What Is A ‘Just And Equitable’ Property Settlement?
Just to recap, a property settlement in family law consists of four main steps:
What makes up the property pool?
How did you each contribute to the property pool?
What are each of your future needs?
What division of assets would provide justice and equity in the circumstances?
When it comes to family law, we avoid using words like ‘fair’ because very rarely will an outcome feel fair to anyone involved.
Instead, we talk in terms of justice and equity. Which sounds super big and important, but it really boils down to what would be the most ‘reasonable’ outcome in your particular circumstances.
This will vary from relationship to relationship, and can be impacted by how long you were together, how each of you contributed (including what and how much), as well as what you might need moving into the future. Each of these factors impact the other, and how much weight is placed on the other i.e. how much each of those factors matters in your situation.
Here’s Two Simple Examples:
- John and Joanna were married for 20 years. John was the breadwinner, and Joanna stayed home to raise the children. Joanna has been working part time since the youngest child started school.
John and Joanna have now split up. The kids are living with Joanna and seeing John every other weekend.
- Simon and Sally were together for three years. Sally received an inheritance of $100,000.00 which allowed them to buy a house. They otherwise both earned a similar income and contributed equal amounts financially.
For John and Joanna, the length of their relationship is likely to mean that their future needs are most important in calculating the settlement.
For Simon and Sally, their short relationship would usually mean that their contributions would be the most important factor.
Joanna’s relationship has left her needing more financially as a result of her reduced earning capacity, and care of the children.
Simon and Sally, however, didn’t impact each other much at all. Sally will probably just want her $100,000.00 back, and they would likely share in the balance.
There are no standard outcomes, or right or wrong answers, when it comes to property settlements.
If you have any questions, JP Family Law & Mediation would be more than happy to help out!
By Jessica Purcell (JP Family Law & Mediation)
jpflm.com – 0466 090 434