When a relationship breaks down, the property owned by the parties to the relationship will need to be divided. This is done by a process called property settlement. Initially, all of the property owned by either party must be identified and the value determined. Any debts and other liabilities must also be identified.
- Any real estate owned jointly or by either party;
- Motor vehicles, boats etc.;
- Businesses and shares;
- Other household items.
The Court then looks at the parties’ contributions towards the relationship assets, both financial and non-financial. The Court also considers each party’s contribution to the welfare of the family, including any contribution made in the capacity of homemaker or parent. In a long relationship there is a rule of thumb that the contribution to relationship assets is considered equal. In extreme situations it is possible to argue the rule of thumb should not apply.
The third step is to consider future needs factors such as the age and health of the parties, usual standard of living and the financial resources of each party. These factors may result in the Court ordering that one party receives a greater proportion of the assets than their contribution would warrant.
Determining a property settlement is fairly complicated and requires the weighing up of many factors to find out how this applies to your situation give us a call 08 6389 0305 and find out where you stand.