Family Law Update: ‘Priority Property Pools’


 Recently Separated ?

Own $500,000k or less in property ?

Can’t agree how to divide it and may need to go to Court ?

 Read on, this article is for you

Even if your assets are modest, or you don’t think you own anything at all, it is still important to properly document how you divide assets.

It is always best to try and agree matters with the other party about how your property is going to be divided and then sign Consent Orders or a Financial Agreement (if you choose a Financial Agreement each person will need to get their own lawyer).

However, for people who can’t agree on how to divide their assets (or debt) and need to start proceedings in court, a new streamline system is in place in some Family Courts, called the ‘Priority Property Pools’.

Is your case a Priority Property Pool matter?

To be part of this new system, your matter must meet the following criteria:

1.         You must file documents after 1 March 2020 (the ‘Priority Property Pool’ does not apply to matters filed before this date);

2.         The net property of both parties (including superannuation) is $500,000 or less;

3.         There are no business entities or trusts (e.g. companies, self-managed superannuation funds or family trusts)  which may need to be formally valued;

4.         There is no need to ask the Court to make an order for:

(a)       Parenting matters;

(b)       Child support matters;

(c)       Enforcement for parenting or financial issues.

This system will be managed by a Registrar who will ensure that both parties exchange documents and then move to a mediation (or other form of dispute resolution).  The aim is to give the parties an opportunity to settle at an early stage and try to ensure that unnecessary court appearances are done away with.

Joelene is a family lawyer and mediator at McLaughlins Lawyers. If you have recently separated and cannot agree on a property settlement and the total assets to be divided is $500,000 or less, speak to Joelene and she can help guide you through this new court process. You can call Joelene on (07) 5591 5099 to discuss your family law matter.


Author: Joelene Nel

Director: Sophie Pearson

Date: 10 March 2020