If you're separating from your partner, one of the questions you might ask is, "who will get what, could it be as high or as low as a 70/30 divorce settlement?"
Divorce settlement division is a confusing topic and causes fights among divorcing partners.
In this blog post, we unpacked everything you need to know about divorce settlements and how the Australian Family Court divides them.
Who Gets What?
Contrary to popular belief, the distribution of assets between divorced couples is not 50/50. Many people falsely assume that when couples file for a divorce, they are entitled to half of each other's properties.
However, this is only sometimes the case. The Family Court always aims to make the fairest decision possible when separating divorce settlements.
In some cases, a 70/30 divorce settlement might seem appropriate. But how does the court decide who receives the 70% share and who's left with the remaining 30%?
How Does the Family Court Partition Properties in Australia?
As mentioned, s79 of the Family Law Act gives the power to the courts to determine how a divorce settlement must be portioned.
To fully understand how the court assesses the division of divorce settlement, we'll need to go over each step.
Assigning Value to Assets
In order to divide assets during a divorce, the court must first identify what those assets are.
Both you and your ex-spouse must disclose any joint and individual assets you own, including properties, bank accounts, investments, and other interests. It is also necessary to disclose any debts and liabilities.
The court will take all of this information into account to determine the value of the entire pool of marital assets.
From there, the court will decide on the appropriate percentage split of those assets between the parties.
Evaluating Contributions From Both Parties
In addition to considering the assets and debts of a couple during a divorce, the court will also take into account the financial and non-financial contributions made by each party during the relationship.
Financial contributions may include the income earned by each spouse and any assets acquired with that income.
Non-financial contributions may include things like caring for children or maintaining the household.
The court may consider these contributions when determining the division of assets in a divorce.
Identifying Future Needs
Once contributions are assessed, the court will have to determine each spouse's future needs. There are a lot of aspects the court will have to evaluate to establish this, such as care of children, permanent disability, employment opportunities, earning capacity, etc.
If you have children with your ex-spouse, the court will also consider who will become your children's primary caregiver.
Is a 70/30 split just and equitable?
As the final step, the court will evaluate if their decision was equitable or fair between both parties.
The court may make necessary adjustments if they believe or were presented with viable evidence supporting that their decision was unfair.
How Common Is a 70/30 Divorce Settlement?
A 70/30 divorce settlement in Australia may come about in a number of ways.
Here are some examples of how a court may determine a 70/30 divorce settlement.
- First example: A court may determine that the contributions of the parties was 50/50, and that the wife should receive a 20% adjustment for her future needs, being that she has 3 children and has a much lower earning capacity than the husband. This will result in a 70/30 split.
- Second example: A court may determine that one party has contributed much more the relationship than the other. A husband came into a relationship with significantly more assets and a much stronger financial position than the wife. After a 5 year relationship, the court could determine that the contirbutions of the husband were at 75%, however the future needs of the wife warranted a 5% adjustment on behalf of the wife, resulting in an overall 70/30 divorce settlement.
How Can I Protect My Assets From Divorce?
Many people think they have no control over what they can retain during this process, but the truth is you can protect your assets to a certain degree. One legal tool you can utilize is a binding financial agreement, such as a prenuptial agreement.
If you are separating from your former spouse amicably, both of you can agree on what assets and debts you will divide among yourselves.
An experienced family and divorce lawyer can help you identify the best way to proceed with a 70/30 divorce settlement. They can also help open up various legal options you never thought of.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.