The court will make financial orders based on what is fair to both people
They will look at contributions made during the relationship and the future needs of both people.
In a financial order, a court can order a person to:
- pay money to another person by a certain time
- transfer or sell property
- split superannuation
- sign documents
- pay maintenance – see 'Financial maintenance for partners' (link below).
When a financial order is made, each person listed in the order must follow it.
If there is no agreement about who gets the family home, the court often orders that it be sold and the sale money divided on a percentage basis. This does not mean that the money will be divided equally. There is no automatic 50/50 split of property.
When making these orders, the court will consider what is a fair division of property. The court does not consider who is ‘at fault’ in a relationship breakdown.
The four-step process
- The court applies a four-step process to work out what is fair:
- Identify and value the property to work out how much there is. Property can include things you got before your relationship started or after it ended. See ‘Dividing your property’ (link below) for more information about what is property.
- Consider the contributions made by both sides, including earnings, savings, gifts, inheritances, home improvements or contributions as a homemaker and care provider for children.
Consider other factors set out by law, including:
- how much each person could earn in future
- the age and health of each person
- the care and financial support of children
- responsibility for supporting other people
- length of relationship.
Check that the property division is ‘just and equitable’ (fair to both people).