The Family Law Act provides for property settlements between couples who are, or have been, married or in a de facto relationship, including same-sex couples. … In many cases, parties are able to reach agreement about a property settlement with the assistance of their lawyers.
How does a court decide how to divide assets and debts?
There is no formula used to divide your property. No one can tell you exactly what orders a judicial officer will make. The decision is made after all the evidence is heard and the judicial officer decides what is just and equitable based on the unique facts of your case.
The Family Law Act 1975 sets out the general principles the court considers when deciding financial disputes after the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship. The general principles are the same, regardless of whether the parties were in a marriage or a de facto relationship, and are based on:
- working out what you’ve got and what you owe, that is your assets and debts and what they are worth
- looking at the direct financial contributions by each party to the marriage or de facto relationship such as wage and salary earnings
- looking at indirect financial contributions by each party such as gifts and inheritances from families
- looking at the non-financial contributions to the marriage or de facto relationship such as caring for children and homemaking, and
- future requirements – a court will take into account things like age, health, financial resources, care of children and ability to earn.
The way your assets and debts will be shared between you will depend on the individual circumstances of your family. Your settlement will probably be different from others you may have heard about.
We aim to provide the service that is right for you, whether that be simply advising you as to your rights and obligations or assisting you in negotiating a resolution of issues in dispute or representing you in contested proceedings in the Family Court.
Where appropriate we will work with your other advisers, such as your accountant, to achieve a good understanding of all aspects of your case and provide you with the best possible representation.
We can provide advice on property settlement issues under the Family Law Act such as:
- if you and your ex-spouse or ex-partner have reached an agreement as to how you will divide your property, we can assist you by drafting the agreement so as to make it legally binding and enforceable; or
- If you wish to enter into negotiations with your ex-spouse or ex-partner with a view to arriving at a mutually acceptable property settlement, we can conduct those negotiations on your behalf with the other party or his or her lawyer; or
- We can represent you in court proceedings concerning the division of property and any other issues arising in relation to your financial interests that can be dealt with under the Family Law Act.