Property Settlement

If you're seeking advice from a family lawyer, it's likely that you are going through a challenging and stressful life event. If children are involved, its imperative that the matter is handled with extreme care and professionalism.

Property Settlement

Property settlement refers to the division of assets and liabilities following the breakdown of a marriage or relationship.

The implications of the term “what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is ours” is perhaps never fully understood until a long-term relationship has irretrievably broken down.

Whilst the term may be romantic and sentimental to a couple during a blissfully peaceful relationship, the irony behind it is not lost on those who are in the midst of a property dispute post-separation.

Property (and debt) accumulated before, during and sometimes even after separation is deemed to be “matrimonial property”. Any and all property of the relationship (despite who has legal title or legal ownership of that property) is considered to be matrimonial property.

Broadly speaking, matrimonial property can include houses, motor vehicles, superannuation and business and commercial structures (including joint ventures and complex trusts, shareholding arrangements, and even copyright or patent rights).

Once the net position of the matrimonial property pool has been determined, the Court will then determine how the pool is to be divided between the parties, taking into consideration the following:

  1. The financial and non-financial contributions of each party towards the acquisition, maintenance and preservation of the property. Non-financial contributions such as that of a homemaker is considered equal to that of the breadwinner;
  2. The age of the parties and their state of health, their current and future commitments and responsibilities, their current income and whether they are capable of earning any income in the future; and
  3. Whether the proposed division is just and equitable in the circumstances of the case.

Whilst viewed as a mathematical exercise, the division of matrimonial property is not an exact science. Court-based outcomes vary depending on how the Court views the facts of the case.

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