It is a common misconception that “My spouse/partner will automatically receive half my property when we separate”.
The Court is required to be satisfied that it is “just and equitable” to make an Order altering property interests – that is, splitting assets and liabilities between separated parties.
In determining a “just and equitable” division of assets and liabilities between separated spouses, the following factors are considered:-
- The initial contributions by each party at the beginning of the relationship;
- The financial and non-financial contributions made by each party of the relationship to assets owned by the parties during the relationship and at separation. For instance, the parties’ respective financial contributions to the purchase of a home and the upkeep and maintenance of the home together with the physical non-financial maintenance of the home including basic repairs;
- The contributions made by each party to the welfare of the family including in a capacity as homemaker and parent;
- The effect of any proposed Order on the earning capacity of each party; and
- The future needs of either party including circumstances where one party is close to retirement or one party has primary care of the parties’ children.
Having regard to the above factors and particularly whether it is “just and equitable” to make an Order, the Court will determine what (if any) Order to make dividing property. This means that you may not necessarily divide your and your spouse/partner’s property on a 50/50 basis.
If you would like some assistance or advice in determining an appropriate property settlement solution for your circumstances, please contact the friendly Family Law team in Toowoomba on (07) 4638 1133.