Property Settlement After Separation

Diving assets during a divorce can cause a lot of strife between spouses. That is why wealthy people prefer signing a pre-nuptial agreement before they marry. In some countries, property settlement is usually 50/50 between husband and wife. In Australia, the court has to follow a five-step process to ensure that the settlement is fair regardless of whether the wealth was accumulated in marriage or before. 

  1. Identify all available assets

Assets refer to things like property, vehicles, money, bank accounts, or shares. There are also joint liabilities such as mortgages, loans, credit card balances, and much more. Both parties should also disclose whether they are beneficiaries of a trust or will to their property settlement lawyers in Adelaide. It is crucial that both parties are honest about all their finances and owned wealth both individually and jointly. The court’s decision to include a property in the asset pool depends on the level of control and interest in the asset by either party. 

  1. Is it just and equitable to adjust?

This whole process aims to determine a fair split of property between two people. Before the court can decide which assets to divide, they assess how much each party has contributed, and if it is fair to include the property in the settlement. One thing that property settlement lawyers in Adelaide consider is the length of the relationship and how the property was acquired. If a relationship is short, say less than five years, and the property was acquired individually, it might not be just and equitable to include it in the asset pool. 

  1. Analyze the individual contributions of both parties 

It is important to note here that both financial and non-financial contributions are considered. It also matters if either party has continued to contribute after the separation. You should also note that inheritances fall under financial contributions. Other financial contributions include; gifts, income, assets brought into the relationships, and assets obtained during the relationship.

Non-financial contributions include; unsalaried employment in a family business, property renovations, gardening, and landscaping. Stay-at-home moms or dads are considered a contribution to the welfare of the family. 

  1. What are the future needs of each person?

This is where the court decides how to divide the assets. There are several determining factors such as age and health of either party, employment or income, and other financial resources, and if a child is under the parent’s care. The child has to be under 18 years to be factored in. 

  1. Review whether the proposed division is just and equitable

All things considered, the court will determine whether the assets and liabilities have been divided fairly. If not, the court can make further adjustments under section 75 (2) of the Family Law Act, which can change the result.

It is important to note that there are time limits to property settlement after a de-facto relationship or marriage. It is advisable to seek legal advice as soon as you separate from your spouse.

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