Tina and Ike were married for 15 years. Their marriage was tumultuous and often characterised by domestic violence. Earlier this year Tina decided to leave the marriage after years of unhappiness. She moved out of the marital home and told Ike that the marriage was over.
Tina and Ike both immediately retained respective lawyers to represent them for their Family Law property settlement. Despite negotiating through letters for six months, no progression has been made. Ike’s lawyer only sends sporadic letters that don’t address all the points of negotiation and it’s clear that Ike does not instruct his lawyer correctly. This has led to a stalling of the process.
Tina is concerned that the matter will be prolonged for years as a result of Ike’s half-hearted attempts to participate in the negotiations. What can Tina do to ensure Ike’s involvement and consequently move the matter toward a resolution?
Different options with property settlement
Tina and her lawyer could invite Ike and his lawyer to mediation. The mediation could possibly be undertaken as an informal mediation/round table conference with the parties and their respective lawyers, or they could attend a formal mediation with a qualified mediator overseeing the negotiations.
This can be a good option for parties to reach a resolution and resolve all of their outstanding matters without the need for litigation. Tina and Ike could finalise their matter after mediation through Consent Orders or a Binding Financial Agreement.
In circumstances where Ike has not effectively participated in pre-litigation negotiations, Tina has every right to initiate court proceedings. Generally, prior to court proceedings the parties should attempt pre-litigation negotiation or mediation in an effort to resolve the dispute without the Court’s intervention.
To initiate proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court (the jurisdiction that most commonly deals with matrimonial and de facto property settlement disputes) Tina, with the assistance of her lawyer, must pay the relevant filing fee and file the following documents:
- An Initiating Application;
- An Affidavit;
- A Financial Statement.
Ike will then need to file his responding documents and both parties will be expected to comply with the court orders and time lines to ensure their matter progresses as expeditiously as possible to a resolution, or ultimately a Trial.
If Tina and Ike’s property pool is less than $500,000, she may initiate proceedings in the PPP500 List as a more cost and time effective option to finalising her property matter through litigation.
It is important for many people to be able to finalise their property matter and move on with your life as soon as possible after a breakdown of relationship. Contact our experienced and friendly Family Law Team at Andersons Solicitors to assist with resolving your property