One of the biggest family law myths is that all property assets will be divided 50/50 after separation. We wish it was that simple, but the truth is there are a number of factors which come into play after a separation when it comes to dividing property.
There is no rule or presumption that you have to divide your property equally following separation.
In fact the final division of your property depends on many different factors including, but not limited to:
- The length of your relationship;
- Your financial contributions;
- Your non-financial contributions, and
- Your current and future needs.
One of the biggest challenges is accurately quantifying both the financial and non-financial contributions each party makes to the relationship. What items should be included? What items should be excluded? For those items included how do we quantify value? And what guidance does the law provide?
Typically financial contributions are easier to identify and quantify. What financial assets did you each bring to the relationship? Financial contributions include things like savings, motor vehicles, investments, property including loans or mortgages. furniture, superannuation and cash. What financial assets did you contribute throughout the relationship? This might include things like wages or business earnings, an inheritance, gifts from parents or others, or even an unexpected windfall such as winning the lottery.
Determining the value of a non-financial contributions can be a little more challenging. Did one partner stay at home whilst raising a family to enable the other partner to work or run their business? Did one partner provide care to the other partner, and forfeit paid work in doing so? Did one partner provide services for free to the other partner (i.e. doing the books for their partners business). All of these things potentially have a value in determining each partners contribution to the relationship.
In addition to assessing the financial and non-financial contributions of each partner in the relationship there is at least one other major factor which comes into play. What are your current and future needs? Things which would need to be considered include factors like your age, health, whether you are providing care for children under the age of 18 years, the children’s health, your employability, years to retirement, whether you’re on a pension or a benefit and the list goes on.
Even then we’re really only scratching the surface of what things might become a factor in arriving at the final division of property for each party. So the odds of a simple 50/50 property division are less likely than you might think.
Even though this might seem confusing and somewhat overwhelming just know that the team of family law experts at King Cain can remove the confusion and overwhelm and have you focused on mapping out your future. To find out how you can receive the property division you’re entitled to contact the team on 1300 449 500 to make an appointment to speak with an expert, or click here to fill out a form and we’ll contact you.