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4 step process


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448

Kerry White

In all property settlements there is a four step process to be followed. Armstrong Legal Canberra can help make the process as streamlined and equitable as possible.

In all property settlements there is a four step process to be followed. Armstrong Legal Canberra can help make the process as streamlined and equitable as possible.





The First Step: The creation of an asset pool

This process involves the identification of all the personal and shared liabilities and assets associated with the marriage or de facto relationship.

It is absolutely essential that you disclose all of your assets and liabilities to the court.

Once all assets and liabilities have been taken into account, the "net asset pool figure" will be ascertained by deducting the couple's total liabilities from their total assets. This remaining figure is what stands to be divided.

Assets may include: property, jewellery, furniture or cars.

Liabilities may include: outstanding loans, mortgages or other debts.

[Note: if the value of a certain asset or liability is uncertain then an expert may be called to determine its value]

The Second Step: Ascertaining each parties' contribution

What were the total contributions of each party to the former marriage or de facto relationship?

This question can be answered by considering the four kinds of contributions recognised by the court.

(i) Financial Contributions

These include: redundancy payments, wages, the money each party brought into the relationship, winnings etc.

[NOTE: this does not include superannuation]

(ii) Non-Financial Contributions

These contributions include "value adding contributions" - ie. The value added by renovating the family home. This value is determined by the market rate of paying another person to complete a similar job.

(iii) Parenting Contributions

Recognition of parenting contributions is an important balancing factor within the Four Step Process. Parenting contributions relate to the care of children whilst the other party was free to earn an income for the family.

(iv) Homemaker Contributions

Homemaker contributions include all domestic duties and are similar to parenting contributions. They include (among other duties) cleaning, cooking etc.

Relevant needs will include:

  • Parental responsibility
  • Health
  • Income
  • Capacity to obtain employment
  • Age
  • Responsibilities to care for other people
  • Maintenance of property

The Fourth Step: The "just and equitable" division of assets

Finally, the court will decide how the property should be split having considered each of the above factors. Nonetheless, the court retains the discretion to adjust the split of assets and liabilities according to considerations of what is "just and equitable".


where to next?

Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448

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