Dissolving your marriage through separation and, eventually, divorce, brings with it a number of issues and considerations that may need to be resolved by the courts, including children, pets, and the settlement of property.
Well-meaning friends and family members may offer support and advice. This support and advice may not be applicable to your circumstances or be based on misconceptions, especially around how property settlements are calculated, the factors taken into account, and your rights and entitlements.
In our vast experience with family law and as settlement solicitors we wish to dispel some of these misconceptions:
- Everything, including finances, will be split 50/50:
There is no such thing as common property and a 50/50 split, although possible, is unlikely. The law is concerned with what is fair and equitable based on a four-step process. Property settlements are often discretionary, and the four-step process adopted by the courts takes into account such factors as financial and non-financial contributions, future earning and employment potential, and the health and ages of the parties. Upon consideration of these factors, the court may make reasonable adjustments by awarding additional loading of the matrimonial property to one of the parties.
Activities deemed valuable contributions within a marriage may not be recognised as such outside of the union. The four-step process ensures that these valuable contributions are recognised and factored.
- If you leave the family home, you will lose your rights:
A separation or divorce is usually an emotionally tumultuous time. It is important that matters are dealt with carefully to ensure they don’t escalate and make matters worse. Leaving the family home, for example, may result in certain repercussions, but this will not automatically result in the loss of entitlements. Seeking timeous advice from your family lawyers could minimise the risk of you making decisions that may affect your legal position or could assist you in taking urgent decisions and action, as needed e.g. in instances of domestic violence.
- Consulting with a settlement solicitor will result in a costly court trial:
Not all property settlement proceedings end up in Family Court. Consulting with experienced settlement solicitors early on, especially during a difficult and emotional time, can provide a practical perspective that could facilitate an amicable resolution of financial affairs and matters.
We recommend that you approach your family lawyer in Sydney for relevant, up-to-date information and advice to ensure that your rights and financial interests are protected.