“Our marriage lasted 3 years and my spouse is claiming I have to give 50% of my house”
No two marriages are the same and as a result no two divorce property settlements are the same.
The Family Law Act 1975 sets out how the property of a marriage is to be divided. In making this decision, the Act specifies that the court must consider both financial and non-financial contributions of the parties to a marriage where non-financial contributions such as being a housekeeper and child carer are considered as valuable as financial contributions. The court will also look at the future needs of the parties, the caring of the children of the parties and whether the property split is fair and equitable. There is no simple formula that can be used to obtain a property settlement and the belief in a 50/50 result is very often misplaced.
The court has determined that marriage of 5 years duration or less, to be a short marriage. In such a marriage, initial contributions to a family pool tend to be given more emphasis than over non-financial contributions. A long marriage which is generally considered to be a marriage of 10 or more years usually has greater consideration given towards the non-financial contributions. This occurs especially where there is a child or children of the relationship. On the other hand, the initial contributions tend to erode in value with the passing of years.
Noting that every situation is different, in a marriage that is of short duration it cannot be assumed that each party will automatically get 50% of the family pool. The fact that one party brought a house into the relationship could be given greater consideration in determining the property settlement. In a longer marriage, initial contributions may be considered to have eroded to have little or no value in determining the outcome of a final property settlement depending upon the contributions during the marriage. However, in all cases the fairness to both parties must always be considered.
Avoid litigation if possible
It is best if agreement can be reached between the parties regarding a property settlement. The financial, emotional and family costs of proceeding to litigation far outweigh the benefits of a joint agreement that neither party actually likes, but they can live with. I have been instrumental is assisting many couples to forge an out of court agreement, ratified by the court through Consent Orders or guiding them to successful outcomes in the Federal Circuit and Family Courts in property applications.
If I can be of service to assist you or anyone you know, please contact me.