In this case, Trent represented a spouse’s wealthy elderly parents. Their son was involved in a heated property settlement in court. His spouse applied to join his parents (Trent’s clients) in the court proceedings. The spouse was trying to claim that their son owned property held in a Trust, which Trent’s clients controlled.
Trent skillfully argued against including his clients in the legal proceedings, effectively preventing their involvement. This crucial defence spared them from enduring a long, costly trial.
Property Settlement – What Does it Mean?
Property settlement is the legal division of assets (‘marital property’) after a divorce or separation. Marital property includes all assets, debts and superannuation you own independently, jointly or held in a family trust or company.
The Family Law Act states that all assets must be divided in a ‘just and equitable’ manner. You don’t always have to go to court to achieve this – it is far cheaper and smoother if you reach a mutual agreement or hire professional help to negotiate on your behalf.
When appropriate, third parties can join property settlement negotiations/proceedings.
Family Law states that “A person whose rights may be directly affected by an issue in a case, and whose participation as a party is necessary for the court to determine all issues in dispute in a case, must be included as a party to the case.”
However, a third party has the right to contest a joinder application if:
- they perceive the reason as weak, or;
- if the application has been filed with malicious intent (seeking information without a valid basis).
In this case, Trent successfully protected his clients by applying proven Family Law expertise and providing robust legal representation.
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