Property settlements are when a two parties are separating and need to divide their assets and separate any liabilities they may have had as a couple (e.g. a mortgage). Property settlements can be simple if the parties agree and can be completed by filling in consent orders,having the orders filed and stamped by the court.
If the parties do not agree on how the assets are to be divided we advise that both parties engage and independent lawyer to go through the assets and discuss what the likely outcome would be if both parties ended up going to court. The lawyer who gives this advice will not act for either party and only jointly advise the parties. This is a relatively new concept in Australia and one we think is excellent for avoiding costly disputes.
If the independent lawyer approach does not work the next option is mediation. Though costly, it is still a much better option than going to court or attempting to settle the dispute via lawyers negotiating by letters.
If mediation does not work then court proceedings are the last option. Proceedings can be costly and take years to resolve in the courts. Sometimes however it is inevitable.