When your marriage falls apart, the sheer number of things to consider can be quite overwhelming. Among all of the arguing and the back-and-forth, one of the most pertinent challenges you will face is how to deal with your home. You will find that quickly it becomes referred to as ‘the former matrimonial home’. Even this becomes a bit confronting. If you both made an investment in a home and then you split up, discussion needs to be had around what to do with the family home.

This is a very messy process, and often leads to major disagreement. There are really only 3 options. You keep it, your partner or spouse keep it or it is sold – that’s it! Then if neither of you can afford to keep it or want it then the only option is sale. The timing and conditions of the sale of the home can be hard to get right, and you might need to consider taking some kind of action to make sure that you can get what you are owed, and that the process is one that includes you both. If you feel like your ex is not quite living up to their end of the deal and actively engaging in the sale of the former matrimonial home (and possibly deliberately delaying) or you are uncertain about the sale process and feel excluded from the negotiations, then it might be time to consider Family Law Arbitration.


Arbitration is a vital part of the family law legal system. When you can’t agree on a pathway together, Arbitration can be a much clearer and objective way to resolve the matter, especially if it is a discrete issue, just like selling the home.

In the case of selling the former matrimonial home, the Arbitrator would look at the facts about the current living arrangements and financial circumstances of you both and your proposals for how and when the house should be sold and make a binding decision based on what’s in front of them. The Arbitrator can decide what needs to be done in preparation of sale and how it should be paid for, which agent should be appointed, the marketing campaign to be used and whether it should be sold by auction or private treaty. This is legally binding and enforceable.

Most people usually feel that they need to take these specific disputes to Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court and make an interim application only to find it takes way too long to get the house on the market, let alone sold on satisfactory terms quickly. Sometimes, the issue doesn’t even get decided but referred to the trial (because that is only a few months away!).

Things to consider when turning to Arbitration

When you turn to Arbitration you need to consider the following:

* What is nature and value of the asset itself? This will always come into consideration during the process and thus you should spend some time looking into the full value of the assets under question.

* Who legally owns what share of the property? Or who should own what possible share of the property? This is why it is vital to know what you have invested into the home.

* What are the consequential factors involved and the consequences of division? What would each party be left if this was to take place? Who is the mortgage or finance secured over the asset in the name of? Who can afford to meet these on going costs. These factors matter and will likely influence the result that you get at the end.

* What are your non-negotiables? What would you be happy walking away with? What do you think is the way forward and why, how much will it cost and how long will it take?

It’s most likely that there will be much emotion attached to the selling of the matrimonial home, especially if you’ve build it together or it’s been in the family for years. Being open to sell it and aiming to move forward as soon as possible, will see you move on over all with a property settlement quicker than not deciding for yourselves and taking the case through court. Having a Family Law Arbitrator in the room to decide where you can’t, can be quicker, more personal, positive and freeing than waiting on that conveyor belt to a trial. Just imagine having this situation sorted in record time? Done and dusted.

Take the pressure off and call SHAW DR’s Arbitration team to discuss how we can resolve in the next few days.

Let’s Decide!