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Family Law Lawyer advice on the effect of death on property proceedings

The law often deals with unforeseen events in the course of Court proceedings under the Family Law Act. If the other party in your proceedings dies before property proceedings are completed, then your family lawyer will inform you of Section 79(8) of the Family Law Act.

The Court will look to this section if in your case, the other party (your ex-spouse) passes before property related proceedings are completed. It is important to know that under the relevant section of the statute (79(8)(a)) any proceedings which have commenced by a family law lawyer before the person passes can be continued by or against the personal representative of a deceased party. This appointed representative would then continue the case on the deceased’s behalf. The Court may make the property order it would have made had the deceased party not died, and only if the court deems it appropriate to do so. Such a property order would still be enforceable by or against the estate of the deceased party. The Court considers the appropriateness of an order to be made after the passing of one of the parties according to the case of Erdem & Ossay. If you are worried about the state of your own health or that of the other party it is advised that you inform your Family Law Lawyer as soon as possible in order for your legal representative to make necessary arrangements and decisions in your case.
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The Consequences of Escaping Debt in Family Property Proceedings

If you or your former spouse owe a significant sum of money to a person or company known as a creditor, you may be wondering how this will be dealt with in your family property proceedings. Some have attempted to transfer property from one spouse to another in a bid to protect their property from a creditor’s claim. Our family law lawyers can provide some guidance on what you should do if you owe money to a creditor and the consequences for non-disclosure.

During your family property proceedings, there is an obligation on both parties to disclose any significant creditors or any significant claim against them by a third party to the Court. This includes Applications for Orders made by consent. In circumstances where a Family Court Order would prevent a creditor to recover their debt, your family law lawyers may need to give the creditor notice of the Family Court proceedings who are then provided the opportunity to intervene in the proceedings and seek their own orders to protect their interests in having their debt paid.
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Property Settlement Agreement – A Four Step Process

A property settlement is a process which involves the division of assets between parties.

If you have separated with your partner you may be left wondering what your rights to the assets might be. You might be questioning what is involved and how our lawyers can assist you to reach a property settlement agreement.

Here at Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, the usual process to get your Property Settlement started is to meet with one of our lawyers who will work through 4 important steps with you.

Step 1: Work out the “Net Assets”

Working out the “net assets” involves listing the parties’ assets, liabilities, superannuation and financial resources to reach a net equity which we call “the asset pool”.

Step 2: Consider the “Contributions of each party

This step considers the “contributions” of each party. It includes financial contributions towards the acquisition of assets including the purchase of a home and mortgage repayments as well as non-financial contributions such as being the parent and homemaker.
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Family Inheritance: Can your Separation Lawyer Help?

A common question asked of a separation lawyer is whether inheritance is included in a family property settlement. The Full Court of the Family Court in Bonnici & Bonnici held that property does not fall into a “protected category” merely because it is an inheritance.

How the Court determines whether an inheritance can form part of a family property settlement depends on when the assets were inherited and the impact of the inheritance on the available property pool.

Impact on Asset Pool

In the case of Bonnici & Bonnici, the Full Court of the Family Court held that if there are ample funds already in the property pool for a settlement, the inheritance would normally be treated as the entitlement of the receiving party. However, if the inheritance is the only asset of the relationship and one party performs a more substantial homemaker role to their financial detriment, it is open to the court to include inheritance in the property settlement.
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Can your Affair End in a Property Settlement? Family Law Lawyers Delve Into This

If you’re having an affair, something that you may want to consider is whether the person you are having an affair with can claim your property after the relationship breaks down.

Firstly, your family law lawyers will need to consider whether your affair amounts to a de facto relationship. Considerations include the duration of the relationship, whether you have lived together, whether you attend events together socially, and whether you depend on each other financially.

The case of Jonah v White (2011) considered whether someone you are having an affair with can amount to a de facto relationship. In this case, the Husband (H) had a 17 year long affair with a woman (Ms J). During the affair, H continued to live with his wife and three children. Family law lawyers for Ms J argued that the relationship she had with H amounted to a de facto relationship under the Family Law Act.

The Court said that “The key to the definition is the manifestation of a relationship where the parties have so merged their lives that they are, for all practical purposes, living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. It is the manifestation of “coupledom”, which involves the merger of two lives as just described, that is the core of a de facto relationship as defined [by the law]”.
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Will Expected Inheritance Be Included in My Family Property Settlement Agreement?

An expected or future inheritance is an inheritance that one party is expecting to receive once the testator passes away. Will the Family Court take into consideration a future or expected inheritance in your divorce settlement? If you or your ex-spouse are anticipating an inheritance, say from an elderly parent, you may want to get some advice regarding how this may impact your property settlement agreement.

In the 1995 case of White & Tulloch the Court noted that the expectancy of inheritance will generally not amount to a financial resource to be considered in your property settlement agreement. The term financial resource involves some degree of “entitlement to, control over, or relative certainty of receipt of property”. On the other hand, a will has been described as a mere expression of intention at the time it was made. They may be revoked or altered and only have legal effect upon the death or the testator. In this case, the expected inheritance of an elderly parent was not included in the divorce settlement.
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The Bank of Mum and Dad – Gifts from your Parents and Property Settlement Agreements

The Australian housing market is difficult to break into for most first home buyers and many couples have looked to their parents for some assistance to get their foot in the door. For many, parents may provide assistance to their children by allowing them to live at home rent-free or contributing to their deposit in the form of a gift or loan.  In many cases, “the bank of mum and dad” is crucial to helping relatives to be able to buy their own home.

As it becomes more common for parents to provide financial support to the parties during a de-facto relationship or marriage, there is an increasing likelihood that these “third parties” may become involved in a dispute concerning a property settlement agreement between the parties if the relationship was to break down.  For example, where there is an argument as to whether money received by the parties (or either of them) was a gift or a loan to be repaid.
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The Basics of What Your Exs Company is Worth: The Balance Sheet

One way to determine what you or your former spouse’s company is worth is to instruct your divorce lawyer to engage a single expert valuer to put a dollar figure to the value of the business. Your divorce lawyer will then instruct the valuer to analyse the company’s financial statements among other things to determine the value for the purpose of your family property proceedings.

A company’s financial statements are made up of the following:

  1. Balance Sheet
  2. Profit and Loss Statements (Or Income Statement)
  3. Cash Flow Statement

 

The Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a snap shot of a company’s accounts. It provides at a glance what the company owns and is owed. It can give an indication of the financial position of the company at a single point in time.

The balance sheet depicts a company’s assets, liabilities and owner’s equity (net worth). Assets include cash, office equipment eg chairs and desks, all inventory and accounts receivable which refers to people who have bought from the company but have not yet paid.  Non-current assets are also listed under assets which include the building and land, goodwill, patents and copyright.

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