Property and Finances
At Sydney Divorce Lawyers, we specialise in corporate law and commercial thinking, an expertise which we bring to our family law matters. We have the experience and knowledge to understand complex trust structures and large corporate entities in property settlements.
This expertise means that we can provide creative and effective solutions to family law issues involving high net worth individuals, as well as medium to modest asset pools.
What is the Process for the Division of Property after Marriage Breakdown?
Firstly, if possible then we will try to negotiate with your former partner to divide the assets. If this is unsuccessful, then we can arrange a mediation for you and your former partner. If a mediation is deemed to be inappropriate in the circumstances then the next step will be to apply for the Court to make the order. Litigation can be a drawn out and expensive process, so we will do everything that we can to resolve your matter out of Court.
How will our property be divided when we separate?
The general process when determining the division of assets is that the assets and liabilities of both parties to the relationship are pooled. This will include all real estate, bank accounts, cars, personal possessions, superannuation, as well as credit card debt, mortgages, car loans and etc. The Family Law Act imposes a duty of full disclosure in property matters, which means that you are obliged to disclose all of your assets and liabilities at this stage of the process, and going forward.
The parties’ financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage are then assessed. Financial contributions to a marriage can include the assets brought by each party going in to a marriage, income and assets accumulated during the marriage, indirect contributions such as loans from one person’s parents or inheritances. Non-financial contributions can include things like care of children, cleaning the house, cooking, household repairs, maintaining the garden and etc.
Factors such as initial contributions to a marriage, and greater contributions relative to the assets pool are more significant if the marriage is shorter. A longer marriage and the presence of children, mean that these factors are more likely to be considered a contribution that is equal to both parties.
Anything that has been spent since separation can be ‘added back’ into the asset pool. This prevents parties from attempting to ‘hide’ assets from the former partner, or from spending the assets before settlement.
This stage may require the assets to be valued.
It is important to remember that the Court considers financial and non-financial contributions to a relationship as equally valuable. This means that even if you have not contributed financially to a relationship, then, depending on the length of the relationship, you are likely to still be entitled to a reasonable proportion of the assets.
Current and Future Needs Assessed
Then any current or future needs of the parties must be assessed. This can include things like the age and health, the future earnings ability, care of a child, the duration of the marriage and etc.
Just and Equitable
The final step is that the Court will consider whether the proposed Order is ‘just and equitable.’
At Sydney Divorce Lawyers we recognise that relationship breakdowns can mean a change in lifestyle for you and your children. We will do everything we can to ensure that you receive the share of the assets that you are legally entitled to.