In the event of separation, working out how your property should be divided can be difficult.  Emotions are often running high and for those who want to maintain an amicable relationship, disputes over property are not easy.

Emma and Michael agreed to separate after being married for 10 years.  They wanted to remain friends and so agreed between themselves how they would divide their property.  They each then went to see their independent lawyers to have their agreement formalised as they knew they were required to do.

Upon receiving advice, Emma realised that she was entitled to a lot more than what she had agreed to with Michael and that she could ask for information about his superannuation and savings.  Emma was then placed in the uncomfortable position of having to renege on the agreement her and Michael had reached together.

One of the first steps you should take before you start discussions with your ex-partner about the division of property is to be informed about your rights and obligations.  It is important you understand how our law works and what your entitlements are so that you know whether any proposed agreement is fair to you or not.  If you do not have that information before you begin discussions you could end up reaching a verbal agreement and then having to back track on what you’ve agreed – an awkward situation as Emma found!

For any relationship property agreement to be binding you will both need to receive advice from independent lawyers, and your agreement will need to be in writing and signed by each of you and your lawyers.  If you do not comply with these formal requirements, any agreement you reach will not be binding.

If you have any queries regarding separation and/or the division of property, contact us on (04) 473 6850.