There are many common myths about property settlement in Australia. Everyone has a story about their friend being taken to the cleaners, or have been told that as soon as a new partner sets foot in their house they are entitled to 50% of everything.
The truth is that in Australia, what each person in a relationship is entitled to in a property settlement following separation or divorce is entirely dependent on that individual couple’s history, and current circumstances. There is no one size fits all amount.
In Australia, property settlements are worked out in the following steps:
- Calculating the property pool to be divided: This can include real estate, superannuation, savings, furniture and effects, businesses, shares, anything of value that either party own. We then deduct the liabilities of the couple to calculate a net figure to be divided.
- Valuing the contributions each party has made. This includes financial and non-financial (such as caring for children or manual labour renovating a property) contributions, as well as inheritances, gifts, or other lump sums received before, during or after the relationship.
- Looking at which of the parties has the higher ‘future needs’.
After considering each of these steps, we come to a percentage figure that each party is entitled to and we apply that to the net property pool.
Each couple has different circumstances, different levels of contributions, different future needs, so each couple will have a different outcome in a property settlement.
It is essential that you seek legal advice early following separation to ensure that your share of the property pool is not diminished and that you do not agree to less than you are entitled to.
At DFL, we attempt to resolve the matter by negotiation first. If suitable we encourage you to obtain advice from us as to your entitlements and then use that knowledge to directly negotiate with your spouse. Of course, if that does not work, or is not suitable due to issues of domestic violence or intimidation, we can negotiate with your spouse for you.
Court is an option of last resort for us, however we will not shy away from assisting you to take your matter to court if it is necessary.