People are concerned about the possible implications of finalising a property settlement during the current global pandemic. This is because we are all living in a time of uncertainty however, you should not let the current situation with COVID-19 stop you from being proactive in obtaining an appropriate property settlement.

Whilst there may be some uncertainty about the value of houses or businesses and fluctuating superannuation in the current climate, it is possible to negotiate a settlement based on a percentage of the net asset pool. This will ensure both you and the other party both bear any risk or reward of the uncertain economy. It is also possible to agree for houses or business to be sold on a specific date in the future if you and the other party are concerned about selling in the current market.

At the moment, the Family Court system is still operational, and the Chief Justice has said that closing the Court is “not an option”. We are able to assist you to negotiate and finalise your property settlement by way of Consent Orders if you and the other party agree and these documents can be filed online. The Court will then review the Consent Orders to ensure they are “just and equitable” and if the Court is satisfied, they will make the Orders and upload the Orders online. We can then download the Orders and provide a copy to you without anyone needing to attend Court.

If you and the other party cannot agree, we are still able to commence Court proceedings by filing an application online and are able to “appear” in Court by way of telephone. The Court is currently adjourning all “non-urgent” property matters and referring the parties to alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. We are connected with a number of mediators who are willing and able to conduct telephone mediations to assist you and the other party to reach an agreement, with everyone following social distancing guidelines.

The main benefit of finalising your property settlement is that it provides you and the other party with the opportunity to have certainty about what your settlement will look like and a timeline for when your settlement will be finalized and you can both move forward with your life. The world is already uncertain enough at the moment, there is no need to add to that uncertainty with anxiety about when you will be able to finalise a property settlement.

If you or anyone you know is separated or in the process of separating and requires advice or assistance with a property settlement, please contact East Coast Family Lawyers today on 02 4322 0251 for an obligation free chat with one of our solicitors.