How to get a financial and property settlement after separating from your spouse?

October 30, 2023

Separation and divorce can be one of life’s most challenging transitions, a complex dance of emotional, legal, and financial threads that need untangling. While this period often brings uncertainty, navigating it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. At the heart of every separation is the opportunity and freedom to design your next chapter. A significant step to plan how you move forward from your separation and divorce is understanding your avenues for a property and financial settlement.

A property and financial settlement after separation is about taking control, being informed, and making decisions that lay the groundwork for your future. It is your opportunity to learn about the finances from your relationship and plan what you need to financially prepare for the future you want for yourself and your children.

At Bespoke Family Lawyers, we understand it can be uncomfortable and overwhelming talking about money and planning for your future, while you’re still grappling with the separation. We also understand that most folks want to avoid a legal battle. Here, we explore the four options that can help you to finalise your financial ties without the costs and stress of a legal battle.

Direct Negotiations with Your Ex

Often, the most straightforward approach to getting a property and financial settlement is direct communication with your former partner. It sounds daunting, but it can be a great option for people who feel confident that they know all the details about the finances (i.e. the assets, liabilities and financial resources of both you and your Ex) and feel comfortable having clear, assertive, and respectful conversation with their Ex.

In direct discussions, the power is in both parties’ hands to shape a mutually beneficial outcome without external influence. You may be able to discuss the interests and benefits of the potential outcomes and options as you negotiate the agreed terms.

The most significant benefit of direct discussions is that it’s cost-effective and typically faster than engaging in a formal negotiated process. It can also foster cooperative post-separation relationships, which can be beneficial for co-parenting as you move forward. If you want some help preparing to start this conversation with your Ex, then you

Remember, knowledge is empowerment. Before entering any direct discussions with your Ex, clarify your understanding of the assets and liabilities, superannuation and other financial resources. You will not be able to have a respectful or balanced conversation if both you and your Ex do not have the same level of financial information available to you. You also need to understand your range of entitlements. It is very easy for people to slip into direct discussions because their Ex has indicated they don’t want lawyers involved. There are many times that this approach is adopted because there is an underlying power imbalance in the relationship dynamic or the information available to each party. You can learn more about the essential financial information and documents you need before you start the conversation with your Ex here.

For you to feel prepared for the discussion, it is helpful and beneficial to have a clear understanding on your range of entitlements, your options and what further information you may need to request as part of your discussions with your Ex. This actually becomes invaluable to the process as it ensures informed decision-making, which is essential for shaping your secure future.

Negotiations with lawyer support

Sometimes, we need someone in our corner, especially when traversing the legal nuances of family law and dealing with such a personal situation as the end of your relationship. Engaging a lawyer for support during negotiations offers guidance, ensuring you’re aware of the legal process, your range of entitlements and your options.

Getting support from an expert family lawyer can help you get clear on the information you don’t know about the finances and to help you uncover how you want to move forward. That is, getting clear on your goals and objectives not only for the property you receive, but also contemplating the funds that you will need to financially support your children and yourself. Coming up with a plan for the life you want to live on the other side of your separation and divorce and what financial outcome you need to support that is such an integral part of planning how you move forward.

This holistic approach is what Bespoke Family Lawyers specialise in when working with our clients. Our strategies and the way we negotiate is built around the life you want to live and achieving a resolution that supports you bringing that life into reality.

The benefits of working with expert family lawyers who have a holistic and resolutions focus is it that it gives you:

  • Expert insight into the legal process, your legal entitlements, and your options.
  • Objective advice that can ease emotional and reactive decision-making so you’re in the position to make thoughtful, and mindful decisions that are aimed at moving you forward.
  • Decision-making and negotiations occur from a strategic framework designed around your goals and objectives and the future you want to build.
  • Enhanced communication and guidance through experienced family lawyers who have a resolutions mindset and focus so you can avoid unnecessary costs and stress.

Our approach at Bespoke Family Lawyers is not about a legal battle. It’s about finding a path that acknowledges everyone’s needs and wants and achieves a resolution that sees everyone moving forward. You can learn a little more about our approach and what to expect in your first Strategic Planning Session with the Bespoke Family Lawyers team here.


When direct discussions or negotiations hit a wall, or there some issues that may require input from an independent third party to get a resolution. When this happens, mediation is the best approach for the parties to engage in meaningful discussions and negotiations in a more structured and intentional environment.

