Edwards Family Lawyers can assist you and your spouse/partner to come to an agreement in relation to all financial matters and issues arising from the breakdown of a relationship, including the division of all assets and liabilities, spouse maintenance payments, superannuation splitting orders and child support departure Orders. Those arrangements can be formalised and secured by way of Consent Orders, a Binding Financial Agreement or both, depending upon the circumstances and the settlement reached. Our expert Family Lawyers are able to assess each individual situation and advise on the most advantageous method to achieve settlement and financial finality.
When parties are unable to reach agreement after assisted negotiation, and the commencement of Court proceedings becomes necessary, our expert Family Lawyers have the knowledge, experience and expertise to guide our clients through this process, and to represent them throughout the proceedings to a final hearing before the Court.
For married couples, an application for property orders can be commenced at any time after separation. However, if the party applying for orders
is already divorced, then any such application must be made within 12 months from the date the Divorce Order became final, otherwise the leave of the Court must first be obtained. Obtaining leave is not guaranteed, can be difficult, and will involve a separate application to the Court. Therefore any person who has obtained a Divorce Order, and wishes to seek property or other financial orders, should seek legal advice as soon as possible to ensure that any such application is filed within the period specified by the Family Law Act.
De Facto parties must apply for property orders within 2 years of the breakdown of the relationship. After that period, they can only apply for Court Orders with the leave of the Court.
In advising our clients as to their entitlements, our expert Family Lawyers apply the steps that would be taken by the Court pursuant to the Family Law Act in determining a suitable division of the matrimonial assets.
The first step is to identify and value all of the property, liabilities and financial resources of the parties to the marriage or de facto relationship. When determining how to divide the parties’ assets in a manner that is just and equitable in the circumstances, the next step that the Court will take is to assess the contributions made by each party to the asset pool including:
- Direct financial contributions (for example, assets owned at the date of commencement of co-habitation, income earned or mortgage repayments)
- Indirect financial contributions (for example, gifts, windfalls and inheritances)
- Direct non-financial contributions (for example, repairs and renovations to matrimonial property)
- Indirect non-financial contributions (for example, the care of children by one party which enabled the career advancement of the other party)
- Contributions to the welfare of the family including contributions as homemaker and parent
The Court will then determine whether any adjustment should be made in favour of either party, having regard to the future financial and other needs of each party, and each party’s capacity to meet those needs taking into account the following factors:
- The income, property and financial resources of each part
- The physical and mental capacity of each party for appropriate gainful employment
- Whether a party has the care and control of a child of the marriage who has not yet attained 18 years of age
- Commitments of each party that are necessary to enable that party to support themselves or a child or another person that that party has a duty to maintain
- Responsibilities of either party to support any other person
- The eligibility of either of party for a pension, allowance or benefit under any Commonwealth or State law or under any Superannuation Fund or scheme
- The standard of living and whether in all the circumstances this standard is reasonable
- The duration of the marriage and its effect on the earning capacity of either of party
- The need to protect the party who wishes to continue their role as a parent
- If either party is cohabiting with another person, the financial circumstances relating to that cohabitation
- Any Order made or proposed to be made for property settlement
- Any child support that either party has paid, is to pay or might be liable to pay in the future for a child of the marriage
- Any facts or circumstances which the justice of the case, in the opinion of the Court, requires to be taken into account
At Edwards Family Lawyers, our expert Family Lawyers will obtain your instructions taking into account all of the matters set out above to enable us to effectively advise our clients as to their contribution based entitlement, and the likely adjustment, if any, the Court could make in their case, depending on the above factors.
Contact us for more information concerning these issues.