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How to determine a property settlement?

Hi, I am Ashleigh John from Mullane and Lindsay solicitors. I am a director in our family and Relationship Law team.

I have been working with local families for many years to assist them to divide assets at the end of their relationships.

The process that we consider when dividing assets after separation is set out in the Family Law Act. Essentially there are 5 steps that we follow:

First, it is necessary that is just and equitable to adjust the property, rather than leaving it as it is currently held.

Second, we have to work out what is in the asset pool that is being divided. This includes any asset that either partner holds at the time you reach agreement or the time the matter comes before a court, regardless of how or when it was acquired.

We then consider the contributions that each partner has made to enable the parties to improve or acquire property. This is broken into both financial and non-financial contributions. This can include inheritances, gifts from family, renovation works undertaken to properties by either of the partners and care of children.

We then look to the future, and consider how each of the partners are going to re-establish themselves going forward. These are often referred to as future needs and include considerations such as the age and state of health of the parties, the disparity in earning capacity and responsibilities to care for children.

Once we have considered each of these issues, we must then step back and consider whether that division is just and equitable. Family law is a discretionary jurisdiction, and as a result 2 judges faced with the same fact scenario may come to a different outcome. Provided that the outcome falls within the likely range, the determination would not be overturned.

As you can see there are quite a number of considerations and everyone circumstances different. There is no cookie-cutter answer to a family law property division.

At Mullane and Lindsay we want you to have the necessary information to make an informed decision about your property settlement.  If you have any questions about a property settlement we’re here to help you. Visit our website at www.mullanelindsay.com.au for more information about property settlements and other considerations to safeguard your future.

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