Contrary to urban myths there is no presumption that property should be divided 50/50, 60/40 or in any arbitrary proportion. The Family Law Act sets out the factors which must be taken into account when a Judge has to consider how property is to be divided.
The Family Law Act 1975 sets out the general principles the court must consider when deciding financial disputes after the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship. There is no universal formula to apply as a property settlement is based on discretionary criteria. Beware of advice received from well meaning friends or family as a result of their own experience. Each person’s situation is unique.
The factors which the Family Law Act specifies must be taken into account are as follows:
- Whether any proposed property settlement is fair and equitable in the circumstances, and if so:-
- The current value of the property concerned and the extent of any liabilities
- The direct financial contributions by each party – the assets and savings owned at the commencement of the relationship
- The indirect financial contributions by each party – gifts and inheritances
- The non-financial contributions to the marriage or defacto relationship – caring for children, being the homemaker and maintaining or improving the property
- Future needs in relation to age, health, financial resources, care of children and income earning capacity
The way your assets and debts will be shared between you will depend on the individual circumstances of your case. Your settlement will most likely be different from others you have heard about.