Following separation, the Family Court may make orders dividing property between parties to a marriage or of a de facto relationship (including same sex couples).
For WA, the Family Court Act 1997 provides the Family Court of Western Australia with powers to make orders in relation to de facto relationships in matters where:
- one or both of the parties lived in Western Australia on the day that the application was made; and
- both parties lived in Western Australia for at least one third of the relationship; or
- the applicant has made substantial financial, non-financial or homemaker/parent contributions in Western Australia.
In addition, the court must be satisfied that:
- there has been a de facto relationship between the parties for at least two years; or
- there is a child of the relationship who is under 18 years of age, and failing to make the orders would result in serious injustice to the party caring for the child; or
- the applicant has made substantial financial, non-financial or homemaker/parent contributions and failing to make the orders would result in a serious injustice to that party.
In considering the division of property, the court enters into a four-step process:-
- identifying the assets and liabilities of the relationship/marriage;
- examining the financial, non-financial and homemaker/parent contributions made by each of the parties;
- considering whether either party requires a percentage adjustment to their contribution-based entitlements, based on future needs; and
- considering whether the orders are just and equitable.
In the event that parties reach an agreement as to the division of property, a Form 11 Application for Consent Orders may be lodged with the Family Court for their approval. In considering an Application for Consent Orders, the court must apply the four-step process before making the orders agreed upon by the parties.
DS Family Law provides advice to parties in relation to all aspects of property settlement, including negotiation and the preparation of Applications for Consent Orders. Should court proceedings become necessary, DS Family Law will pursue the appropriate resolution of financial matters with determination and skill.