A mediation is a structured process where a neutral third party, the mediator, assists in resolving disputes respectfully. In disputes about property and finances after separation and divorce, the mediator would be an experienced family lawyer or family law barrister and both parties would usually bring their own lawyer with them who would advocate and negotiate for their position.

Leading up to the mediation, the parties would exchange their financial information and documentation and will obtain any valuations for real estate, businesses or superannuation prior to the mediation. This ensures both parties and their lawyers have all relevant financial information available to them and limits any unnecessary discussion about what is available for division.

The Mediation is about finding middle ground, steering away from the adversarial and towards cooperative resolution. In saying this, the mediation will have a legal aspect to it as each party will be given legal advice and guidance by their lawyers to assist with their decision-making and the mediator will provide input around the issues in dispute to facilitate the discussions and moving the parties towards a resolution.

The most significant benefits of mediation include:

  • Encourages both parties to proactively engage in negotiations and decision-making.
  • Cost-effective compared to court proceedings.
  • Gives both parties the opportunity to get financial clarity about the property pool before negotiations.
  • Parties can have a lawyer with them to assist and guide them through the process, to advocate for their needs, concerns and objectives, and to understand their options when negotiating.
  • Parties retain control over the final outcome by coming to their own agreement without input from a Court.

Interested in learning more about mediation, we go into more detail about how a mediation can get you a quicker and less stressful resolution here.

In this setting, fully understanding your financial landscape and what is available for division is crucial. Armed with clear information about the property pool and your range of entitlements, you can enter mediation focused on realistic outcomes that are mutually beneficial and see you and your Ex moving forward.

Court Application

Court should be a last resort and should only become an option if there are safety or urgent issues that require immediate court assistance, or when you have exhausted all other avenues to get a resolution.  At Bespoke Family Lawyers, we are resolutions focused which means we’ll use all the tools in our toolbox to resolve your matter before we recommend a court pathway. Currently, only 3 out of every 60 clients we work with need to engage in a Court process. That is less than 5% of all clients we work with. Of that 5%, every single one of them get a resolution without a Judge having to make the final decision, because we keep negotiating and engaging in dispute resolution to resolve a matter in line with our client’s objectives.

The reason we take this approach is because we see how powerful it can be for parties to have autonomy over how they untangle from their relationship and to determine how they want to deal with their financial and property interests as part of their separation.

However, in saying this, there are times when court is necessary and unavoidable, and some matters need a more structured and formal process to move towards a resolution. A Court environment can be beneficial to some matters where they require a structured framework and timeframes for:

  • Parties to exchange financial information.
  • Joint valuations of real properties, superannuation interests or businesses and corporate entities.
  • Preserving the property pool until there is a final agreement by limiting the sale of assets, preventing the withdrawal of monies without joint agreement, or minimising further liabilities increasing.
  • Seeking interim financial support through spousal maintenance or partial property settlements to pay legal costs or other expenses.
  • Dispute resolution when parties cannot agree on the process themselves, or one party has refused to engage or cooperate in negotiations or a mediation.

If you are in this situation, it is crucial to seek legal advice about your situation and to get guidance from an expert family lawyer to help you navigate the Court. Guidance from a resolutions focused lawyer can help you get the structured framework needed from a Court environment, while also continuing to work towards a negotiated outcome that sees you having input into the final decision and moving forward.

Separation, often steeped in emotion, fundamentally involves creating a new narrative for your life. A big part of that new narrative is financial certainty, independence, and security. The financial settlement process has various pathways, which pathway you choose to take will depend on your level of comfort and confidence around the finances and how much you value having expert guidance throughout the process. Getting a financial and property settlement is about more than just dividing assets…it’s recognising your journey and securing your financial future.

At Bespoke Family Lawyers, we understand the complexity of the separation journey and that it goes beyond the legal aspects. We’ll work with you to get clear on your immediate and long-term goals and we’ll secure you a financial and property settlement that supports you living your best life as you move forward. If you want our expert guidance and support to start over, then book in a FREE 30 minute clarity call with us.

Our expert team of family lawyers would love to help you to move toward the life and future you want to build with clarity and confidence. If you’re ready to map out a strategic plan that moves you forward, book your strategic planning session today or download our helpful free resources.


This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or any other professional advice.

Feeling unsure where to start?

Let us guide you through what’s involved in untangling your relationship and give you the tools to set yourself up to move forward.

Feeling unsure where to start?

Let us guide you through what’s involved in untangling your relationship and give you the tools to set yourself up to move forward.

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