SEE A LAWYER TO GET A CLEAR & ACCURATE PICTURE OF
WHAT YOU ARE ENTITTLED TO: Detailed advice on your rights
and entitlements will help you to see the bigger picture in terms
of what you are fighting for and whether it is worth it. It will
also assist you to negotiate sensibly in mediation.
ATTEND MEDIATION:Mediation provides an
opportunity for open discussion about what each of you wants for
the children and in terms of an overall property settlement. You
may not reach an agreement at mediation, but hopefully you will
leave understanding what your ex partner wants to achieve, and what
they are prepared to compromise on.
THINK OF YOUR PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AS A COMMERCIAL
TRANSACTION: As difficult as it may be, if you are able to
think of your property settlement as a business transaction, you
are more likely to come to an agreement with your ex partner. You
need to be focused on what is fair and equitable, what you are
actually entitled to and what you are prepared to
negotiate on in order to reach a settlement. Emotions need to be
kept in check.
PROVIDE FULL AND FRANK DISCLOSURE AS EARLY AS
POSSIBLE: It is very common for one person to commence
Court Proceedings because the other is refusing to provide
financial disclosure. Both spouses in a family law property
settlement are obliged to disclosure all relevant financial
documents and information to the other. By cooperating with
requests for disclose promptly, you will increase your chances of
settling out of Court.
MAKE AN OFFER: A genuine offer to settle
demonstrates to your ex partner that you are serious about settling
the matter expeditiously and out of Court. Once an Offer (and
possibly a Counter-Offer) has been made, it is easier for both of
you to understand what the other is asking for.
AGREE THE VALUES OF THE ASSET POOL AND INDIVIDUAL
ASSETS:As early as possible determine what the assets and
liabilities of your relationship are worth. If a value cannot be
agreed for an asset, obtain a joint valuation through your
solicitor. Special rules apply. It is difficult to negotiate (and
settle) without agreement about these values.
KEEP THE BEST INTERESTS OF YOUR CHILDREN IN
MIND: Making arrangements for the care of your children
following a relationship breakdown can be difficult. It is
important to remember that the best interests of the children are
all that ultimately matter. Parents do not have any rights to their
children; rather, children have a right to spend time with and have
a meaningful relationship with each of their parents. Avoid an
argument about who spends time with whom and consider what the
children need in order to have a stable routine and a meaningful
relationship with their mother and father.
BE PREPARED TO COMPROMISE & HAVE A GENEROUS
SPIRIT: It may sound trite, but a generous spirit goes a
long way in a property settlement! Sometimes you may be faced with
spending $20,000 on legal fees to gain $20,000 in an overall
settlement, when a simple compromise might see both of you $10,000
CONSIDER COLLABORATIVE LAW: A new tool
available to family lawyers. Imagine you, your ex-partner, two
lawyers, an accountant and a financial planner, all working
together to achieve a mutually acceptable settlement.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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