Firstly, you should congratulate ourselves on overcoming what can be a tremendously difficult and emotional hurdle for many. Secondly, you should contact a family law lawyer as an informal agreement, regardless of how comprehensive it is, is not legal binding. Formalising the property settlement agreement is very important, as :
1. It has the nature of a final settlement, meaning that neither of you can change your minds and ask for a second bite at the cherry in the future;
2. Is a legally enforceable documents, which means that you can use the document to ensure that transactions occur even when the other party is refusing to cooperate.
3. Provides tax concessions and rollovers, if certain assets are being transferred from one party to the other.
Overall, formalising the agreement provides you with the security of knowing that you have had legal advice about the fairness of the agreement, and that the agreement will not be easily cancelled or overturned.
There are three methods by way property settlements can be reached, and each of those are reliant upon effective and accurate legal advice and expertise.
The methods are:
1. Application for Consent Orders
2. Binding Financial Agreement
3. An Order of the Court, as a result of an hearing or consent orders.
Application for Consent Orders
If you have come to an agreement, you can avoid the stress of a court case altogether. The agreement can be recorded by way of consent orders lodged with the court. This is an administrative process and will not require you to attend court. The Court will review the application and if approved, will issue formal orders.
Binding Financial Agreement
Alternatively, should you wish for greater scope of negotiation, perhaps to deal with issues related to your property but not necessarily within the scope of Court order, you can have your agreement recorded in a Binding Financial Agreement. This agreement is a private contract between you and your former partner, and has to meet certain strict legal requirements.
Once a case has been started, you can end the case at any time if you both agree to the terms of the settlement. If an agreement still cannot be reached, how your property will be split will either be determined by a Judge (after a hearing) or by an arbitrator (after arbitration)