spousal maintenance issues via FDR / mediation – rather than have a Family Court Judge do this for them.

Vanessa is available to assist you to achieve a mediated agreement to:

1. Resolve your parenting issues including:

  1. Interim issues:
    i. Child custody following separation, eg shared care
    ii. Single issue disputes, eg choice of school
  2. Final issues:
    i. Child custody when one parent wishes to relocate with the children
    ii. Ongoing parenting child custody arrangements
  3. Documentation of agreements
    i. Parenting Plan
    ii. Family Court Consent Orders

2. Negotiate property settlement and spousal maintenance issues including:

  1. Interim issues:
    i. The use or sale of the home following separation
    ii. Child support
    iii. Spousal maintenance
    iv. Disclosure and valuation of assets
  2. Final issues
    i. Property settlement asset division
    ii. Child support
    iii. Spousal maintenance
    iv. Superannuation splitting
  3. Finalization of the agreement:
    i. Family Court Consent Orders
    ii. Binding Financial Agreements

Please contact Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists on 1300 635 529 to discuss your FDR / mediation needs.

Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists offer fixed fees for FDR / Mediation.

In 2019:

  • Vanessa Mathews and Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists are rated by ‘Three Best Rated’ as one of the three best divorce lawyers in Melbourne.
  • Vanessa Mathews is recognized by Doyle’s Guide to the Legal Professional as a ‘Recommended Family Lawyer’ and ‘Recommended Family Law Mediator’ in Melbourne.
  • Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists won the Global Law Experts Awards for ‘Best Family Law Firm Australia’ and ‘Best Family Law Mediator Australia’ awards.
  • Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists is a family law firm in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne – Level 2, 599 Malvern Road, Toorak.
Categories
Best Interests & Parenting child arrangements Divorce Divorce & Parenting

‘Alienation? Myths, Complexities and Possibilities … ‘

family law

Dear Friends

Last weekend I attended the AFCC Australian Chapter conference in Adelaide.

The conference topic was ‘Alienation? Myths, complexities and possibilities …’.

The caliber of the papers was excellent.

I was particularly interested in the workshop offered by Dr. Philip Stahl, Psychologist, on domestic violence differentiation, personality disorders and unconscious bias.

Also of great interest was the current research on high conflict separations, alienation and children resisting contact with parents.

Early identification and intervention are the keys to avoiding the escalation of ‘mere conflict’ into alienation and the devastating impact on children (regardless of age).

We heard from our local well-known Psychologists Dr. Jenni Neoh and Ms. Lisa Bottomley in particular about their respective intervention programs for complex family matters.

We often work with families facing experiencing particular difficulty with their post-separation parenting – with young and old children. We will be recommending Jenni and Lisa’s very special approaches to these clients in the hope of achieving an early and effective resolution.

The AFCC website provides a wealth of excellent resources, including conference papers http://afccnet.org.au/ . You may like to consider becoming a member.

We continue to offer a free initial telephone consultation to your clients in need of family law advice – they simply need to call us on 1300 635 529 or email enquiries@mflaw.com.au to book a time for one of our family law specialists to speak with them.

And remember, we’re always happy to help you out with any questions you may have. Stay in touch,

Vanessa and the Team at Mathews Family Law & Mediation Specialists

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Do I have to Attend FDR Mediation

Legal Capacity and Family Law

As the issue of mental health continues to gain more traction within the area of Family Law, at a practical level, and without holding the necessary expert qualifications required to properly identify and diagnose mental health conditions, at what point does a practitioner (legal or otherwise) determine if a client has the capacity to provide appropriate instructions?

Family Law

Justice Power in PY v RJS & Others outlines the general legal test for capacity as follows:

  • Generally, a person is not shown to be incapable of managing his or her own affairs unless it can be shown otherwise. That is, a person is presumed to have legal capacity unless the following characteristics can be observed:
  • That he or she appears incapable of dealing, in a reasonably competent fashion, with the ordinary routine affairs of man and
  • That, by reason of that lack of competence, there is shown to be a real risk that either:
    • He or she may be disadvantaged in the conduct of such affairs or
    • That such monies or property which he or she may possess may be dissipated or lost.
  • It is not sufficient, merely to demonstrate that the person lacks the high level of ability needed to deal with complicated transactions or that the person does not deal with even simple routine transactions in the most efficient manner. That is, the person must understand the purpose of the transactions that they are carrying out in everyday life.

The “Client Capacity Sub-Committee” of the New South Wales Law Society has developed guidelines to assist practitioners concerned about the competency of their clients to give proper instructions. By way of summary, practitioners should be wary of the following:

  • Are you as the practitioner able to obtain proper instructions from your client after you have provided a brief summary/explanation of likely issues to them?
  • If your client has a diagnosable illness, is it likely to be a temporary or permanent impairment? If it is temporary or medication based, think about different ways in which you might obtain instructions (i.e. taking frequent breaks in conference, drawing diagrams).
  • If the issues needing clarification are minor and short-term, can a friend or relative assist the client with providing instructions that are in the client’s best interests?
  • Will the client consent to a formal assessment of capacity by a specialist professional?
  • Should you as the practitioner cease to act? If at any time the practitioner has become the substitute decision-maker, he or she should make immediate arrangements to have a substitute instruction giver appointed.

Subject to any specialist evaluation of the client’s legal capacity, or should it be the case the matter is already in Court, it may be appropriate to appoint a “Case Guardian”. This process involves filing an Application with the Court pursuant to rule 6.08 of the Family Law Rules 2004 together with an Affidavit in support containing the relevant evidence (i.e. short report from the client’s treating specialist regarding the client’s mental health and likely duration of any diagnosable condition).