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Property and Financial

When people separate, they usually need to sort out how to divide their assets (property) and debts.

You and your former spouse or de facto partner can agree on how to divide your property without any court involvement. Family dispute resolution services can help you reach an agreement without coming to court.

If you agree on arrangements, you make your agreement formal by applying for consent orders in the Family Court.

If you can’t reach an agreement, you can apply to the Court for property orders. These include orders dividing property and spousal or de facto partner maintenance orders. You will usually need to try and resolve your disagreement through family dispute resolution before the Court will accept a property orders application.

What are property orders?

Property can take many forms. For example it includes real estate, motor vehicles, furniture and investments. In some cases superannuation is treated as property.

Anyone involved in a property settlement or maintenance dispute must comply with the pre-action procedures before they can apply to the Family Court of WA for property orders.

The pre-action procedure steps include:

  • Participating in dispute resolution.
  • If dispute resolution is unsuccessful, writing a letter to the other parties, setting out your claim and exploring options for settlement.
  • Complying with the duty of disclosure.

Who can apply for property orders?

Married couples

Any person who is, or has been married can apply for financial orders in the courts. However you must do so within 12 months of your divorce order taking effect. After this time, you need the Court’s permission to apply.

De facto couples

A person who has been a party to a de facto relationship may be able to apply for financial orders in the courts. However your application for de facto financial orders must be made within two years of the breakdown of your relationship. After this time, you need the Court’s permission to apply.

Pre-action procedures

Anyone involved in a property settlement or maintenance dispute must comply with the pre-action procedures before they can apply to the Family Court of WA for property orders.

The pre-action procedure steps include:

  • Participating in some sort of dispute resolution.

  • If dispute resolution is unsuccessful, writing a letter to the other parties, setting out your claim and exploring options for settlement.

  • Complying with the duty of disclosure.

If a matter goes to Court, it is important that both parties are aware of what their current financial situation is and what the other side wants.

The pre-action procedures allow for each side to give written notice of their current financial situation and what it is they are looking for from the other side.

This reduces the amount of time spent in Court, and the cost for both parties.


Last updated: 19-Sep-2017

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