The Five-Step Approach to Property Settlement after Separation

Separation in itself is a difficult process. Life, as you know it, is uprooted, and there are drastic changes that one faces. The entire process can take an emotional toll on a person add to that legal matters and proceedings, and it is sure to get overwhelming.

It is best to leave such tedious proceedings to the professionals to guide you correctly in the matter and give you mindful legal advice. However, one should be through with the process and the steps involved in property settlement after separation.

Property separation is a serious matter wherein many factors are considered for an equitable and just settlement – the 50/50 splitting of property what movies would have you believe is far from the truth. The Family Law Act 1975 governs the splitting of assets, liabilities, and superannuation in the incident of separation after marriage.

The court has to follow the below 5 step approach to property settlement:

1) Identifying the asset pool available for division.

The first step is to identify and classify the asset pool available. This includes shared properties, properties on an individual name, inherited properties, and other assets like vehicles, jewelry, investment portfolio, bank accounts, and more. Parties are required to provide full disclosure of personal property held by them.
The decision of division of that property will be taken after considering multiple factors, like the amount of control and interest exercised by each party.

2) Determining whether it is ‘just and equitable to make any adjustment.

The courts must then intervene and decide if it’s just and equitable to make any adjustments. The number of years of the relationship, the contributions made by the parties, etc. everything is taken into account while defining the just and equitable settlement of the property.

3) Understanding the different contributions made by the involved parties.
Both financial and non-financial contributions made by the parties are assessed by the court. This includes the time frame of the start of the cohabitation till the time of separation. The contributions are broadly divided into two categories – financial and non-financial.

Under financial contribution, the following aspects are taken into consideration:

• Income and wages,
• Property acquired during the period of the relationship.
• Assets owned at the time of the start of cohabitation.
• Gifts and prize winnings.

Under homemaker contributions: contributions made for the welfare of the family are significant. It includes taking care of children and the elderly, house chores, parental responsibility.

Non-financial contribution includes:

Unpaid work in the family business or help during the start of the business.
Renovation or landscaping work is done in the home or investment property.

4) Assessing each party’s future needs.

After understanding the financial needs, the court needs to consider the future needs of the party.
The following factors are considered while making a decision:

• Age and condition of health;
• income and future earning potential;
• Property and monetary resources;
• Parental responsibility;
• Caretaking responsibilities;
• Duration of the relationship or marriage.

5) Reviewing if the final division is just and equitable.

In this step, the court reviewed the final settlement, and it is ensured that the settlement is just and equitable and per the law.


Legal professionals can aptly guide you through the process and can help you get the best possible settlement for your case. If you are looking for property settlement lawyers in Adelaide, then visit our website to find some good legal advice.