What to consider when dividing matrimonial property

What to consider when dividing matrimonial property

Family law matters are usually traumatic experiences, often accompanied by selfish or spiteful behaviour by an ex partner.

Ideally, when emotions are put to the side and the issues considered logically, the matter can be settled fairly and as quickly as possible, without the need for expensive court proceedings. It’s really about thinking with the head and not with the heart.

Things to consider:

  • Identify all assets, liabilities, investments, bank accounts, superannuation, etc. Even ask yourself whether your ex may have some assets hidden. Experts can be employed to find and value hidden assets.
  • Both sides must promptly disclose to each other’s lawyer, documents including bank statements; financial statements and tax returns; superannuation and life policy balances; values of stocks and  shares,  real  estate,  motor  vehicles  and  boats; details  of  Centrelink  benefits  or  other pensions. Get this done quickly, as delaying may cause the other side to think you’re hiding something, giving them a reason to drag the matter to court.
  • Look at current and future financial needs. If you’ve been injured and can’t work then that will be taken into account. Similarly, if you do work but earn less than your ex, then that will also be taken into account.
  • Assess both the financial and the non financial contributions made during the relationship. Staying  home  to  care  for  children,  looking  after  household  chores  and  maintenance  like gardening, will be considered as a non financial contribution.
  • If one of you has received compensation from a personal injury claim that will largely be dealt with as a contribution. Similarly, a win on Gold Lotto will also be dealt with as a contribution.

 When settlement can’t be reached, mediation is a great option. In our experience most matters settle at mediation. The mediator will help both sides forget the eye for an eye attitude, and see the bigger picture. When settlement is reached expensive court costs are avoided, benefiting both sides.

Time waters down the value of contributions, so if you’ve been together for over 20 years then the rough rule of thumb is that there will likely be a 50:50 split.

Be on guard! Don’t be provoked and set up by your ex.  If you’re provoked into a fit of rage and you hit your ex over the head with a saucepan, a domestic violence order can be taken out against you, which may include an ouster order, to keep you out of the matrimonial home.

We are passionate about helping our clients in difficult situations, particularly if they’re being taken advantage of, or being treated unfairly, so contact us for an obligation free chat about getting the best result from your property settlement.

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