What you need to know about dividing property after your separation
Whether you have been married or living in a de facto relationship, whether you have been together for only a couple of months or years, separation can be a painful process to go through.
Yet it’s these very details which can have a salient impact on asset distribution following a divorce. Finalising property arrangements with your spouse can be complex, which can be compounded if you disagree and are forced to head to court.
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What’s more, the process of sharing assets can understandably become heated during your separation or divorce. In this situation, a family lawyer can ensure your interests are protected no matter what course of action you take.
Implementing agreed-upon property arrangements
You might think you have a fairly good idea of what’s involved in dividing up relationship property. However, it’s important to note that there are a number of misconceptions stemming from what is considered property of the relationship.
Relationship property includes all the assets, such as a home, car or personal items that are held by either you or your partner. It also includes assets that you or your former partner control, for example superannuation or a business. On top of this, your liabilities such as mortgage debt must also be included.
In some cases, property of the relationship can encompass assets that were held by you prior to entering into the marriage, or property that has been acquired since your separation.
What is the most effective way to divide relationship property?
When you and your partner are seeking to decide “what goes where”, you’ll have two available approaches. Either:
- Negotiate a property agreement through dispute resolution services, or
- Apply for a court order.
One of the mains reasons many people look to dispute resolution is that it offers you greater control over your agreement. Services such as mediation can ensure you are part of the process, rather than having a court simply hand you an ultimatum.
If this process breaks down, you have the option to look to the court system to help divide property. If this occurs, the courts will use the Family Law Act 1975 to determine who gets what.
Specifically, the court will look to Section 79(4), which outlines the direct and indirect contributions of both parties – including home duties. Additionally, Section 75(2) outlines the considerations in relation to spousal maintenance, such as the health of both parties and their legal responsibilities.
Get help with dividing your relationship property
No matter your situation, the best action you can take after separation is to talk to a family lawyer. With their expertise and understanding of the legal frameworks, your assets and interests are in the best hands available.
For experienced advice and assistance with marriage separation, contact the Family Law team at McCarthy Durie Lawyers here or talk to us on 3370 5100.