Partial Property Settlement

In some cases an application to the Court is made for a “partial property settlement” or an “interim property settlement”. This payment is a distribution of property to a party before a final order has been made, and ordinarily acts as a part-payment of the ultimate property settlement entitlement.

What is a Partial Property Settlement?

A partial property settlement is a distribution of property between separated parties in advance of final orders and these payments are also referred to by some as interim property settlements.

As we know, parties entering the Family Court system after separation are in various financial positions. Individuals may receive substantial salaried income, or alternatively, have little to no income at their disposal. Further, individuals may hold substantial cash or property in their own name, or alternatively one party holds the property in their name.

When a party seeks a provision of funds for a particular purpose, a party may make an application to the Court for a “partial property settlement” or an “interim property settlement”. The payment, as referred to above, is a distribution of property to a party before a final order has been made, and the payment ordinarily acts as a part-payment of the individual’s ultimate property settlement entitlement.

When will a Partial Property Settlement be made by the Court?

To be satisfied that a partial property settlement is appropriate, the Court gives consideration to a variety of factors including:

  1. Whether there is a source of property or funds in existence to service such an Order (namely are there funds in a bank account, shares which can be sold to generate funds, a property that neither party seeks to retain and which may be sold to enable available equity to be accessed);
  2. The likely entitlement of a party to a final property settlement division and what that range of outcomes may be for the individual. This is relevant to establish whether the interim advance will prejudice the overall outcomes sought by the parties. Specifically, the quantum of any partial property settlement payment should fall well within the range of outcomes available to that receiving party, on any final hearing; and
  3. Whether there is a just and equitable reason for the need of funds by the party requesting same.

There is no one size fits all approach, and whether a partial property settlement is necessary and available to a party will depend on the individual circumstances of that case.

Noting that litigated Family Court proceedings are taking between 18 months to 3 years to conclude, it is entirely expected that a party may seek to access some of their ultimate entitlement at an interim stage. In many cases, these arrangements are agreed following conferral as to the same and with the benefit of engaging advisors who are focused on outcomes, and narrowing the issues at an early stage.

Need more information and advice?

Please contact Kerr Fels on (08) 6381 9080 to make an appointment for specific advice about your situation.

The information in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon for your family law matter.

About KERR FELS – Divorce and Family Lawyers

Kerr Fels is a boutique law firm practising exclusively in family and divorce law. We offer experience in settling complex financial matters arising from separation involving business entities, trusts and large asset pools, in addition to negotiating simple divorces. We are conveniently located in the Perth CBD.

Our philosophy is to provide client-focused cost effective, efficient and pragmatic legal advice. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need advice about any aspect of separation or divorce.

We are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5.00pm.

We offer the option of video conference meetings for those who are unable to attend in-person appointments.