You do not need to be divorced to apply for a property settlement. A property settlement can be applied for at any time after separation, even if you are still residing in the same property.
There are common myths regarding percentage splits, particularly that "the wife gets everything", or that is is 50/50. The Court adopts a 4 step process in property settlement decision making, and looks at:
- Financial contributions (including contributions before, during or after the Marriage, including gifts bonuses and inheritances);
- Non-financial contributions (as a home-maker or primary carer of children);
- The future needs of both parties. The Court takes into account many factors when deciding on the future needs of both parties. these include:
- Age and health;
- Capacity to earn money;
- Access to non-income-tested pensions;
- parenting responsibilities; and
- Several other factors.
- Finally the Court looks at whether or not the orders are just and equitable and may alter the proportion of Superannuation to current assets that a person receives. It is not usually straightforward, as every aspect needs to be considered separately, and then as part of the whole settlement.
Important time limits apply for reaching a property settlement. If you were married, you have one year from the date that your divorce is final to apply to the court for a financial order.
If you were in a de facto relationship, you have two years from the date that your de facto relationship ended to apply to the court for a financial order.