The Four-Step Approach to Property Settlement in the Family Court

Couples who are married or are living together in a de facto relationship are entitled to have a property settlement.

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) governs property settlement for married and de facto couples, except in Western Australia the property settlement between de facto partners is governed by the Family Court Act 1997 (WA).

Both married couples and couples living in a de facto relationship have twelve months from the date of separation by which to apply to the Family Court for a property settlement.

When making a decision on how to divide a couples’ assets following the breakdown of a relationship, the Family Court will use the “Four Step Approach” as follows:-

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How can you avoid a challenge to a Will?

A person cannot avoid the operation of the Family Provisions Act by putting a clause in their Will to the effect that the Act is not to apply or by providing in the Will that a beneficiary who challenges the Will is not to receive benefit under it.  However, in WA (unlike NSW for example) property can be protected from a challenge under the Family Provisions Act by ensuring that it does not form part of the estate of the deceased at the date of death.

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