Article Category - Family Law 09 October 2020

In February 2020 a pilot program was commenced within the family courts called the Priority Property Pool under $500,000.00 (PPP500). The program's main focus is to expedite proceedings for matters where the total assets of the relationship are less than $500,000.00, therefore reducing legal fees and preserving a greater portion of the total asset pool for the couple themselves.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence conducted by the Victorian Government highlighted an increasing problem faced by the family law courts, that perpetrators of family violence were exhausting the matrimonial assets by dragging out legal proceedings and therefore costing the other party large amounts of legal expenses.

The PPP500 aims to alleviate this problem by accelerating matters where the property pool is below the $500,000.00 and where that property is at risk of being completely consumed by legal costs. It is the aim of the program that matters which have been placed in this designated program would be completed within a year of an application being filed, which is much less than the approximately 2 to 3 years a matter often takes to receive a final judgment.

Since 1 March 2020, there have been 209 matters that have been heard through the PPP500 program and of those matters:

  1. 42 have settled (i.e. both parties have been able to reach an agreement and a courts judgment has not been required);
  2. 67 have not yet been listed before a judge or registrar;
  3. 2 have been listed for a final hearing at which a judge will be asked to decide on the property adjustment.

The other matters have either been discontinued or are currently being managed by a judge or Court registrar for procedural issues or referrals for alternative dispute resolution.

There is great potential for the PPP500 to assist not only victims of domestic violence but also reduce the time delays experienced by others who are just simply unable to reach an agreed property adjustment on their own.

For any questions relating to parenting, property, or separation, please call our experienced team on 1800 650 656. We're here to help you and your family.

Lauren Ryan | Solicitor