“Everything is divided 50/50, right?”
If I had a penny for every time that question was asked, or if that statement was true, I probably wouldn’t be working. Where did this myth start and why is it still floating around? Is it something that is just assumed by virtue of being in a couple?
Anyway, FYI the answer is NO; and neither is 50/50 the starting point.
Unfortunately, it appears this guy understood this common myth to be gospel and literally divided everything in half before obtaining some family law advice:
Lucky there weren’t any kids involved.
Here’s the truth. In Australia, the Family Court may make such Order as it considers appropriate to alter a couple’s interests in their property to effect a just and equitable division of that property (which may not necessarily be 50/50). The Court considers the following:
- Each party’s legal and equitable interests in their property i.e. the assets and liabilities that make up the net asset pool of property and the ownership and value of same;
- Whether it is just and equitable to alter each party’s legal and equitable interests in the property having regard to the history of the relationship including the length of the relationship and whether/how parties have mingled their assets;
- Each party’s direct and indirect financial and non-financial contributions and parenting and homemaker contributions to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of the property that forms the net asset pool;
- Whether there should be an adjustment in one party’s favour having regard to each party’s future circumstances, for example, the Court considers each party’s skills, income earning capacity, age and health;
- Whether it is appropriate to take a global approach or an asset-by-asset approach. The Court is more likely to adopt an asset-by-asset approach in short relationships and/or where there are a small number of assets. The global approach is generally preferred in circumstances where there has been a long relationship and a high amount of interdependence and co-mingling of property;
- If Orders are proposed readjusting property interests, whether it is just and equitable to make the suggested Orders in the terms proposed. For example, the Court would not propose to leave one person asset rich and the other cash rich, if the asset rich person would need cash in order to pay for living expenses and there was a risk that the cash rich person would quickly recklessly spend the cash.
- The Court aims to achieve a clean break between parties as far as practicable.
In the event that you and your partner have separated and you are trying to work out how to divide your assets and liabilities, I recommend making an appointment with a family law solicitor for some advice as to what the Family Court might consider a just and equitable division. You will probably find out that there are a few other things which you haven’t thought about too.