Property & financial settlement lawyers Melbourne & Ballarat

Relationships are not just about love and roses, they often also involve sharing a home, bank accounts, businesses and loans. If your relationship ends, these assets and liabilities must be divided between you. Regardless of whether you’re married or in a de facto relationship, there are legal obligations and processes that need to be considered when dividing up your assets and reaching a financial settlement.

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A property and financial settlement is an agreement on how your money, assets and debts will be divided between you and your partner. It doesn’t matter whose name the assets and debts are in, if you shared them during your relationship they may be considered as part of your settlement.

Family law consent orders

A consent order is a written agreement that is just and equitable and approved by the court. The consent order can include how you and your partner will divide your property, other assets and debts, and who will have custody of your children.

You don’t need a lawyer to draft up your agreement or represent you in court, but it’s often a good idea to get some advice on consent orders.

Binding financial agreements

If you and your partner agree on your property settlement, you can choose to have a binding financial agreement instead of a consent order. This doesn’t need to be approved by a court but you must still follow it. There are specific things that you must do before a binding financial agreement is valid, like get independent legal and financial advice. You can find out more about binding financial agreements here.


One of the assets that you may share is superannuation. Superannuation splitting, means one of you divides your superannuation and rolls part of it into the other’s superannuation fund. You will then be able to access it in the same way that you can access the rest of your superannuation. There are special rules and processes that apply to superannuation splitting and it may not always be possible to divide it.

Our approach to property & financial settlements

There is no one size fits all approach to determining your marital or de facto property settlement. Every relationship is different and your individual circumstances need to be considered carefully. Our experienced lawyers can help you identify what assets and liabilities should be included in your financial settlement and explain what factors may be taken into account.

Why MNG Lawyers

Our experienced family lawyers will be by your side offering you advice and guidance with compassion and understanding to help you achieve a fair outcome. We will explain your options in plain English and even draw up the paperwork so that it’s watertight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your financial assets and liabilities should all be included in your property and financial settlement, regardless of whose name they are in. This may include:

  • The family home;
  • Investment properties;
  • Your business;
  • Any shares, bitcoin or cryptocurrencies that you own;
  • Your superannuation (although there are some specific laws around what superannuation can or cannot be divided);
  • Cash and money in your bank accounts;
  • Precious jewellery;
  • Furniture that you own;
  • Your car, motorcycle, boat or other vehicles;
  • Insurance policies that you hold;
  • Your mortgage; and
  • Any personal loans, credit cards and other debts that you owe.

There is no formula for dividing up your assets and property. If you have been together for a long time, you may have a lot of things to consider when determining what is fair. This may include:

  • How long you have been together and the nature of your relationship. The longer you have been together the more likely it is that you have shared assets that you have both contributed significantly to. Whereas, if you have been together for just a couple of years you may be able to accurately determine what assets each of you brought into and contributed to the relationship;
  • What each of you contributed to the assets and property. This may include not only how much money you brought to the table, but also who looked after the children, cooked the meals, cleaned the clothes and took care of the family home;
  • What each of you expect to be able to earn in the future. There are several factors that can affect your future earning capacity like your age, health issues and who has custody of the children;
  • What assets or property each of you have separately. One or both of you may have chosen to keep some assets separate to your relationship, like an inheritance, superannuation or even a property; and
  • Who has primary custody of your children. If you’re responsible for looking after children most of the time this may affect your ability to work, particularly if your children are young. It may also mean you have additional expenses like school fees and even food to consider.

You and your partner can choose to reach an amicable agreement on your assets and property without needing to go to court. You can reach an informal agreement or a binding financial agreement.

An informal agreement is not enforceable, which means a court may choose not to follow it. A binding financial agreement is a formal document that you and your partner must follow.

If you are finding it difficult to reach an agreement on your property and financial settlement, you can get help through mediation or family dispute resolution. This involves an independent person listening to both of you and then deciding the best way to divide your assets and property.

Both you and your partner should not sell any assets or property unless you both agree. If you want to sell something without your partner’s consent, they can ask the court to stop you.

If you’re worried that your partner may sell an asset that is only in their name, you may be able to put a caveat on it depending on what the asset is. This is a legal note on the asset that says you have an interest in it and means it cannot be sold without your permission.

It’s often in your best interests to try and reach a financial settlement as soon as possible. This is because any assets, property or income you earn between separating and divorcing can still be taken into consideration.

You can reach a financial agreement when you have separated, even if you have not finalised your divorce yet. How long that takes, depends on the negotiations between you and your partner.

If you’ve already divorced, you will need to finalise your property and financial settlement within 12 months of your Order for Divorce being granted. If you are in a de facto relationship, you must reach a financial settlement within two years of separating.

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