The Do's and Don'ts of Property Settlement

Divorcing couples often have disputes during property settlement proceedings. More often than not, each party would want a larger portion of the marital property. The extract below discusses what you should do and what you should avoid when dividing marital property. 

The Do's

Consider Previous Agreements

Previous agreements such as pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreement can significantly affect the direction of property settlement proceedings. For instance, if you committed to accepting cash rather than shares in the family business, you must honour this promise. These agreements can be nullified by the family court if a party did not receive independent legal advice or if they coerced you into signing the contract.

Work Closely With Your Ex

There are various advantages of working closely with your ex during property settlement proceedings.

  • It allows you to decide how to meet family obligations, such as paying your children's school fees or paying your mortgage.
  • It ensures you have an easy time selling marital assets such as land to settle your debts and pay taxes.
  • Parties can determine how to access funds in joint accounts.
  • If you own a business together, you will have an easy time running it.

Consider Out-of-Court Agreements

Out-of-court agreements allow you to settle your affairs in private. Besides, they are cheaper and faster compared to court processes. Your lawyers will draft financial plans or consent orders and file them at the family court. These agreements can be adjusted to suit changing financial conditions such as loss of employment. 

The Don'ts

Be Held in Contempt of Court

The court may ask you to make certain payments before it decides how to divide the property. If you fail to make these payments, the judge may hold you in contempt of court. You may be jailed or fined for this offence.

Hide Property

Some parties may provide fake financial documents as a way to hide assets or money in bank accounts. Others may attempt to transfer property registered in their names. Besides, they may fake valuation reports as a way to devalue the property. These are serious offences that could lead to penalties or jail time. 

Misappropriate Funds

Do not mismanage your finances. For instance, avoid gambling or making large impulse purchases as a way to spend money before you split with your spouse. Engage your partner if you would want to make large purchases such as buying a car or house. 

Divorcing partners should check the provisions of previous agreements, work together and consider out-of-court agreements. They should avoid being held in contempt of court, hiding property and mismanaging finances. For more information, contact local property settlement lawyers.