Whether you are ending a de facto relationship, or a marriage, the Family Law Act provides for a “just and equitable” division of the assets and liabilities that belong to both you and your former partner.
We regularly assist clients who have interests in corporate entities and trusts, including both in Australia and overseas. Where necessary, we diligently work with accountants, valuers, financial planners and commercial lawyers to assist you in understanding the real-world outcome of your family law settlement (including immediate and possible future taxation implications).
So that we can give you advice as to what you are likely entitled to in a property settlement, we will ask you to turn your mind to some key questions, such as:
What assets and liabilities are currently in your name and possession?
What assets and liabilities are currently in your former partner’s name and possession?
What assets and liabilities are held by you and your former partner jointly?
Who contributed what during the relationship? This will include financial contributions, non-financial contributions and contributions as homemaker and parent.
Did either you or your former partner bring any significant assets to your relationship at its commencement?
What was the length of your relationship?
Did either party receive any lump sum payments during the relationship, such as inheritances or redundancy payouts?
Do either you or your former partner have any health issues that might impact your capacity to work in future?
What is your and your former partner’s expectations as to your respective income earning capacity moving forward?
Who has majority care of the children?
We can use the answers to these questions to advise you of what percentage division of the net asset pool you can expect going through the property settlement process (this advice is usually provided as a range of percentages). We can then work with you to determine how each asset and liability might be allocated to give effect to that percentage division and ensure that the final allocation is just and equitable.
Once you have worked through this process with us, you will have a clear idea of what expect from your property settlement and what your goals are in this regard. We can then commence negotiating with your former partner or your former partner’s lawyer to reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, arbitration or the Court process is available to you.
If you are ending a relationship and think you need to give effect to a property settlement, it is important to note that there are time limits on getting it finalised. If you have been in a de facto relationship, you need to have achieved property settlement by agreement or have initiated proceedings in the Court for property settlement orders within two years of the date of separation. If you are or have been married, you have twelve months from the date of your divorce.