If you are considering leaving your partner, there is likely to be many concerns that can make you feel overwhelmed. One of those concerns may be the uncertainty about what will happen with any property you own.
Understanding how the court approaches the division of a property pool will always be based upon the individual circumstances of each family, however it will largely be based on consideration of the following four steps:
Identifying the net asset pool
The first thing a court does is identify what assets, liabilities and financial resources each party has. Assets may include real estate, bank accounts and items such as motor vehicles. Your superannuation is also included. If either of you have liabilities such as a mortgage, or credit card debts, these are taken into account as well.
Assessing the contributions of each party
Next, the court looks back at the relationship and forms an assessment of the financial and non-financial contributions made by each party to the relationship. Financial contributions will include your income over time, any property you owned at the commencement of the relationship and any lump sum funds received during the relationship. Non-financial contributions include homemaking duties and providing care to any child/ren of the relationship.
Adjustments for future needs
A court then looks at whether either of the parties should receive a percentage adjustment for future needs for things such as one party having a superior income or a greater ability to work and earn an income, the age and health of each party and whether either or both will continue to care for children of the relationship and on what basis.
Is the division just and equitable?
Finally, a court looks back at the first three steps and will decide whether the proposed division of the property pool is "just and equitable". In simple terms, this means is it fair?
It is important to remember that no two relationships are exactly the same, and if you are experiencing a separation or contemplating separating from your partner, you should chat to an experienced family lawyer who can give you all of the information you need to move forward with confidence.
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.