Future needs family law offers a person looking for a just and equitable division of assets. Often, separation results in one party being in an unfair position against the other. Factors like a couple’s income difference and earning capacity can affect future needs in family law.
Furthermore, couples who were in a long-term relationship may worry about restoring their wealth, particularly if they were the child’s primary carer. This article will discuss future needs in family law and how it’s related to property settlement.
Future Needs In Family Law: Agreements Between Couples
Separation may result in couples opting for court proceedings regarding their property division. Essentially, separated couples may also be able to reach an agreement about their property divisions and may not need to approach the court. The Family Court of Australia can issue consent orders or binding financial agreements for parties that reach an agreement.
Consent orders are legally binding orders that follow the terms and conditions that parents agreed to. These agreements include matters like who the child will live with and how the child spends time with each parent. Generally, it includes shared responsibilities of each parent depending on their individual circumstances.
On the other hand, binding financial agreements set out asset divisions in the event of a relationship breakdown. Binding financial agreements can also deal with spousal maintenance. However, reaching an agreement will still require both parties to obtain legal advice.
Spousal Maintenance For Separated/Divorced Couples
Spousal maintenance plays a big role in supporting financially dependent parties with their future needs. In detail, a court usually handles spousal maintenance, however, an agreement between parties can also finalise this. The aim of spousal maintenance is to give appropriate support to former spouses who are financially incapable. Couples can apply for spousal maintenance if they:
- Are separated but still married;
- Were married but divorced for less than 12 months; and
- Were in a de facto relationship
Accordingly, the law requires married or divorced couples to have a duty to financially support each other. Moreover, the law also requires them to maintain reasonable living standards. On the other hand, a de facto partner maintenance can also apply for spousal maintenance as long as couples:
- Lived together for at least 2 years; or
- Lived together as a couple for less than two years with a child
Spousal Maintenance For De Facto Couples
Similarly, de facto couples can settle agreements like married couples. Property settlements aim to settle all financial and property disputes between de facto couples. Though, several parties may find it easy to negotiate spousal maintenance regardless of spousal maintenance and financial settlement’s differences.
A solicitor can help with negotiations between de facto couples. Calculating spousal maintenance will depend on many factors and issues. This includes the present and future needs of couples. Applying to a court for spousal maintenance will result in how circumstances will affect couples like:
- Care for children and elderly family members
- Child support payments
- Entitlement to Centrelink payments
- Standards of living
- Financial and non-financial contributions to the relationship
- Income potential
- New relationships
Courts will consider the future needs of applicants and the other party’s capability to provide financial support. The courts will need these circumstances in determining the future needs in family law.
Centrelink, under Services Australia, helps with spousal maintenance payments to Australians. Additionally, they also help with child support payments and other relevant payments. Spousal maintenance is linked with future needs family law.
Property will still involve titles and compliance with the law. Hence, solicitors can help couples understand what they can receive or keep in a property settlement. Mediation plays a big role in property settlements and solicitors can aid in considering each party’s future needs in family law matters. This ensures that both parties can come up with just and fair agreements.
Property settlement can never be easy for disputed couples as they will tend to argue about who gets what. Importantly, the Family Law Act 1975 provides property settlement provisions for divorced, de facto, and same-sex couples. Moreover, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia can help in determining a property’s complexity and value.
A couple failing to reach agreements will need to file an application for property settlement in the concerned courts. Consequently, courts have the decision in dividing a couple’s property after a court hearing. Court hearings will require experienced lawyers to represent disputed couples.
The Role Of The Court
What if the court handles these negotiations and settlements? The court considers what are the available assets and liabilities from the asset pool between former partners. Further, court considerations would involve a couple’s financial and non-financial contributions.
The court can determine the entitlement percentages of each partner in the property pool by basing it on the contributions. Future needs family law refers to any needed adjustments in favour of either partner. Section 75 (2) of the Family Law Act considers whether each couple has any future needs in family law. These are the:
- Age and health condition of each party;
- Income, property or financial resources of each of the parties and the ability of each party to receive profitable employment;
- Circumstances whether either party has the care or control of a child in the relationship;
- Commitments of each party that are necessary for enabling the party to support themselves and any child or children;
- Responsibilities of either party to support any other person;
- Eligibility of either party for a pension, allowance or other government benefits including superannuation allowances or benefits;
- Reasonable standard of living;
- Duration of the relationship and the extent to which it has affected the earning capacity of the parties;
- Effect of any order on any creditor’s ability to recover debt;
- Need to protect a party who wishes to continue their role as a parent;
- Financial circumstances relating to cohabitation with any other person;
- Any obligations for child support payments child support in the future;
- Terms of any financial agreement which is binding on the parties; and
- Any other facts or circumstances that the court considers.
Explaining Future Needs Family Law With JB Solicitors
Going through a divorce or separation can be emotional and nerve-racking for couples. Thus, it’s important for disputed couples to seek legal counsel from JB Solicitors. Moreover, disputed couples may take property settlement or spousal maintenance matters to court. Although, it is encouraged that disputed couples opt for alternative options instead of opting for court procedures.
Our mediation services at JB Solicitors can help couples decide peacefully on their legal matters. This involves our family lawyers acting as a third person to find the best agreements for disputed partners. Furthermore, we can also draft consent orders for couples who are able to reach their own agreements.
Contact us to know more about your future needs in family law.