This is a question that we are frequently asked at Advance Family Law. We often find people will frame their questions as to what “percentage” are they entitled to. While lawyers will often refer to a range of funds you may be entitled to, there is a process which is outlined in the Family Law Act that specifically addresses your personal situation.
If you are an avid reader of our blogs, you will know that we have previously addressed how the Court must assess the property pool. As a quick refresher, the Act asks us to:
- First establish the value of the net asset (or debt) position of the combined assets of the parties.
- If there is a dispute between the parties, an independent valuer must be appointed by the parties, together, to provide a valuation of the assets which must be accepted as evidence of the actual value.
- Full and frank disclosure of all financial documents is necessary to ensure that both parties have not wasted, or squirrelled away funds to a secret account.
- We need to know the length of the relationship, whether it is a short relationship or one of many years. This is important as the length of the relationship does have an impact on each party’s percentage split.
- The contributions of both parties are considered.
- You will often hear lawyers speaking of “financial and non-financial” contributions”; the latter including, parenting and homemaking contributions from each party.
- As equally important, are the future needs of each party, which must be taken into consideration, to be able to provide advice for a just and equitable division of the assets.
- The process is designed to be checked for the fairness of the agreement and whether any agreement will have a significant impact on each parties’ earning capacity.
What the simplification of the above process does not bring to the reader’s attention are the following important considerations which make each family unique. This inexhaustible list includes the following:
- Did either party provide a “lump sum” contribution either at the start of the relationship, or during the relationship.
- If the answer is yes, then an adjustment may be made to the party who made the contribution.
- Did one party support the other whilst they became a full-time university student and now their partner has finally established him or herself in their profession.
- If there is a business, how does that affect each party moving forward, will somebody be unemployed?
- Will there be a large tax liability?
- Does a new guarantor need to be appointed to satisfy the Mortgagor?
- Is there a self-managed super fund attached to the business?
- How old are the children, and what are their needs and how does this impact on both the parent’s ability to financially support these needs?
- Are there any dependents outside of the children which require care that will affect either or both parties from earning a higher income?
- Are there any health issues which have affected somebody during the relationship that will impact on their ability to provide for themselves post separation.?
As I said above the list is not exhaustive, but if you have answered any of these questions, or we have raised other questions that may join the list, you will find the answers may be very different to those of your friends or family. You may hear empathetic comparisons which, on face value, appears to be identical issues and circumstances, which reflect the same dynamics of your family. However, each family and each individual, has a different need, or a different event in their life, which will shape a lawyer’s advice so that it is tailored to consider each client’s situation.
We understand that each family is unique. At Advance Family Law we listen to you, and provide advice, which is suitable to your circumstance, and your life. It is dangerous to listen to advice from the neighbours, your sister, uncle, or your Mother’s friend from Bridge, unless they are qualified family lawyers. If this blog has raised more questions for you, please do not hesitate to call one of our Gold Coast Family Lawyers or Logan Family Lawyers for free family law advice on (07) 5679 8016, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.