Court proceedings can be lengthy. While waiting for the final outcome, money and property may be tied up when you need it most.
What can be done?
It is possible to apply to the Court during property settlement proceedings for an early release of funds to enable a party to meet their financial responsibilities, including the payment of costs and expenses associated with the proceedings.
When is it appropriate to do so?
There are a range of circumstances where you might consider seeking an earlier share of joint property, including:
(a) Where you may be disadvantaged in preparing your case because you can’t pay for something (including expert reports or legal fees);
(b) Where you need funds for living expenses; or
(c) You need to buy a home in which to live.
How is this done?
An Application can be made to the Court, at the time the funds are needed. This can be early on in the proceedings. The Court has established processes and guidelines to determine whether to make an early distribution of funds. In simple terms:-
1. The Court must be satisfied that it is appropriate to do so; and
2. The Court will act cautiously so as to ensure that it does not release more than the amount to which the party might ultimately be entitled.
How does this affect my final share?
If one party receives an early distribution of funds or property, this will be taken into account in the final settlement. It is not uncommon, if one party seeks access to property or funds, for the other party to also apply for such.
For advice about interim property orders and how to access funds prior to the conclusion of property settlement proceedings, contact one of our expert family lawyers.