In Australia, a short marriage property settlement differs a lot from a long marriage property settlement. A short marriage property settlement differs because the circumstances of the marriage are very different as compared to the circumstances of a long marriage.
Moreover, individual aspects of a short marriage will influence a short marriage property settlement. For short marriage property settlement, financial contributions of each party are closely assessed.
Notably, there are also many similarities in short marriage property settlement, as compared to long marriage property settlement. Property settlement is an important legal process following the breakdown of a marriage. Therefore, understanding short marriage property settlement and long marriage property settlement is very important.
In this article, we’ll explore the meaning of a short marriage, and discuss how property settlement takes place in the case of short marriages.
What Is A Short Marriage?
In Australian family law, a marriage that lasted for less than 5 years is termed as a short marriage. Importantly, the length of the marriage influences property settlement.
The court may also consider the amount of time a couple lived together before they got married. This helps them assess the true length of the marriage.
Property settlement is also important for de facto relationships. The length of a de facto relationship also affects property settlement following separation. Much like short marriage, a de facto relationship is a “short” relationship if it lasted less than 5 years.
How Does Property Settlement Work: Brief Overview
Before we look at how a short marriage property settlement takes place, let’s understand how property settlement works.
Before courts finalise property settlement orders, they will assess the financial and non-financial contributions of each party.
Financial contributions include income, assets, property, investments, real estate, savings, wages, proceeds from investments etc.
Non-financial contributions include taking care of the children, looking after the home, paying for other costs like maintenance of the house that increased the value of the house including renovations, forgoing a career or study etc.
Moreover, the courts will assess all financial resources and liabilities of each party, and of the property pool. Assets can include:
- Property or family home
- Mutual funds and bonds
- Family trusts
- Cars and boats
- Jewellery and collectibles
- Household items
- Investment properties
- Business interests etc
Liabilities can include:
- Car loans
- Credit card debts
- Personal loans
- Home mortgage
- Business loans
- Hire-purchase agreements
Once the Court assesses the necessary information, it will need to check the future needs of each party. Most importantly, property settlement needs to be just and fair so as to avoid conflicts in the future.
Section 79 (2) of the Family Law Act states that the Court will not make property settlement orders that are not just and fair.
Notably, parties do not necessarily have to approach the Court to finalise their property division matters. Parties are capable of reaching amicable agreements without involving Courts. Couples often enter into Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs)either before, during, or after their relationship.
BFAs outline how property division should take place should the marriage come to an end. In these circumstances, the parties do not have to approach the Court to make orders.
What Is Short Marriage Property Settlement?
Notably, in a short marriage property settlement, Courts don’t consider non-financial contributions as equal to financial contributions.
The Courts assess initial contributions of each party. These are initial financial contributions of each party such as inheritance, property, or savings etc. Courts closely examine financial contributions of the party in case In case of short marriages where there were no children.
Where there were children, and if there is a primary carer following the breakdown of marriage, Courts will make property settlement orders taking these things into consideration.
In short marriages, Courts use the asset approach to determine who gets what. For example, Courts will create different pools for different types of assets. Furthermore, the courts will determine the contributions to each pool. After this, courts will make property settlement accordingly.
On the other hand, through the global approach, the Courts assess all assets and liabilities in one pool and then that is split based on different factors.
Importance Of Legal Advice For Family Law Matters
Family law matters are deeply personal. This is why if matters are not dealt with properly, parties may often face long-term impacts. To avoid unnecessary stress and trauma in the future, it is important to handle all legal issues with the help of professional guidance.
Property settlement procedures can get heated and couples often dispute over this. Since short marriage property settlement is different, parties often feel more confused about this.
Each case can be overwhelming to deal with. However, with the help of the right family lawyer, your matter can be handled efficiently. Importantly, each party must consider getting BFAs.
Our family lawyers are experts in various matters including child custody issues, property settlement, matters related to consent orders, and binding financial agreements. Moreover, we have expert mediators and arbitrators in our team.
At JB Solicitors, our family solicitors are committed to providing each and everyone with timely legal guidance. We have a team of award-winning lawyers who are passionate about resolving your legal troubles.
We are passionate about the community, and are always willing to help out. Incase you and your former spouse are unable to reach an agreement on property settlement, and your dispute is never-ending, you should attend mediation. In mediation sessions, experienced solicitors are able to assist each party to reach satisfactory agreements.
We offer fixed-fee prices for many of our services. This helps you gain an estimate on all legal costs, thereby assisting you when you are making your decision. If you choose to avail our legal services, we also draw up costs agreement beforehand so that you are well aware of all the costs involved.
For more enquiries, get in touch with our friendly lawyers. Alternatively, you can call our office at 02 9723 8080.