Following a relationship breakdown, one of the main concerns our clients at Nicholes Family Lawyers is face how they will continue to financially support themselves and their lifestyles.
In situations where our clients cannot adequately support themselves following a relationship breakdown, they may be entitled to receive Spousal Maintenance from their former partner or vice versa. Spousal Maintenance is financial support paid in circumstances where one party has a proven “need” for financial support where they cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their income or assets, and the other party has the proven “capacity” to provide financial support to that party.
Whilst Spousal Maintenance is not an automatic right, it is based on a premise that, where a need arises, parties to a relationship breakdown have a responsibility to support and maintain each other to the best of their abilities. This responsibility can continue after separation and even after divorce where appropriate.
When determining whether Spousal Maintenance is appropriate, relevant considerations include:
- The age and health of the parties;
- The parties’ income, property, and financial resources;
- The parties’ ability to work;
- What is a suitable standard of living; and
- If the relationship affected the parties ability to earn an income.
Property (including complex commercial matters)
The legal team at Nicholes Family Lawyers provide advice and representation to clients in relation to all aspects of property division and settlement between parties to a relationship breakdown, including complex commercial matters.
For the purpose of family law, property that can be divided between parties to a relationship breakdown can include real property (such as the parties former matrimonial home), motor vehicles, companies, businesses, shares, cash savings, trusts, inheritances, furniture, antiques, and other household chattels. Superannuation is also treated as property for the purpose of family law.
When parties separate, often one of the most challenging aspects of the separation is how the assets of the relationship will be divided. The interests of third parties such as family members, co-owners and business partners, can also be relevant.
Nicholes Family Lawyers aims to help parties settle property matters without recourse to Court. In the event that our clients can agree to a property settlement outside of Court, we provide advice and assistance with preparing Consent Orders to be filed with the Family Court of Australia, and also Binding Financial Agreements as discussed in detail below.
In the event that parties cannot agree to a property settlement and the matter does proceed to Court, Nicholes Family Lawyers is experienced in providing representation to clients throughout the court process and can provide advice in relation to the relevant consideration by the court when determining the division of property between parties. These considerations are known as a “four step process” which include:
- The parties’ assets at the commencement of the relationship;
- The parties’ contributions throughout the relationship;
- The parties’ “future needs” following separation; and
- Whether the property settlement is just and equitable between the parties.
Superannuation is treated as property for the purposes of Family Law and it is capable of division between parties following a relationship breakdown.
Whilst it is not a mandatory step in every property settlement, parties’ superannuation entitlements can be “split” between them as part of an overall property settlement.
In order to effect a superannuation split, Nicholes Family Lawyers can provide advice and assist parties with preparing superannuation splitting orders and agreements, so that a portion of one party’s superannuation fund can essentially be “rolled over” into the other party’s fund. We can also assist with the division of assets held in self-managed superannuation funds.