Thursday, 19 May 2016

How do you divide property when a relationship breaks down? Consider the family law four step!

It is with regularity that family lawyers are buttonholed at social events to provide some impromptu advice to someone going through a property division.
What is consistent through these conversations is how little many people understand of the process, how much people cobble together their own solutions based on what is ‘fair’, and how infrequently lawyers are consulted at an early stage to provide some guidance and frameworks for discussions between parties.
I can recall a matter that was brought to me where the parties had been spending an inordinate amount of time dividing and ascribing value to each and every item of furniture or household appliance and dividing these in a way that was reflective with their respective incomes; but had no idea that they might be entitled to some of each others’ superannuation, a significant oversight that would have resulted in one party missing out on almost $100,000 of superannuation.
So what is the broad overview of the process that family lawyers will apply?
  1. Identify your assets, liabilities and superannuation as at present. This is commonly called the ‘asset pool’
  2. Identify what contributions were made into the relationship, including both financial and non-financial contributions. This will mean knowing what you had at the beginning, what you had at the end, and how you got between those points.
  3. Identify what your and your partner’s future needs are – whether they relate to income disparity, care of children, ill-health and medical costs, or your age.
  4. Determine whether it is just and equitable to proceed with any alteration of your existing legal rights at all, as well as whether the final result as determined by the above 3 steps results in an outcome that is just and equitable and also practical.
These steps are simple in some senses but as with everything, the devil is in the detail of the implementation and the ‘edge cases’.
Consulting a family lawyer early for guidance to inform your discussions, identify any problematic issues and define your expectations is one of the most sensible investments of your money post separation you can make.
Call our family law team on 03 9614 7111 or email

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing the article. It is very precise and easy to understand. Sometimes partners feel going to lawyers expensive in the initial stages which might turn out expensive for one of the parties later. Divorce Lawyer Parramatta