How Will COVID-19 Impact My Property Settlement?

Family Law

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DATE PUBLISHED: April 7, 2020

From a family law perspective, the Coronavirus Pandemic (“COVID-19”) may have a significant impact on your property settlement. We have already seen the impact on children spending time with separated parents which we addressed in a previous blog here.  

If you are in the process of negotiating a property settlement or if you already have a formalised agreement, read on.


EFFECT ON PROPERTY SETTLEMENTS:

COVID-19 has adversely impacted the global economy and it follows that property settlements can be impacted because:

  • Property values may drop. This may mean that one person can no longer refinance because of a drop in the value of equity. People may also find it more difficult to refinance when their employment is more uncertain.
  • Superannuation funds may have plummeted. Most people who hold their superannuation in industry funds have their money invested in shares. Some people have higher risk shares which may have dropped even more. This means there is less superannuation to be split in a property settlement.
  • Valuations that were prepared before COVID-19 may be redundant. There is a risk that valuations will need to be updated or re-worked depending on what area the business is in.
  • Valuations prepared during or after COVID-19 may be disputed. It might be difficult to predict future cash flow or profit and parties may argue about whether valuations are accurate. Parties may also argue about when a valuation is appropriate depending on what area the business operates.
  • Longer delays in the Courts. The Courts are working at a reduced capacity. Parties are rarely allowed to attend Court and it can mean you wait longer for a hearing. Parties need to consider going to Mediation or Arbitration to get a quicker result.

We can work with you to make sure that you make the right decisions to receive a fair property settlement.


WHAT IF I HAVE A COURT ORDER ALREADY?

You may already have a Court order or Financial Agreement setting out the terms of your property settlement. You may also be assessed to pay or receive spousal maintenance.

If you have not implanted the terms of your formalised Order or Financial Agreement and now are worried you cannot because your assets have changed you should seek advice about whether it is practical for the agreement to be carried out or if it should be set aside. It is important you get legal advice and we can review any documents and provide you advice on your options.

Contact the Family Law team at McInnes Wilson Lawyers today to book an obligation-free appointment.

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