The coastal northern suburbs of Perth are sometimes referred to as the “mortgage belt” due to being populated with young families with large home loans. Many of these young families have been reliant on the high wages afforded by Fly-in-fly-out work taking place on the large projects in the North of Western Australia.
Recently, the economic downturn in Perth has hit families hard, especially up here in the northern suburbs. Houses have dropped in value and many of us face the reality of having a mortgage bigger than the value of our houses. Employment is increasingly difficult to find and Australian families are losing their homes as they cannot afford to pay their mortgages.
These difficult times add pressure that some relationships cannot survive. At Carter Dickens Lawyers, sadly, we have noticed the increase in family breakdowns.
If your relationship has broken down and you have assets, it is important to obtain legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in Family Law. A single meeting may end up saving you thousands of dollars as you may not be aware of what you are entitled under the Family Law legislation. We recommend that you don’t rely on the comments of family or friends; they are well meaning but often provide information that is incorrect and sometimes end up being costly.
For unmarried couples, if you lived with your ex-partner for more than two years, or you purchased assets together, or had children, then you likely to meet the legal requirement for a de facto relationship and will need legal advice. For those who have separated from their husband or wife, it is important to obtain legal advice about divorce as well as financial and child related family law matters.
If you can come to an agreement with your ex-partner to divide up the assets and liabilities, consider filing an application in the Family Court to finalise that agreement. There are a number of benefits to obtaining Family Court consent orders. For example, if one of the parties is going to take over the ownership of the family home, or investment property, then having consent orders allows for an exemption on the stamp duty.
Having Consent Orders also means that neither party can come back asking for more money or assets. It serves as insurance to be certain that the financial separation is truly done. Another advantage of filing consent Orders is that a registrar of the Family Court is required to assess the agreement as to whether it is “just and equitable”. If the registrar finds that the settlement falls within range of what is fair, then the Orders are stamped and made final. The parties are then legally bound by the Orders.
If a couple is contemplating their financial settlement, they can also include Orders to deal with the parenting arrangements for the children. Having consent orders for care arrangements can be helpful as they remove the need for constant negotiation and create set routines to which children become accustomed.
Please note that the above is general information and should not be relied upon as legal advice. All situations are different and legal advice must always be tailored to the specific situation.