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How are assets divided in a divorce?

Family Law

We all know that dealing with a property settlement after separation can be an emotional and financial nightmare. The more you know about the divorce property settlement process, the easier it will be for you. So, how do you go about dividing assets to determine a financial settlement?

Australian divorce law

The legislative instrument governing Australian divorce law is the Family Law Act 1975.

How to determine your percentage entitlement to matrimonial assets

In a divorce, assets are divided by following a four-step process to identify your percentage entitlement to the assets.

The four step property settlement process

  1. The first step is to identify all your assets, liabilities and financial resources, whether they are in joint or individual names.
  2. The second step is to assess the contributions both financial and non-financial (such as homemaker duties) made by each of you.
  3. The third step then, is to consider future needs and whether adjustments should be made to the division of property.
  4. The final step is to determine whether the property settlement is just and equitable having regard to the first three steps.

Who gets what?

Once you have determined the value of your entitlement to the property by following the four-step process, you and your partner can determine what assets you each keep. Generally speaking, if a particular asset is in one person’s name, that person will retain that asset, though this is not a hard and fast rule.

Ultimately, what assets each of you keep will not only depend on your individual preferences but also on what each of you can afford.  That is, even if one of you wants to keep the family home, if the mortgage repayments are too high and there are insufficient funds to payout the other party, then it may be impractical for that person, or either of you for that matter, to keep the home. In the event neither of you can secure enough money to pay out the other person, the asset/s will be sold and the profits (if any) divided between you.

Helping you to get what you want

Sometimes it is not possible to reach a sensible financial property settlement when the emotional issues of separation are involved. Getting legal representation can often help to reduce the emotional decision making so that you can reach an agreement faster.

Atkinson Vinden Lawyers has a team of dedicated family lawyers who can help get you through the legal process of dividing your assets in a cost effective and timely manner. Get in touch with one of the team, today.


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