Over the years we have developed a focus on property matters

Just and Equitable Threshold

Prior to 2012, the framework to determine property adjustments involved a four-step process.

Since the High Court case of Stanford & Stanford (2012), there is now also a “just and equitable” threshold which must be satisfied before the four-step process is applied.

The factors to consider are:

  • The existing legal and equitable interests of the parties as determined by common law and equity
  • Deciding whether or not it is “just and equitable” to make any adjustment to the parties’ interests in the property available for division
  • There is no special right to a property adjustment arising from a family law separation

Four Steps to Determine Property Adjustments

The four steps to determine what you are entitled to in relation to property are:

  1. Pool of assets: Identify and value all property that is available for division. This includes all assets, liabilities and superannuation of each spouse
  2. Contributions: Consider the financial and non-financial, both direct and indirect, contributions made by and on behalf of each of you to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of property. These contributions include homemaker and parenting contributions. The Court will generally assign a percentage to each party’s contributions, for example, 50% / 50%
  3. Future needs: Consider the future needs of each party, including:
    • If one party has greater future needs than the other, the court will generally make an adjustment in their favour to the percentage division nominated at step 3, for example, to 55% / 45%
    • Whether either party has the care of a child of the relationship
    • The age and state of health of each of you
    • The income, property and financial resources of each of you
    • The physical and mental capacity of each of you for appropriate gainful employment
    • The disparity in the income earning capacities of each of you
    • Instances of family and/or domestic violence
    • Commitments that are necessary for each of you to support yourself or any other person
  1. Just and equitable: Consider whether, in all the circumstances of the case, the proposed order is “just and equitable”

Discretionary Power

The Court has a wide discretionary power based on the facts of each case. For this reason no one can truly say that you will be entitled to an exact percentage split.

Family law solicitors often work on a range of 10% to cover the discretionary nature of court proceedings in relation to property.

Some Common Matters

Within each of the above steps there are numerous factors to consider.

Other common issues that come up in property matters include:

  • Spousal maintenance
  • Inheritance
  • Post separation income, assets and debts
  • Wastage – diminishing assets
  • Superannuating splitting
  • Non-disclosure of assets
  • Loans from family members
  • Addbacks

Why Us

We can help you with:

  • Assessing your property entitlements
  • Identifying risks (if any) and taking the necessary steps
  • Negotiate a settlement in a timely manner
  • Commence court proceedings if you are unable to reach agreement
  • Advising you of the process, time and cost involved at the start and at each stage of your matter

Finding out what you are entitled to is one call away

“I wish to thank you for all your efforts on our behalf. Simply thanking you doesn’t cover the difference your help has made, not only to our lives, but importantly to the long term prospects for [name of child removed].

The work you have put in and, I believe, the emotion you invested, goes way beyond the solicitor-client contract. We are enormously grateful.”

[Name of grandparents in Brisbane removed, 19 June 2020]

This case involved both family law and domestic violence.

“Dear Duc and the staff at Freeman Lawyers

Your dedication to clients and the hard work you’ve done for me almost daily has not gone unnoticed and will never be forgotten.

This went on for me for a long time and thank you for all the hours and work you put in to win this for me and [name of child removed].

I always had complete faith you would deliver me the best outcome.”

[Mother/Wife in Brisbane, June 2020]