It is common during a marriage or de facto relationship that the husband, wife or partner made a greater financial contribution through their initial contributions to the marriage or relationship, during the marriage and even following separation. When a relationship breaks down, the party who has made a greater contribution may have questions about what they are entitled to.
There are a number of steps to determine a party’s entitlement in a family law property settlement. The first step is to know what the assets and liabilities of the relationship are (see Valuing Property in Family Law Matters). Assets can include items such as the home, bank accounts and superannuation. Liabilities may be the mortgage over the property, credit card debt or even company debts.
The next step is to look at the contributions. There are several types of contributions that may be considered and include:
These can be made directly or indirectly to the purchase, maintenance or renovation of any property of the parties, which can include the deposit for the purchase of the property or where one party pays for expenses such as groceries or utility costs so that the other party can pay the mortgage.
Contributions of this nature can be through a parties’ own labour. Examples include contributions as homemaker and parenting.
Once having determined the property pool and assessed the contributions of the parties, the next step is to review the future needs of the parties that might result in a party getting a greater percentage of the asset pool. Usually, this is the age of the parties, the disparity in income earning capacity of the parties, any health issues which impact upon the income earning capacity and care of any children of the relationship. Having taken these steps, it is then necessary to determine whether the division of property as “just and equitable”.
This is an overview of factors, particularly relating to contributions that will be considered by the Court in a property proceeding. As it is a complex area of law, it is important to get advice from a Family Law Lawyer perhaps even an Accredited Family Law Specialist.
It is important to seek specific advice regarding your circumstances as this fact sheet provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice.