What does the court take into account in determining an application for property consent orders?

Property settlements allow people who have separated to finalize their financial relationship by dividing their assets, liabilities and superannuation.

There are four primary steps involved in a property settlement: –

Step 1: Identify the net asset pool

The first step involved in a property settlement is to identify the value of the asset pool. This requires both parties to provide full and frank financial disclosure. Rule 13.04 of the Family Law Rules requires a party to financial proceedings to provide full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances, including documents evidencing their assets, liabilities and income.

What documents may I need to produce in relation to my finances?

Some examples of documents to collate in preparing financial disclosure include: –

  • Interest in real estate

  • Income from employment, a business or a trust

  • Bank Accounts, shares, credit cars, mortgages, loans and store cards

  • Gifts or property disposed of following separation

  • Any financial resources such as an interest in a deceased estate, business or trust

What happens if I do not provide financial disclosure?

In Weir & Weir the Family Court noted that “where there is clear evidence of non-disclosure… the Court should not be unduly cautious about making findings in favor of the other party”. This means that if you fail to provide full and frank disclosure, the Court can make an adjustment in favour of the other party.

Step 2: Contributions

The second step is to examine the varying financial and non-financial contributions of the parties to the acquisition, conversion, or improvement of property.

Step 3: Future Needs

In the third step, consideration is given to the future needs of the parties. In determining future needs, there are a number of factors which can be considered, some of these include the age and state of health of each of the parties; income discrepancy between the parties or the physical and mental capacity of each of the parties to gain employment.

Step 4: Is it just and equitable?

Lastly, the fourth step requires looking at whether any agreement reached is in all the circumstances just and equitable.

There is no strict formula or calculation for working out property settlements. If you find yourself needing some assistance in relation to your property settlement, please contact our office on 1300 444 529 and one of our solicitors will be happy to assist you.