If you and your spouse have separated, or are thinking of separating, you may be wondering whether you should, or whether you even can, sort out your property settlement during COVID-19 lockdown.
The answer in almost all cases is: Yes. Yes you can still enter into a legally-binding property settlement during lockdown. And yes we would recommend that people settle their property/financial matters sooner rather than later, as the passage of time usually makes things more complicated and “messier” if you haven’t had a property settlement.
The need to sort out your property settlement is no more pertinent than during our current pandemic, and there are several things that you should consider:
- property prices are particularly unpredictable. The pandemic has likely affected property prices which in turn could affect the size of the property pool to be divided between you and your spouse. It could also affect one’s ability to refinance, if for example, one of you would like to keep the home.
- many people’s jobs have been affected. If you or your spouse’s employment has been affected, this could affect the way your case is assessed as to what percentage of the assets are divided between you and your spouse.
- many businesses have been hard hit. This could affect the value of your business and in turn, the size of the property pool to be divided between you and your spouse.
- the family law courts are experiencing significant delays with no signs that this trend will reverse any time soon. The more pressing cases (for example, those involving children or urgent matters) take priority over non-urgent property cases. It is all the more important to sort your property matters out now so that if it becomes apparent that Court intervention is required, that action is taken to get into the queue as soon as possible. There’s now even more reason than ever to consider alternative forms of dispute resolution to resolve their property/financial matters, such as mediation or arbitration.
Even if you are hesitant to change or upset the status quo, it’s important to at least seek out sound legal advice about your rights and entitlements, ways to protect yourself and pitfalls, especially in these uncertain times.
We are able to meet with you to provide you with this advice via videocall or phone and let you know the things to look out for and ways to best protect yourself.
Click here to get in touch online or contact one of our family lawyers on 9803 5673 for an obligation free chat.