Quicker & More Cost-Efficient Property Settlements

Dividing property after a separation can be a challenging and difficult process, but one
that is very important to get right the first time so that both parties are able to move on
with their lives.

Many people going through a separation are looking for the quickest and most efficient
resolution to their family law property issues and want to avoid getting tied up in

This is particularly relevant for everyday Australians who may not have substantial
assets to divide, are just wanting to move on with their lives and start fresh, but need to
be able to access their fair share of the relationship assets in order to do so. After all, not
every family law property settlement involves millions of dollars.

What can your lawyer and the Courts do to help?

In order to assist families who do not have substantial assets to divide but have been
unable to resolve the issues in dispute by agreement, the Federal Circuit and Family
Court of Australia have introduced the Priority Property Pools under $500,000 list, also
known as the PPP500 list.

This list is designed to provide access to streamlined, faster and simplified Court
processes for the resolution of small claim property matters, that is for parties with net
asset pools of $500,000 or less.


In order to be eligible for the PPP500 list, the following requirements apply:

  1. The net value of the joint asset pool (including superannuation) is $500,000 or
    less; and
  2. The asset pool does not include any entities such as family trusts, companies, or
    self-managed superannuation funds that require valuation or bring complexity to
    the matter; and
  3. There are no contested parenting issues before the Court.

Features of the PPP500 List

The PPP500 process is designed to encourage litigants to reach their property division
as quickly as possible in cases where they have not been able to do so by mutual
agreement, with guidance from the Court. Cases in the PPP500 List have the benefit of
the following:

  1. Simpler Court forms;
  2. A more focused case management pathway;
  3. Reduced number of Court appearances, where possible;
  4. More in-depth monitoring of orders to ensure compliance and to avoid delays;
  5. More opportunities for resolution at an early stage;
  6. More opportunities for parties to take ownership of the dispute with a focus on
    dispute resolution processes;
  7. Closer involvement in the preparation and case management of a case before
    dispute resolution takes place; and
  8. Proactive referrals to appropriate services.

Court proceedings in the PPP500 List

Both parties must comply with their pre-action procedures before filing an Initiating
Application in the Court. This means that both parties need to make a genuine attempt
to resolve the issues in dispute, including attending a mediation if one can be agreed

To commence proceedings, the initiating party will need to file an Initiating Application
and Financial Summary. Once the documents have been filed, a Registrar may make
orders in chambers for the parties to undertake prior to first Court date, for instance,
orders for the exchange of financial disclosure or the valuation of property.

Once the documents have been filed, they will need to be served on the other party, who
will then have 28 days to file their responding Court documents.

Court proceedings in the PPP500 list can then be broken up into two phases:

  1. The first stage is the Registrar-led phase, which involves case assessment and
    preparing the matter for Alternative Dispute Resolution, including ensuring that
    financial disclosure has been exchanged, valuations have been obtained (if
    necessary) and an asset pool has been agreed to by the parties.
  2. The second stage is the Judicial-led phase. This is where an agreement was not
    reached at the Alternative Dispute Resolution and the parties require judicial
    assistance to resolve their matter.

    Next steps

While the PPP500 list has been designed to simplify and streamline the Court process
and assist parties in resolving their property dispute, family law property matters are often
complex, and it is always advised that potential litigants seek legal advice from an
appropriately qualified family law legal practitioner.

If you or someone you know wants more information or needs help or advice with a family
law matter, please contact our Intake team on (03) 9364 7400 or email us at

This article is intended to provide general information only and is limited to the Victorian
jurisdiction only. You should obtain professional advice before you undertake any course
of action.

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