Property settlement in a family law dispute involves the division of assets and liabilities between parties following a separation or divorce. In Australia, the Family Law Act 1975 provides the legal framework for property settlement and sets out the principles that the court must consider in making a fair and equitable division of property. It is important to understand the steps involved in calculating a property settlement to ensure a fair outcome for both parties.
The first step in calculating a property settlement is to identify and value all the assets and liabilities of both parties. This includes all property, whether owned jointly or individually, and includes real estate, vehicles, investments, superannuation, and any other assets. It also includes all debts, such as mortgages, loans, and credit card debts. The value of the assets and liabilities should be ascertained at the date of the settlement, not at the date of separation.
The next step is to assess the contributions made by each party during the relationship. This includes financial contributions, such as income earned, contributions to the purchase of assets, and payment of expenses. It also includes non-financial contributions, such as caring for children, home maintenance, and other contributions to the welfare of the family. The court will consider the contributions of each party in determining their entitlement to the asset pool.
The court will also consider the future needs of each party in determining the division of property. This includes factors such as the age and health of each party, their earning capacity, whether they have the care of any children, and any other relevant considerations. The court may adjust the division of property in favor of one party if it is just and equitable to do so.
The court will consider the practical effect of the proposed division of property and whether it is just and equitable in all the circumstances. This may involve considering the taxation implications of the proposed settlement, the ability of each party to manage the assets they receive, and any other relevant considerations.
The final step is for the court to make an order for the division of property. The order will specify the assets and liabilities to be retained by each party and may also include orders for the transfer of property, payment of money, or other arrangements necessary to give effect to the division of property.
Calculating a property settlement in a family law dispute involves several steps and requires a thorough consideration of the assets and liabilities of both parties, their contributions during the relationship, their future needs, and the practical effect of the proposed division of property. It is important to seek legal advice to ensure that all relevant factors are considered and that the division of property is fair and equitable.