After a relationship has ended, the property of the relationship needs to be divided. There are a range of considerations, and it is wise to consult an experienced family lawyer from our reputable law firm on the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane, as the legal process involved in determining a property settlement can be complex.
what is property?
Property includes a range of items, and it is essential to determine precisely what property needs to be divided. Property is not just any money, houses and possessions you and your ex-partner own but can also include investments, entitlements, superannuation, businesses and trusts.
Property will also include any liabilities – money you or your ex‑partner owe, loans and tax obligations – and it will need to be decided how these will be repaid and who will be responsible for them.
how is property divided?
Property is either divided by agreement between you and your ex‑partner, by negotiation with each other or through your lawyers. If you and your ex-partner cannot agree on the division of property after genuinely attempting to do so, you may need to apply for a court order on how the property is to be divided.
The legal framework to be applied when the court determines your property matter, whether a lawyer from one of our law firms, be it Sunshine Coast or Brisbane, is assisting you in negotiating your case or you are trying to work it out yourself, is set out in the Family Law Act.
The law, as it relates to married and de facto couples working out their property settlement, has the same approach and process.
what is the legal framework for property settlement as told by our law firms based on the Sunshine coast and brisbane?
While there is an initial legal obligation to consider whether dividing the property of the relationship is just and equitable, in practical terms, there is a longstanding four-step process to determine a property matter.
The four-step exercise is as follows:
1. The court should determine what property there is and what value each property item has – this includes assets, liabilities, superannuation and financial resources (such as a company car);
2. The court should determine and assess the contributions that each party made to the property of the relationship and work out the entitlement of each party expressed as a percentage of the net value of the property of the parties;
3. The court should consider relevant matters, including earning capacity, child support and any other orders made, as well as other factors (the age and health of parties, living arrangements for children, whether the parties are working if any pre-nuptial agreement exists and other factors) so far as they are relevant;
4. Finally, the court should consider the overall effect of the decision made, make orders and ensure that the distribution of property is just and equitable in all the circumstances of the case.
so, what does it all mean?
As you can see, property matters upon separation are quite complicated. Several factors need to be considered, and there is certainly no one answer that fits all cases. It is helpful to get legal advice when you separate to ensure that you have considered all the relevant factors for your personal circumstances.
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