Unfortunately, it is not that simple. There is no magic formula that can be applied and every situation must be determined on its merits. When a property settlement is determined by the Family Court, the Court will consider all financial and non-financial contributions made by the husband, wife or the de facto partners as well as a list of things which are commonly referred to as future needs of each party.
The process of determining the property split.
So how does a Court determine how much property each party is going to receive?
1. Identify assets and liabilities – The first step is to identify all the assets and liabilities of the marriage or the relationship. This includes assets which are held in the names of each of the parties or in joint names, or in the name of a company, a trust or even assets which are held on behalf of the parties to the marriage by a third party such as a relative in some cases.
2. Examine financial and non-financial contributions – Once the assets and liabilities have been identified in full, the Court will examine the various types of financial contributions which have been made by each party. For example, the Court will take into account the wages, dividends, investment income, lump sum payments and even gifts which each party applied towards the property and the general living expenses of the parties. The Court will also look at whether there is any disentitling conduct such as gambling, excessive spending and wastage of assets which may have bearing on the assessment of each party’s financial contributions to the marriage or the relationship.
Non-financial contributions are also important, for example, the maintenance and improvements which have been made to the family home by each of the parties when assessing a party’s property entitlements. In addition, the Court will consider how much time is spent by each parent looking after the children or the contributions to the welfare of the family in the role of a parent or homemaker.
3. Consider future needs – The future needs of each party to the marriage must also be considered, for example, what is the earning capacity of each party, the state of their health, their care responsibilities in respect of the children. The Court also looks at the parties’ ages and if they have sufficient financial resources to support themselves after separation and especially upon retirement.
4. Request for Spousal Maintenance – In addition, if a party has a need for spousal maintenance because they cannot support themselves, a Court will consider factors relating to each party such as their age, health, financial resources, care and control of children and financial obligations to third parties.
Every relationship is different and must be considered independently of all others.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced family lawyer in Sydney.