How long and how much?
The two most asked questions we get at the start of a family law property settlement matter are, “How long will it take?” and “How much will this cost me?”.
It is impossible to know at the first appointment exact timeframes, even if the party asking the question has made a deal with their ex-partner and are ready to sign because there are too many factors that may affect timeframes.
One factor is that asset pools are increasingly complex. There may be trusts, companies, superannuation funds, SMSF, cash, shares, bitcoin, real estate and rare and unique chattels.
Valuations may be needed, loans may impact more than one asset and third parties may be involved. After receiving legal advice, the parties will have a better understanding of their rights and obligations and whether the division they were considering remains acceptable, or as the Court requires, is just and equitable.
There can also be a financial, power and/or knowledge imbalance between the parties and emotional and other considerations that may be causing barriers to reaching an agreement.
Once an agreement is reached then the formal application will be filed with the Court and usually, you will have your response within weeks. If you do not have an agreement but have identified and valued your assets and liabilities, then voluntary mediation can be arranged immediately.
Estimating costs vary for all the same reasons.
Notwithstanding the issues which may make it difficult to provide timeframes and costs with certainty, having an experienced and knowledgeable team to support you through your family law matter will mean your estimates as to time and cost are likely to be realistic, based on relevant and current experience of the processes and knowledge of resources available.