For some people figuring out what the law says about who is entitled to what property at separation is easy. For others, it isn’t. The other thing to consider is that the law may provide an answer that doesn’t create the best outcome for the family and may not be what either party wants.
The law says that for married and de facto couples the Court should apply a 4 step process. Some lawyers argue that it’s now 5 steps, some say it’s really 3, but all agree that broadly what the Court needs to do is:
- Assess and value the asset pool;
- Assess and weigh up each party’s contributions;
- Assess and weigh up each party’s future needs;
- Make an Order that is just and equitable.
Where it can get hard is if there is debate about what is in the asset pool. Maybe there’s property owned by other people or businesses that need to be valued. Sometimes people argue about the property being quarantined or ‘add-backs’. The answer to these questions will depend on the facts of the case. It can also be hard to weigh up contributions in some cases. Sometimes there are issues about the real value of what property a party owned at the start or what they brought in during the relationship (or wastage). Then it can be hard to weigh up what each party’s future looks like and what that should mean in the case.
We can help you with all of these questions. We can tell you about the law and what the case law says and we can help you generate alternatives if that would be better for you.
For most people, a property settlement is a once in a lifetime experience and it can be one of the biggest, most difficult and most confusing financial transactions they ever do. Getting accurate and clear advice and having a complete understanding of what the options are is vital. We can help you.