Separation can bring with it many personal and financial hurdles. This is often a time of great complexity and personal stress. Good family lawyers understand that they are not simply dealing with a client – they are in fact helping an individual human being during a difficult life event.
A key question that a separating spouse will face is: How much am I entitled to? The answer to this might not be a simple equation.
Your family lawyers should be able to skilfully assess your settlement entitlements and manage your expectations during this difficult phase. For those who have yet to seek legal advice on separation and settlement, it is important to look for advisors who are experts in the latest developments of family law.
A simple split?
In all but a few cases, separating spouses will not be faced with a simple ‘50/50 split and we’re done’ scenario. This not because family lawyers are seeking a complex path.
The reality of life before and after separation is that many factors need to be taken into account in order to establish a fair settlement. In fact, some clients who are expecting only a small entitlement might find that they are entitled to more.
Contributions during the relationship
Contributions are not restricted to simple financial input. Take for example a couple where one works outside the home and the other takes care of children and the household. Such non-pecuniary (‘non-dollar’) contributions must be accounted for under family law for the purposes of ascertaining settlement entitlements.
Family courts accept that when it comes to the size of an asset pool, it has usually taken more than just the input of money to make this grow.
Contributions before the relationship
In some cases, the law will recognise that certain assets were accumulated prior to the relationship. This might include cars, real estate or other items of value.
However, dealing with these might not be simple. For example, if a vehicle was brought by one party into a relationship that lasted many years, it might be the case that this is now simply considered to have become a part of general assets.
Conversely, one party might have brought a large real estate asset into a short-lived spousal relationship – and this can affect entitlements. It is important to know where you stand on such issues
The future also has a part to play in working out settlement entitlements. This might seem an odd statement, but family lawyers understand that courts will expect that settlement will occur in a way that is fair both now and into the future.
An important part of this is consideration of the future earning potential of the parties. If for example care responsibilities have placed one party in the position of having minimal future prospects of employment, then this can affect the division of assets. It can also play a part in establishing any child support or related entitlements into the future.
Consult the experts
For people facing separation, taking the first steps can feel daunting. At Pentana Stanton Lawyers, our family law solicitors will confidently act on your behalf in a way that will help reduce the stress of separation, while seeking to maximise your entitlements. We will always act in your best interests. To begin your journey, or to clarify your current position, please get in touch. We will be happy to provide you with expert one-on-one advice about the best way to receive a fair and positive settlement.