What may happen to your assets after separation or divorce?
If you and your ex-partner cannot reach an agreement relating to the division of your property post separation, then you can apply to the court for financial orders. The court can award orders covering financial orders, orders relating to the division of property and payment of spouse or de factor partner maintenance.
There is no set formula to divide property following a separation. The decision is made by the court after all the evidence is heard and the judicial officer determines what is just and equitable based on the unique facts of the situation.
Property can include most items of value, such as: 
- property owned jointly or independently;
- business interests;
- trust interests;
- assets acquired through inheritance; and
The general principles the court considers when deciding financial disputes after a breakdown of a marriage is set out in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The general principles apply to individuals who were in a marriage or in a de facto relationship, and are based on:
- working out what you’ve got and what you owe, that is your assets and debts and what they are worth;
- looking at the direct financial contributions by each party to the marriage or de facto relationship such as wage and salary earnings;
- looking at indirect financial contributions by each party such as gifts and inheritances from families;
- looking at the non-financial contributions to the marriage or de facto relationship such as caring for children and homemaking; and
- future requirements – a court will take into account things like age, health, financial resources, care of children and ability to earn.
The way your assets and debts will be shared between you and your ex-partner will depend on the individual circumstances of your family/relationship. Your settlement will generally vary from others you may have heard about.
However, time limits also apply:
- if you were married, applications for property related orders must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final;
- if you were in a de facto relationship, the application for property orders must be made within 2 years of the breakdown of the de facto relationship; and
- if you do not apply within these time limits, you will need to seek permission of the court, which may not always be granted.
How can DSA Law help?
There are many scenarios which may arise during this difficult time and the process of dealing with separation and divorce. DSA Law has the skills and expertise to help you navigate this ever changing landscape.