You have mediation booked – but are you ready to talk about how your assets and liabilities are to be divided? In order to prepare for mediation in relation to property division matters it may be helpful to consider the following.
In Australia, by way of general overview the following matters are taken into account in determining how the assets of a couple should be divided following the end of their relationship:
- The market value and the identity of the owner of the assets and liabilities held by the parties.
- The contributions of a financial, non-financial, homemaking and parenting nature each party has made toward the acquisition, conservation and improvement of the assets now held.
- The needs each party has for the future taking into account matters such as their income, earning capacity, age, state of health, the care of children, child support, any cohabitation or pre-nuptial financial agreement and other matters considered relevant under the Family Law Act.
- Taking into account all of the above matters, what would be just and equitable in all of these circumstances.
Applying that to your mediation means that you should have attended to the following before mediation:
- Obtain information about the assets and liabilities (including superannuation) that each party has/says the other has;
- Obtain information about incomes – source/s and amount;
- Obtain up to date values of all significant assets and liabilities (including valuations by experts where appropriate) – even if not agreed;
- Obtain source documents that support any contributions that you say you have made;
- Exchange relevant documents about the above;
- Obtain preliminary loan approval where you will require finance to effect a settlement (e.g. refinance an existing mortgage and/or payout the other party); and
- Put the super fund on notice of any proposed super splitting order.
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