It’s always 50/50 right? Wrong - Common Misconceptions Part 4

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One widely held misconception in family law is that, more or less, all of the assets and liabilities of a relationship will be divided 50/50. Many new clients come to us with the first line “I know that the starting point is a 50/50 split but…” This is not the case.

Presumably, this myth comes from the notion that a property settlement should be fair. Now, this is true – however, what is fair cannot be ascertained by applying one universal rule to all. There is no set dynamic in relationships. Each must be considered for what it is, taking into account the dynamic of that particular relationship. So no, what your friend’s friend has told you about their property settlement and what they have told you to expect from your settlement is unlikely to be accurate. Just because your friend got 75% from her settlement does not mean you will also receive 75%.

In dealing with a property settlement, once a former couple’s net assets and liabilities have been determined, there is an assessment of how those assets and liabilities should be split. This involves an in-depth assessment of several factors, including:

  • The length of the relationship;
  • The financial contributions of each person;
  • The parent and homemaker contributions of each person, as well as other non-financial contributions to the relationship;
  • The current and future needs of each person, including their age, state of health, whether they have the primary care for a child and ongoing employment prospects; and
  • What would be considered just and equitable in all of the circumstances?

So, unless you and your friend’s relationships were exactly the same in all of the above respects, you cannot expect the same outcome. A slight variation in any of the above, or other factors, can lead to a different outcome.

It is important to remember that, what is fair is not the subject of a simple formula, such as a 50/50 split. Rather, fairness can only be assessed by an in-depth analysis of a wide range of factors. Contact Butlers for further information.

 

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Wednesday, 26 June 2019