Property Settlements (Matrimonial & De facto)

Why engage Sheehan & Co. to act on your behalf in relation to your property settlement negotiations?

Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the Family Court has power to make Orders in relation to the division of assets and liabilities of a relationship following a breakdown in the relationship. Such division is called a "property settlement".

The Court  will take a four-step approach in making property settlement Orders in your case, namely:

  • do you and your former spouse/partner own any assets? (assets may comprise houses, land, motor vehicles, shares, insurance policies, money held in bank account/s, furniture, antiques and personal effects of special value... superannuation entitlements,  whilst not technically personal property, can still form part of the property pool for property settlement purposes as the entitlements can be split between you and your former spouse/partner) What debts/liabilities do you have? What are the values of the relevant assets and liabilities?
  • what contributions (financial, non-financial or contributions made in the role of a homemaker and/or parent) have you and your former spouse/partner made to the "acquisition, conservation and improvement" of the relevant assets?
  • what are the future needs of you and your former spouse/partner? The Court's determination in relation to this issue will be influenced by you/your spouse/partner's age, health, financial resources, whether you or your spouse/partner has the primary care of your children and the capacity of both you and your spouse/partner to earn an income; and
  • what adjustment, if any, should be made to the division taking into account what is "just and equitable"?

Queensland Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist Michele Sheehan has assisted numerous clients since 1989 in negotiating satisfactory property settlements on their behalf. We are experienced in handling property settlement negotiations/Court proceedings for both small property pools through to extremely large property pools. We have acted for a broad range of clients having diverse interests in various forms of landholdings (rural, commercial and other) and other assets. 

What is the time limit for commencing Court proceedings for property settlement?


Property settlement proceedings can be commenced at any time after the date of separation up to the date a divorce order becomes absolute (see below).


If, however, a decree nisi (divorce) order has been made by the Court, property settlement proceedings must be commenced not later than 12 months from and including the date of the decree nisi becoming absolute (that is, 1 month after the date on which the decree nisi order is made). It will be necessary to apply for an "abridgment of time" if you wish to commence property settlement proceedings after the expiration of this time frame. That is, you show to the Court that special circumstances exist which warrant the application being made after the expiration of the time limit. 


Our services in this area are tailored to achieve better outcomes for you

We will take full instructions from you for the purpose of addressing each of the factors which will be considered by the Court in the four-step approach set out above. After we have obtained a full statement from you, we will provide you with an opinion as to what we consider is the likely range of the division of the property pool for settlement purposes.

The issue of what is a "contribution" made by you or your former spouse/partner for property settlement purposes is a complex issue and we will provide you with clear advice as to what "contributions" made by both parties will be likely to be taken into account by the Court and what weight is likely to be attributed to each of the relevant contributions by the Court when determining property division.

We will work with you to obtain all the necessary information/documents so that we can conduct proper and meaningful property settlement negotiations with your former spouse/partner or his or her solicitor (but if such negotiations are unsuccessful, such information/documents will later be utilised for the purpose of making full and proper disclosure to your former spouse/partner during property settlement Court proceedings).

Our initial goal is to negotiate a property settlement agreement on your behalf without the need to go to Court. We will endeavour to negotiate your property settlement as expeditiously as possible in order to keep your legal costs to a minimum. The terms of the property settlement will be contained in Court Consent Orders or in a Binding Financial Agreement.  

If the matter is not settled by negotiation or through Family Dispute Resolution process, then the Court will ultimately what is a fair and equitable division of the property.


Make an appointment 

Our office is centrally located within the Surat Basin and we are pleased to meet with clients in person, via telephone or home visit to discuss your legal needs in this area.


 Remember - it pays to get the right advice!