Generally, a property settlement in a divorce is the division of shared assets such as joint assets, superannuation, interests in a business, and properties. But because of TV programs and movies, there is a common misconception that a property settlement simply means losing half of everything or the whole of it. The reality, however, is that property settlement involves more than who gets what after the divorce. Every couple's situation is different and the Courts have a specific formula they follow to determine what each party is entitled to in a property settlement.
The divorce lawyers at Marino Lawyers advise clients based on the Courts' formula and their personal experience in handling similar cases. The Family Law Act establishes a number of factors to be considered in determining how assets should be divided. They include:
Identifying the Asset Pool
A couple's asset pool basically is what will be divided between them. This includes vehicles, houses, businesses, savings, and superannuation as well as liabilities (mortgages, loans, credit cards), regardless of whether they are registered in individual or joint names. Both parties are required to disclose their financial situation. If a value of an asset is uncertain, an expert is called to determine it.
Contributions can be financial (loans, gifts, inheritance) or non-financial (taking the bulk of domestic duties or raising the children). The court considers the contributions made by the couple throughout the relationship.
Future Financial Needs & Position
The Court analyses the future needs and positions of each party. This can include health needs, income disparity, and child care. Adjustments are then made in favour of one party accordingly.
Just and Equitable
After taking into consideration the first three points, the Court then determines if the adjustments made are 'just and equitable' for both parties. The Court then decides what percentage of the asset pool each party will retain. The assets and liabilities will be split according to those percentages.