After sharing a life together, it can be difficult to decide how to divide property between parties to a marriage or in a de-facto relationship, therefore making it uncommon to fall into a dispute about dividing the property accumulated during the relationship.

The court in deciding a fair and just property settlement takes into consideration the following:

(1) Net asset pool & Valuation of assets

Valuing all assets, liabilities and superannuation entitlements that both parties have an interest in – whether jointly, individually or with other people.

(2) Contributions

Contributions include those that were made at the commencement of the relationship, during the relationship and after separation.

• Financial contributions
Direct financial contributions, such as salary or wage earnings
Indirect financial contributions, such as gifts or inheritances from family.

• Non-financial contributions
Direct non-financial contributions (for example, if either party acts as the project manager for the building of a new home or renovations to a property, or assists with
renovating part of the property)
Indirect non-financial contributions (for example, if the father of one party builds a deck on the current property).
Homemaker and parenting contributions
Initial contributions, or assets brought into the relationship initially by one party, often fades away over time and particularly so in a long-term relationship.

(3) Identify future needs factors

Future needs factors include:

• The age and state of health of each of the parties

• The income, property and financial resources of each of the parties and the physical and mental capacity of each of them to engage in appropriate gainful employment

• Whether either party has the care or control of a child of the marriage or de facto relationship

• Commitments of each of the parties that are necessary to enable the party to support themselves and a child or other person that the party has a duty to maintain

• The responsibilities of either party to support any other person (for example, a new de facto partner or spouse)

• The eligibility of either party for a pension, allowance or benefits

• A standard of living that in all the circumstances is reasonable

• The extent to which the payment of maintenance to the party whose maintenance is under consideration would increase the earning capacity of that party (by enabling them to take a
course or establish himself or herself in a business or otherwise obtain an adequate income)

• The extent to which the party whose maintenance is under consideration has contributed to the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the other party

• The duration of the de facto relationship and the extent to which it has affected the earning capacity of the party whose maintenance is under consideration

• If either party is cohabiting with another person and, in particular, the financial circumstances relating to that cohabitation

• any fact or circumstance which, in the opinion of the court, should be taken into account.

(4) Just and Equitable

The Court will consider whether the adjustment that is sought, and the means by which this adjustment is to be achieved are suitable in the circumstances or whether a disadvantage is likely to arise for one or both of the parties.

If you need further advice from our expert family law team, please contact us on 1300 749 709 to see how our experienced team can assist you.