Family Law Property Disputes

At Morgan Mac Lawyers we assist our clients in deciding on the best path to obtain the earliest resolution of property matters following a marriage or relationship breakdown.

Bill Morgan who has acted in Family Court property matters for over 11 years, and is a registered family dispute resolution practitioner and nationally accredited mediator, has acted for hundreds of business clients in commercial matters, which is an advantage in dealing with Family Law property settlements that involve businesses and company and trust structures.

Bill Morgan has had experience in Family Law property settlements that include:

  • Business and personal assets held by companies or on trust;
  • Family businesses (including a photography business, a nursery business, and an entertainment business);

Amie Mac who is a Business Lawyer and Chartered Accountant acts in the sale of family businesses if the sale of the business is agreed by the parties to the relationship or ordered by the Court and we work in collaboration with expert external accountants and financial planners to deal with tax issues and financial planning issues.

The issue of how property is divided on the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship is determined in accordance with the process set out in the Family Law Act.

The process of deciding how to divide properties involves the identification of properties of the parties to the relationship and ascertaining the contributions made by each spouse and their respective future needs.

The process of deciding how to divide properties involves the identification of properties of the parties to the relationship and ascertaining the contributions made by each spouse and their respective future needs.

The resolution of the issue of the division of property may be complex because of the parties being involved in businesses or because of company and trust structures which give rise to tax implications. The difficulty may be acute if there is a family business in which one spouse is active in the day to day running and management of the business and the other has a less active involvement, or if both parties are actively involved and wish to keep the family business. Issues of valuation of a business need to be considered.

The parties may decide to resolve the issue of the division of property by a financial agreement, although there is still the need for the parties and their legal advisors to make a list of the assets owned by the parties, or in which one of both of them hold an interest, and their liabilities, and to reach agreement on the identification of assets and liabilities and on the value of assets. This information is needed to prepare a binding financial agreement, or formulate consent orders if the parties can agree on orders to achieve a property settlement.

If parties do not enter into a binding financial agreement, and require a court to make final orders, the court shall consider:

  • The assets and liabilities of the parties and the value of the assets and the amount of liabilities;
  • The financial and non-financial contributions of the parties during the relationship;
  • The future needs of the parties including their financial situation, financial obligations, state of health, and their obligations to care of children and other dependents.

Financial agreements

The parties may enter into a binding financial agreement at the commencement of the relationship, during the relationship or after the breakdown of the relationship.

After the breakdown of the marriage or the de facto relationship, the parties my resolve the issue of the division of property by entering into a binding financial agreement. The parties may enter into binding financial agreements before court proceedings or after court proceedings are commenced. The fact court proceedings have been commenced, in which parties seek orders for a division of property, does not prevent the parties resolving the dispute before orders are made by signing a binding financial agreement.

The breakdown of a relationship can have a serious consequence on a family business. Financial agreements may protect family assets and ensure the control of a family business A financial agreement may ensure a family business continues intact. A financial agreement allows for the retention and continuing ownership of business interests. This may be important to a person who is bringing a family business into a relationship.

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