Complex Property Settlements-Divorce and separation lawyer

Divorce and separation lawyers

Finding the best divorce and separation lawyers will protect you from wrongful actions and injustice intentions. Family law negotiations may involve substantial business interests, trust structures, and corporate business involvement which can complicate financial settlements.

Every case is unique when it comes to family law.

Many are straightforward, but some are more complicated due to the size of the case, substantial business interests, trust structures, corporate business involvement which can complicate financial settlements.

There are also many other contributing factors that would indicate that you have a complex family law case.

For example:

  • Very large property asset pool
  • Hidden assets
  • Lack of disclosure
  • Family trusts implemented together as a couple
  • Self managed superannuation
  • Loans to family members
  • Gifted assets
  • Farms and grazing properties
  • Complex business structures
  • Where other parties are involved
  • Debt

What is considered property in a property settlement?

In family law, property involves all items of value relating to your relationship. All assets, liabilities and resources owned, shared and disposed of following separation by you and your former partner will be considered.

This includes:

  • Your bank account balances
  • Your house/s and your car/s
  • Any investments, shares or trusts that you are involved in
  • Any gifts or inheritances that you have received
  • Your superannuation
  • Any loans or other liabilities (including credit card debt)

As one of the best divorce and separation lawyers, our principal lawyer, Deanna Elsner is experienced in educating and guiding clients through these complex settlements and helping you achieve the best outcome possible.

Deanna can read and understand complicated financial statements, business valuations, and business structures and problem solve to find a solution for your individual needs.

How is property dealt with in a complex settlement?

In a similar way to other property settlements. Every family law case is based on its individual circumstances. Whilst some cases are straightforward, others are more complex. Complicating factors that come into play in family law include company structures, shared assets, self-managed super funds and family trusts. Other matters can include farming and grazing properties, large amounts of money (for example inheritances, injury payouts, gifts, valuation issues and disclosure issues.

What will a Court take into consideration in a complex property case?

In Australia, the principles which apply are the same for married couples and de facto couples.

First step:

The first step, is to work out the total value of your existing property, which each of you own, regardless of whether it is joint or single names. Property includes real property, cash shares, businesses, trusts, boats, caravans, a windfall like a lottery win, or the value of a partnership.

We then deduct the value of existing debts, including mortgages, loans, credit cards, which attach to the property or stand alone. The debt should be debt which was incurred during the relationship/marriage.

Second Step:

The next step is to work out the direct and indirect financial and non-financial contributions, including homemaking contributions, which each party has made to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of the property referred to in the first step above.

Financial contributions could be a deposit, mortgage payments, or cash used to buy a property.

Non-financial contributions are labour and time used to improve an asset, such as a house or a business.

Third Step:

Thirdly, there may need to be a further adjustment to the percentage split applied in the second step, having regard to what are known as section 75(2) factors. These factors can be referred to as “needs” factors. The needs factors look at how the relationship/marriage might have affected the parties and the party’s current financial status.

For example:

  • The state of health of the parties
  • The wishes of a party to maintain their role as a parent
  • Financial commitments of the parties
  • The extent to which a party has contributed to the earning capacity of the other party
  • The earning capacity of the parties

Along with other factors.

Finally, the Court will decide whether the proposed settlement is just and equitable.

If you would like to book a free consultation with a divorce and separation lawyer, and see how Deanna Elsner can assist you in your complex property settlement, please complete the form below to request an appointment.

Not sure where to start?

Book a free initial 30 minute consultation and I will guide you to the next steps.