Wife gets 100 per cent of asset pool by application of Family Law principles

29-April-2012 Family Law By admin

We are often asked the question what percentage will I get of the matrimonial property after separation?  A decision of the Family Court enabled a wife to receive 100 per cent of the matrimonial asset pool because she chose to follow four crucial steps closely. Read on to discover more about the way in which matrimonial property is divided.

Step 1: Identification and valuation of assets

The first step involves determining what assets are to be divided between the parties. The general rule is that all assets must be taken into account whether they are acquired before or during the marriage or after the separation. It is necessary to demonstrate full and frank disclosure when identifying and declaring assets. 

Step 2: Contributions

The next step is to assess each party’s contribution to the asset pool.  Contributions include both financial and non financial such as parenting and homemaker contributions.

Step 3: Future Needs

The next step is to assess the future needs of both parties taking into account factors such as age, health, income earning capacity, property, whether the party has the care and support of children and the financial circumstances of any new relationship. The presence of such factors can operate to increase or decrease the amount allocated to each party.

Step 4: Just and Equitable Outcome

The final step is to consider the practical effect of any proposed settlement to achieve a result that is just and equitable in the circumstances.

A “percentage” splitting of the asset pool is often applied in order to ensure that the effect of their orders does not vary between the date of the judgment and the realisation of the assets to give effect to the orders.  Accordingly, the “percentage” is the conclusion rather than the starting principle upon which property adjustments are made.

Case summary

Each case is determined on its own facts.  In the case of Schroeder & Drummond, there was a small property pool and the mother had made a greater financial contribution as a homemaker and parent.  The father had not paid Child Support and the mother had sole parental responsibility.  The father had failed in his obligations to provide full and frank disclosure of his financial assets and resources, including an inheritance from his father. Accordingly, the Court awarded 100 per cent of the “known assets” to the wife but excluded any “unknown, un-quantified” assets of the husband consequent upon his inheritance.

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