Property

Property Settlement Between Divorcing Spouses Is Often a Complicated Matter

One of the tricky parts of divorce, and one that can lead to a lot of disputes and heartburn, is property settlement. Not that the breakup of a marriage, often, of many years, custody of children, alimony, child support are any less vexing issues. In many cases, the couple getting divorced will have jointly owned property, and this further complicates the matter and requires a property settlement be arrived at that is mutually agreed to by both parties.

Property settlement is often the most complicated aspect of the process of divorce, and once a couple is mutually separated, they require to undertake the settlement process within a year of being granted the divorce. Settlements can take a couple of years or more, especially in cases where both the couple have been partners in the acquiring of the property, and it requires proving how each has contributed. Another vexatious issue that complicates property settlement is who will be allowed to live in a home that was jointly owned. In cases, where children are also involved, preference is given to the mother, and this can influence child custody matters. A solution is always available where the property can be sold, and the proceeds divided equally, or proportionate to the individual contributions made for its earlier purchase. Other assets like cash and other joint acquisitions may also be part of a property settlement.

Appointing lawyers or mediators to arrive at an equitable property settlement can help the process. However, it is always best if the divorcing couple comes to a solution on their own, and this is what happens in more than fifty per cent of cases. Once the settlement is arrived at, it needs to be translated into a consent order that has to be obtained through a family law court. This gives legal sanction to the settlement and leaves an avenue for action if either of the parties reneges on the agreement made.

Consent orders must spell out in detail, how all the assets and even debts are to be distributed between the divorcing persons. They have to signed by both parties before the court translates it into a legally binding contract. A prenuptial agreement can often clearly define the distribution of assets and is of great help in property settlement agreements.

Complicated property matters are often put up for family dispute resolution through mediation. These mediators are qualified practitioners and will not offer legal advice but will help in arriving at a legally enforceable agreement. Before a couple opts for mediation, they must clearly understand that they will have to face each other, discuss sensitive issues, and above all, show a willingness to compromise. During this process, both the participants have to make a list of the assets and liabilities they have, and their needs for the future. The mediator and lawyers have then to verify the claims and help the couple to arrive at a settlement. The contribution made to the acquiring of assets by each spouse, future expenses and needs also need to be considered, while any property settlement is arrived at.