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Articles and legal news from the Atkinson Vinden Team.

Who Gets the Horses?

Family Law

If you’re into celebrity news, you may have read that Russell Crowe held a garage sale recently. But of course, when you’re Russell Crowe, that garage sale was held at Sotheby’s Australia and is an international auction of millions of dollars’ worth of matrimonial assets.

He named the exhibition “The Art of Divorce”, and it fell on what would have been his 15th wedding anniversary to former wife Danielle Spencer.

Now as impressive as it may be to get your hands on a life size prop horse from the film Gladiator, what is just as impressive is the way Russell and Danielle have capitalised on their division of assets. For most couples, splitting their assets after the breakdown of a relationship can be a long and stressful process.

In an initial consultation, most clients hope to be given a figure of what kind of division they can expect to receive. This is nearly impossible to do without carrying out the “Four Step Process”. This is the process we use to attempt to determine what a Judge would decide should the dispute end up before him or her.

  1. Establishing the asset pool

The court considers anything that is property to be an asset. This includes real estate, cash, superannuation, shares, jewellery, and even the family dog. When it comes to the liabilities of the relationship, debts such as mortgages, credit cards and personal loans will all be included in the pool.

To achieve the final figure of the pool each party is required to provide disclosure of their respective financial positions, and possibly valuations of a business, trust or property will need to be performed.

  1. Contributions of each party

Once the net asset pool has been established, consideration is given to the contribution each party made to the relationship. This includes caring for children and maintaining the home, financial contributions such as wages or inheritance, and non-financial contributions such as renovations to the home.

  1. Future needs of each party

The individual needs of each party also need to be considered. For example, whether the ages of each party are similar, if one party has medical needs, their future earning capacity, and whether a party has re-partnered will all be taken into account amongst other factors.

Further, if there are children of the relationship, who has the majority care of the children, and what is going to be required to be able to provide for those children?

  1. Will the division be fair?

Only once all the above information has been examined, can a proposed division of assets be properly advised upon. The division of assets needs to be seen to be just and equitable, and what is considered fair for each party will differ in every family law matter based on all of the above variables.

It is not known how Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer will be dividing their auction profits, but my bet is Danielle will be quietly happy to be divorcing those horses too.

If you require any further information on any aspect of family law, please do not hesitate to contact our family law team.