After a separation there is usually the need for the division of the couple’s assets (property and super) and liabilities. This agreement can be reached mutually without any involvement from the court, apart from applying for consent orders in Family Court to formalise this agreement, or if an agreement cannot be reached then decisions can be made through the court. If the latter option becomes a reality for you during your separation, then it is important to obtain legal counsel to ensure that you are getting your fair share.
Here is some information regarding the property settlement process.
How does the court decide how to divide property and debts?
As everyone’s circumstances are different, there is no clear cut way in which a judicial officer will decide on how to divide your property and debts. Once the evidence has been presented and the unique facts of your case have been weighed, the judicial officer will then make their orders based on what they believe to be just and equitable.
However there are some general principles that are used to help determine these orders and these general principles are influenced by the following:
- Working out your assets and debts; determining what they are worth.
- The direct financial contributions by each party to the marriage or de facto. relationship such as initial contributions, wage and salary earnings.
- Any other financial contributions by each party such as gifts and inheritances from families.
- Looking at the contributions to the marriage or de facto relationship, such as caring for children and homemaking.
- Future requirements – a court will take into account things such as age, health, financial resources, care of children and ability to earn.
We recommend you obtain legal counsel to help you present the evidence that is pertinent
to your case as this can help to ensure that you receive the best outcome.
Does this apply to married and de facto relationships?
Yes, this information applies to both married and de facto couples. In New South Wales, the Family Law Act 1975 describes a de facto relationship as one of either the same or opposite sex living together on a genuine domestic basis.
What are the time limits on starting these proceedings?
In Australia, if you were married then proceedings must be begun within 12 months of the divorce being finalised. If you were in a de facto relationship, proceedings must be begun within two years of the relationship breakdown.
How We Can Help
At Lees and Givney, our dedicated team can help you through this difficult process, working with you to ensure the best outcome for both parties. Give us a call on 02 98161122 to discuss your circumstances and we can help you to take the next steps in this process.