How do I work out my entitlement in a Property Settlement? – The Four Step Process
To work out what each party is entitled to in a family law property settlement, the Court applies the following four-step process:
This four-step process is set out in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth).
We need to know the value of all the property from your relationship, this includes everything owned in a parties’ sole name, jointly with another person or through an entity or trust.
Property includes your liabilities and superannuation.
We then look at each parties’ financial and non-financial contributions prior to and during the relationship and also post separation. This includes taking into account inheritance, payouts or financial gifts received, windfalls, primary care of children and maintenance of the home.
We then weigh up these contributions and determined whether any percentage adjustment is required in a party’s favour.
Next we turn our mind to the future and to the needs of both parties. We look at the following:
- The age and health situation of each party and whether any health issues impact the person’s ability to work full time
- We look at what each party is capability to earn in the future and whether there needs to be an adjustment as a result of this
- We also look at who has primary care of the child or children and any other relevant factor.
If there needs to be an adjustment made to a party once the above factors are considered, then this is also done as a percentage.
Once the Court has turned its mind to the first three steps and determined each party’s entitlement, we then look at how to actually divide the property pool or another words, we look at who gets what.
The property must be divided in a way that is fair and reasonable in all the circumstances.
What the Court does not take into account:
- Who left the matrimonial home and why;
- Who is at fault or caused the separation;
- What the parties believe they should be entitled to.