If you have, or are thinking about, separating from your partner or spouse, then it is important to understand how the law applies to your personal circumstances. This empowers you to negotiate division of your assets and superannuation with your spouse. It also means that, if you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, you have a sound understanding of what issues the Court will and will not concern themselves with.
Loosely speaking, the steps taken to divide parties’ assets and superannuation are:
- Consideration of whether it is appropriate to make an adjustment of the assets. In most cases, this threshold is easily met.
- Identify all of the property that is available for distribution. This includes all:
- Assets (things like your houses, cars, boats, caravans, tools, furniture and effects);
- Liabilities (including your home loan, credit cards, tax debts, HECS/HELP liabilities and loans to family and friends); and
- Superannuation entitlements.
- Consider the financial and non-financial contributions made by both of you to the property pool during the relationship. This includes your work history, gifts, inheritances and the way in which you arranged the care of any children during the relationship.
- Consider yours and your former spouse’s future needs including your ages, your health, whether either of you have the care of a child of the relationship or not, your capacity to work, the disparity in your income and your commitments to both yourself and any other person you are obligated to support.
- To consider whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the outcome is “just and equitable”.