Short relationship property settlement

SHORT RELATIONSHIP CONTRIBUTIONS – HOW DOES FAMILY LAW CONSIDER PROPERTY DIVISION?

Have you been in a short relationship and thinking about a separation from your partner? Have you recently separated where the relationship was of short duration?

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) sets out the considerations or factors that apply when the family courts are considering the division of assets from a relationship, whether it was a long term relationship or a short term relationship. However, to account for the length of the relationship, the particular factors for consideration may attract a different weighting. Even where you are negotiating a family law property settlement without going to court, it will be important for you to know how the law will treat your particular situation.

Contact our Divorce Lawyers Brisbane or North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers if you wish to know how a division of property will be considered by the Court and a likely outcome in your particular circumstances. Our divorce lawyers and family lawyers only practise in family law. We understand your need to resolve your family law issues promptly and have the experience to assist you to obtain your family law property settlement.  You are also welcome to read on…..

What does a Family Law Court consider to be a short relationship?

There are quite a few cases that have made reported judgements on what constitutes a “short relationship”. It is generally accepted that a marriage or de facto relationship that has not extended beyond 5 years would be classified as a short term relationship.

What are the particular points the Court will consider to determine the property entitlements of the parties?

In the most general of terms a Court will:

  1. identify the assets and values of the assets in the property pool;
  2. consider the financial contributions and non-financial contributions of the parties. The contributions will be considered as at commencement of the relationship, throughout the relationship and after the parties have separated;
  3. consider the future needs of the parties, including factors such as:
    1. the age of the parties;
    2. the health of the parties;
    3. the income and earning capacity of the parties; and
    4. the requirement of the parties to care for any other person such as a child or children;
  4. whether a division of the assets is just and equitable.

Especially relevant in a short term relationship is the consideration is it just and equitable to make an Order? In the relatively recent High Court case of Stanford v Stanford [2012] HCA 52 it was highlighted that applying the actual words used in the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), the Court must first consider whether it is just and equitable to make an order. In a short relationship, it may be that the assets remain as they were prior to the commencement of the relationship, with no further contributions being made by either party. In those circumstances, it may be that no Order is necessary to alter the ownership of any asset so that each party keeps what they brought into the relationship.

In a short relationship, greater weight will be given to the initial financial contributions of the parties, particularly where the financial relations of the parties have not been intermingled or to any material extent, during the relationship and where there are no children of the relationship. For example, each party may have just continued to pay the expenses, such as the mortgage costs, of property that they each brought into the relationship. There may have been no shared bank accounts and no contributions made by each party to the acquisition, preservation or improvement of the other party’s property.

In the recent case of Anson & Meek [2017] FamCAFC 257, a relationship of five years was described as a “short marriage”. In this case a number of other short marriage cases were discussed and considered. In relation to short marriage cases, the judges stated that:

“If the point is that, where there is a short marriage, where there are no children and where the parties’ contributions to their assets and to welfare of the family from the commencement of the relationship to the time of the hearing is equal, any disparity in initial financial contributions is of critical importance in determining the overall contributions of the parties, then such a position is easily arrived at by the application of principle alone.”

Want to learn more or speak to a lawyer? | Divorce Lawyers Brisbane and North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers

If you are thinking of obtaining a divorce or require assistance to finalise a property settlement or parenting matters with your former spouse or partner, contact our experienced Divorce Lawyers Brisbane or North Brisbane Divorce Lawyers at LGM Family Law.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team of Divorce Lawyers Brisbane and divorce lawyers Northside are here to help and offer a free initial 15-minute call. You are also welcome to book a fixed-fee initial consultation with a divorce lawyer at our firm for more detailed advice tailored to your circumstances.  Each divorce lawyer and family lawyer, including our accredited specialist, at LGM Family Law provide practical, effective advice for you leading to what you require whether it be for family law property settlement,  a parenting order, a parenting plan or some other area of family law.

No matter your situation, we will assist you to resolve your family law issues and leave you free to get on with life!

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 The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice will be given about your specific circumstances during a consultation with LGM Family Law.