You’ll get half! Family law property settlement mythbusting
- October 3, 2017
- Jennifer Hetherington
- No comments
Family law property: Automatic 50/50?
We have written before extensively about the perils of social media and family law. Spouting off about your ex or taking advice from well-meaning but ill-informed strangers are two things you really need to avoid when trying to work out your family law property situation.
Just this morning, I saw a post on a community Facebook page with a woman who clearly needed specialist family law advice. All and sundry were jumping in to help. Some, sensibly, referred her to a community legal service. However, many others proclaimed “You are entitled to half the house!” or words to that effect. They knew no details of her situation other than a one paragraph anonymous post – which actually said the other party only owned half the house.
The danger for this woman is that she may now believe she is entitled to ‘half’ of the house when she could be entitled to significantly more – or less – than half. Without knowing the details of the situation, those who believe they are helping, may, in fact, be hindering. There could be all sorts of factors involved and we have no idea what other assets, liabilities and superannuation are in the family law property pool.
But then we come to the question of why they are saying she is entitled to ‘half’?
There is nothing at all in the Family Law Act which says that a person is entitled to a split down the middle of the family law property pool on the breakdown of a relationship.
Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. ZERO.
There is nothing in any Family Court case which says it either.
In fact, the High Court said as long ago as 1984 in the case of Mallett that there is not even a starting point of 50/50 in a family law property settlement.
In 2012, in the case of Stanford, the High Court went further. The Court said that before there can be a property settlement, the Court needs to be satisfied that is is just and equitable to make an Order. In order words, there is no automatic division of family law property, let alone a 50/50 one.
A quick read of the Family Court website also makes it pretty clear – there is just no mention of any equality of division of property.
Incorrect information and assumptions is one of the reasons our Family Court system is so overloaded. If people are coming in with unrealistic expectations, it is harder for matters to resolve without going to Court.
So how is family law property divided?
If you are separating or considering separating, contact us for a consultation with Accredited Family Law Specialist Jennifer Hetherington or one of our expert Brisbane family lawyers and get specialist advice about your family law property entitlements.