When couples separate or divorce and where they have acquired, preserved or improved property, then they will often seek a property adjustment or division of their assets.
Most people want to make sure that their property rights are protected and that they get a fair deal.
Under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) the definition of property is wide and includes the house you live in, shares, cars, business and assets held in a trust and even superannuation.
Property in any separation or divorce matter is divided according to principles of the Family Law legislation. Under this legislation, there is a general step by step approach that is used to work out what you may be entitled to.
Identify the current assets and financial resources of the marriage or relationship. This means that all property, which includes real property and personal property be identified and valued. Property also includes superannuation, shares and any other financial resources that are available to you.
Step 2 looks at the contributions made by both parties to the purchase improvement and preservation of their assets. Contributions include assets brought into the marriage or relationship. It also includes contributions directly to the assets by income earnt. If for example, one person was a home maker or stay at home parent, then this contribution will be considered and acknowledged.
Step 3 considers what each party will need in terms of financial support or security in the future. Sometimes, one person, may need additional support because they are unable to work due to caring for and raising children or illness or because they have been out of the work force for some time. These factors must be considered.
In step 4, after considering the range of factors, we determine whether the division or adjustment of the property is just and equitable and whether the property each person receives is a fair distribution of the assets of the relationship.
Sometimes, property settlement family law matters can be very complicated, especially where there are assets overseas, or assets are held in company or trust structures or where money has been inherited, gifted or loaned.
It is understandable if you feel upset or concerned that you will not get a fair deal or your ex-partner will take property that was bought into the relationship by you.
For all property and financial matters, we have the knowledge, the experience and the ability to protect your interests and guide you through what can be a confusing and difficult process.
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