Updated: Dec 4, 2020
FamilyProperty is partnering with Legal Aid NSW to deliver a unique digital solution in the Commonwealth Property Mediation Pilot. The Pilot will help separating couples with small property pools, particularly where the significant asset is superannuation.
FamilyProperty was selected as a solution for managing family law property matters; it also has unique tools built specifically for family mediators. This solution will empower lawyers, mediators and separating couples to work collaboratively towards a timely and cost-effective resolution of property disputes.
Legal Aid NSW have run an external lawyer training in conjunction with FamilyProperty to show the lawyers how the new Property Mediation Pilot will work, and how to use FamilyProperty within that Pilot. If you would like to receive a copy of that training, including the video and the slides, then you can sign up to receive it here.
The funding for the Pilot is under the Commonwealth’s Women’s Economic Security Statement (WESS), ensuring that women who cannot afford private solicitors can still access the family law system.
Currently in Australia women retire with on average 42% less superannuation than men, and 1 in 3 women in Australia do not have any superannuation (2018 WESS). Women who have taken time out of the paid workforce to take on primary responsibility for childcare and domestic labour are in a vulnerable financial situation following separation. By contrast, their partner may have been able to progress their career and achieve relative financial security.
Whilst property settlement can go some way towards redressing this imbalance, many people face barriers in resolving their property matters. Access to private solicitors is limited where the asset pool is small, particularly if superannuation is the main asset. Women who have experienced domestic and family violence are often left without a safe option for resolving their property matter.
The overarching aim of the Pilot is to provide people with a means of resolving their property matter in a way that is safe and fair. A more generous means test enables more people to access legal assistance. In addition, the eligibility criteria for the Pilot specifically targets clients who would have difficulty negotiating a property settlement due to experience of family and domestic violence, disability, homelessness and other vulnerabilities.
The partnership with Legal Aid NSW and FamilyProperty has seen the creation of an innovative solution that streamlines a typically complicated and expensive process.
The original idea
The original idea for FamilyProperty started with Professor Patrick Parkinson AM and a plain English questionnaire designed to easily capture all information required for a family property matter. Since launching FamilyProperty in March 2019, Fiona and Tim Kirkman have significantly expanded the product to make it easy for lawyers, mediators and separated families around Australia to collect and disclose information and documents, model and compare property settlement splits and document agreements.
FamilyProperty and Legal Aid NSW
This focus on helping the client to better access information and understand their own matter fits well with Legal Aid NSW’s needs, and the time-saving benefits of the automation inside of FamilyProperty mean that more time and funds can be directed to helping more families.
During the training of FamilyProperty of over 250 internal and external Legal Aid NSW lawyers and mediators, the product has been praised for its innovative interactive balance sheet, the time saving through automation, and the more visually appealing and user friendly way that the information can be shared with the parties.
Fiona Kirkman, CEO of FamilyProperty and Specialist Family Lawyer and Mediator, sees this solution as a way to increase access to justice for some of Australia’s most vulnerable people, and provide a framework for how property settlements may be handled in the future.
Want a copy of the training?
Did you miss out on registering for the external lawyer training, but you would still like a copy?