At the end of a relationship or marriage, the property of the parties may need to be adjusted between them to reflect contributions made by each during the relationship, taking into account each of their likely future circumstances. Property taken into consideration may include real estate, shares, savings, cars, business assets and superannuation.
This can be a challenging task if people can’t reach an agreement about the division. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the Family Law Courts have power to alter the interests of each party in property they own. There are a range of matters which the Court must consider before making an order adjusting the property interests of the parties, including:
- Financial contributions – whether direct or indirect, to the purchase, upkeep or enhancement of an asset.
- Non-financial contributions – to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of property;
- Contributions to the welfare of the parties or family – including contributions to the care and support of each other and as a parent;
- Any impact upon the earning capacity of each party as a result of the proposed order;
- Future considerations – including such things as the health of each party, their income and earning capacities and whether either has responsibility to care for or support a child;
- Equity and fairness – whether in all the circumstances, the proposed order is “just and equitable”.
Each case is different and the determinations of the court are based upon many considerations. In addition, the discretion of the Judge is guided by previous decisions made by the courts. While it may seem alluring, there are serious risks associated with informal property settlements. Obtaining legal advice to understand and guard against those risks is essential.
Members of the DDCS team are specialists in property settlements, from drafting agreements to securing complex outcomes in court. We have extensive experience providing key insights into how the legal system operates in this field. Our specialists are both tenacious negotiators and strong litigators, making them an invaluable asset to your matter.