If you and your former spouse/partner are unable to reach an agreement about the division of your asset pool, the Court has the power under the Family Law Act 1975 to redistribute the property of the parties to a marriage or a de facto relationship upon application by either party.
In determining how to divide the asset and liabilities between you and your former spouse/partner, the Court takes the following steps:
1. Identify and value the property and financial resources of each of you at the date when you first began living together, at the date of your separation and at the final Hearing. You and your former spouse/partner are each under an obligation to fully disclose your financial circumstances and are required to exchange all relevant financial documentation.
2. Identify and assess the following contributions made by each of you during the Marriage or De Facto relationship:
2.1. Financial Contributions, such as assets owned at the date of commencement of cohabitation, income earned, inheritances, lotto winnings, loans and gifts;
2.2. Non-Financial Contributions includes things such as renovations, maintenance or repairs a party has undertaken to property, which has added value;
2.3. Parenting Contributions, which includes things such as feeding and bathing young children, helping the children with homework, taking the children to sport, caring for them;
2.4. Homemaking Contributions include tasks such as vacuuming, cleaning, shopping, cooking, washing and ironing.
3. Identify and assess relevant future factors, often referred to as “Section 75(2) factors”. This requires an assessment of the respective needs, resources and earning capacities of each of you in the future.
4. The Court will then consider what percentage of the net asset pool each party should receive and whether that proposed property settlement is just and equitable in all of the circumstances.
Once property proceedings have commenced, this does not mean that you have to conduct your matter all the way through to a final hearing; there will still be opportunities for settlement during the Court proceedings. At every stage of your Family Law matter, the expert Family Lawyers at Edwards Family Lawyers will keep you fully informed of the progress of your matter and advise you as to your rights and obligations under the Family Law Act.
Edwards Family Lawyers can assist you to take advantage of settlement opportunities that will save you the expense and stress of going through a Court hearing. If those negotiations fail, our experienced Family Law Experts are there to provide you with expert Family Law advice and representation in your property settlement proceedings.