In Australia, family law matters regarding the division of property after a marriage or DeFacto relationship breakdown are determined by the Family Court. The court applies a four-step approach that considers a range of factors before making a decision.
Step 1: Identifying Assets and Liabilities
The first step involves identifying the assets and liabilities of the parties involved in the case. This includes all property owned by both parties, such as the family home, investments, superannuation, and any debts.
Step 2: Assessing Contributions
The court considers the contributions made by each party during the relationship in step two. This includes both financial and non-financial contributions, such as income earned, property acquisitions, and homemaker and parenting contributions.
Step 3: Evaluating Future Needs
Step three involves taking into account the future needs of each party, including their age, health, income, earning capacity, and the care of any children they may have. The court also considers other relevant factors, such as the duration of the relationship and the standard of living to which the parties become accustomed during their relationship.
Step 4: Determining a Fair Distribution
Finally, in step four, after considering all the relevant factors, the court determines the percentage of property that each party should receive in the final split. This aims to achieve a fair and equitable distribution, giving the judge discretion to consider various factors.
The Aim of the Court: Just and Equitable Distribution
The primary aim of the court in family law property matters is to achieve a just and equitable distribution of assets between both parties. This means that the distribution is not an automatic 50/50 split, as other factors may affect the final decision.
Importance of Evidence and Strategy in Property Cases
Properly presenting evidence and strategy in property cases is crucial to persuade the court to exercise its discretion in your favor. This aspect is often not considered properly or at all in poorly run property cases.
Considering Conduct and Agreements Between Parties
The court may also take into account the conduct or agreement between the parties to separate or isolate their assets, even though they are in a marriage or DeFacto relationship.
The Role of Professional Legal Advice
It’s essential to seek professional legal advice and have a thorough understanding of the law and the four-step approach if you’re going through a family law property matter. Legal guidance can help you understand your rights and obligations and make informed decisions about your best interests and likely outcomes.
A Family Court judge in property matters considers a range of factors to determine how property should be distributed between the parties involved in the case. This approach aims to achieve a just and equitable outcome that takes into account the contributions made by each party, their future needs, and other factors that may impact the final decision. Seeking professional legal advice is essential to ensure your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.