Separating – Who gets what?
The Family Court must follow a line of enquiry when assessing your property settlement.
- Identify your and the other party’s existing property interests;
- Decide whether it is just and equitable to make a property settlement order and, if so;
- Look into the past and consider your respective financial and non-financial contributions to your property, plus any contributions as homemaker and parent, and make a preliminary percentage division based on those contributions;
- Look into the future and assess both of your ongoing needs and other factors and decide whether it should make an adjustment to the percentage split in the previous step;
- Make orders that are “just and equitable” in all the circumstances.
You may be surprised to learn that nowhere in the legislation is there any mention whatsoever of percentages or percentage splits! The Court uses percentages simply as a guide to help it decide what is just and equitable.
The Court has to exercise its discretion to determine what orders, if any, it considers appropriate to make.
This is not a precise process and as a result, our job as your lawyer is to advise you about the range of different outcomes you might expect to obtain from the Court.