What is property?
Property has a very wide definition. It can be a house, shares, superannuation, cars or even copyrights or patent rights.
The court will also take into consideration the liabilities and will only look at the net position when determining how the property is to be divided between the parties.
How does the court determine property distribution between the parties?
The court takes a four-step process:
1. Identifying and valuing the net property of the parties;
2. Considering the financial and non-financial contributions of each party towards the acquisition, maintenance and preservation of the property;
3. Other factors such as age, income, commitments and responsibilities of each party, health and so on; and
4. If the proposed settlement is just and equitable.
The court then looks at many factors such as what assets each party had at the beginning of the relationship, what was acquired during the marriage and what assets are identifiable at the end of the marriage.
Financial contribution to the acquisition of assets and the contribution of a homemaker and mother are equally considered.
The distribution of assets between the parties is usually expressed as a percentage term of the net asset pool i.e. 40% of the asset pool to the husband. This is not an exact science so results will differ from Judge to Judge.
Do I have to reveal to my spouse all the assets I own, even if I acquired them before the commencement of our relationship?
Yes you do.
The Rules of the court require full and frank disclosure of all material assets. Failure to provide full and frank disclosure means that the orders may be subject to review by the court.
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