Property and financial settlements are often complex. There is no set mathematical equation which can be applied to determine the split of assets between parties to a marriage or defacto relationship which has ended. In order to determine a just and equitable division of assets between the parties, the Family Law Act 1975 provides that a four step approach is to be taken.
The first step is to identify the net asset pool, which necessitates identifying all assets and all liabilities. Superannuation is also included (although in practice it is often treated as a separate class of assets than non-superannuation assets such as real estate and personal property) and a splitting order can be made such that some of one party’s superannuation entitlements are paid into the superannuation fund of the other party.
The second step is to consider the contributions of the parties. This includes initial contributions, direct and non-direct financial contributions (both routine such as wages/salary and lump sum such as redundancy entitlements, personal injury compensation, inheritance), direct and indirect contributions to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of assets, contributions as homemaker and parent, and wastage by either party to the relationship (wastage is a limited class of negative contribution to the asset pool).
The third step is to consider what are often termed the ‘future needs’ of the parties. Factors such as the age, health, income-earning capacity and responsibility to care for children of the relationship are examined.
Finally, the notional division of assets arrived at through contemplation of the first three steps must be re-examined with a view to determining whether the percentage split appears just and equitable overall.
The specialist skill and experience of your lawyer at Lindbloms Lawyers will be invaluable to secure your financial future. Our family lawyers are experts at analysing property settlement issues. We have worked in many cases which have involved complex financial arrangements including cases where there are trusts, companies, superannuation and asset valuation issues involved.
Where possible, we will assist you to negotiate a property settlement which can be documented as Consent Orders and filed with the Family Court of Australia. This has the benefit of saving time, money and stress on unnecessary litigation. However, where the parties cannot agree as to how assets should be divided, we will assist you to make an Initiating Application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (or in rarer instances, the Family Court of Australia), including drafting, filing and serving Court documents on the other party, and attending Court. If your former spouse has already initiated proceedings, we will assist you in preparing responding Court documents so that your position can be considered by the Court. Where litigation is afoot, we will advise you throughout the litigation process.
Your lawyer at Lindbloms Lawyers will guide you through the process and help get the best possible outcome for you.