Case Study:

Family Law

Dividing tangible assets with dignity through a property settlement

No matter how or why a family separation occurs, it always brings with it raw emotion. At some point, the parties were intimately connected and – there are no two ways about this – severing that connection is hard.

You need someone walking with you during that separation who listens to what it is that you need next and has the skill, care and knowledge to guide you on a positive and practical path forward.

Once a couple has decided to go their separate ways, then the tangible assets of the relationship need to be divided. A property settlement allows ex-couples to formally finalise the matters between them, so that they don’t need to continually deal with one another over mutual assets.

At Ezra Legal, we take a pragmatic approach to matrimonial and de facto property settlements. As commercial specialists, negotiation is what we do best. For most ex-couples, settlement by way of agreement allows both parties to move forward with dignity and good conscience. Wherever possible, Ezra Legal strives to achieve negotiated outcomes for our clients, and to avoid the cost, time and pain of the litigation process.

Those sorts of solutions are only possible where both parties are willing to negotiate reasonably. And sometimes they are not. Sometimes people want to use the property settlement process as another tool to hurt their ex.

That’s where Ezra Legal’s legal skills and network of expert advisers come to the fore. We will not abide any attempt to bully or harass our clients and will use all facets of the law to ensure that our clients achieve fair and equitable settlements.

Ezra Legal’s strength is our commercial acumen and our knowledge of complex asset structures. We put this to work for our clients to ensure they understand their entitlements and achieve favourable settlements, allowing them to move on with the next phase of their lives.

Because we are commercial specialists, we do not act in contested children’s matters. We happily work in partnership with lawyers who work in this field, but we play to our commercial strengths for the benefit of our clients.

Our Approach

We recently acted for our client (“Jen”) who had separated from her farming husband “John”, after a long marriage. The children of the marriage were independent adults.

John and Jen had worked together over decades to establish and build the farm and its associated enterprises. The farming properties, worth around $1.5 million were owned by a family trust and John argued that they fell outside the main property pool. He claimed that his assets were minimal and repeatedly offered Jen property to the value of around $95,000 to settle.

Outcomes for our Clients

Because of our understanding of corporate structures, we were able to demonstrate that John in fact controlled the trust as his ‘alter ego’. This allowed us to include the farming properties in the property pool and dramatically change the overall value of the property pool.

Through negotiation with John and his lawyers, we were then able to achieve a fair and just settlement for Jen, which has allowed her to move into her own house with enough funds to re-establish herself for the next phase of her life.

"After years of working 12 hour days, 6 days a week to build the farm, I felt like I was blindly being duped by my Ex when it came to our split. Then Kate and the team at Ezra Legal helped me to unravel the complexity of the arrangements he had put in place, and negotiated a property settlement that was fair to both of us."

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