The Courts have a broad discretion to make property settlement Orders that they consider just and equitable in the circumstances of the case.
Therefore, parties will not necessarily walk away with what they brought into the marriage.
There are many factors that the Courts look to in determining how property is divided, including:
- Both financial and non-financial contributions (direct and indirect) to acquisition, conservation or improvement of any property.
- Contributions made by a party to the welfare of the family, including as home maker or parent.
- The effect of any proposed property Orders upon the earning capacity of the party.
- The age and state of health of a party.
- The income, property and financial resources of each party, and their physical and mental capacity for appropriate gainful employment.
- Whether a party has the care or control a child (under 18 years old).
- Commitments of each party that are necessary to support themselves, and a child or other person who they have a duty to maintain.
- The responsibility of each party to support any other person.
- The eligibility to government pensions or superannuation. However, if it is an income test pension, it is to be disregarded insofar as the party whose maintenance is being considered.
For this reason, we recommend that you speak with a solicitor as soon as possible.