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What Is My Wife Entitled to in a Divorce Australia?

80/20 split divorce

Australia’s Family Law Act 1975 governs the division of assets and liabilities following the dissolution of marriage. The court focuses on ensuring a just and equitable distribution, not necessarily an equal split. Potential areas your wife may be entitled to a share of include:

  • Property Settlement:
    • The family home, regardless of whose name is on the title.
    • Other real estate, investments, vehicles, and valuable assets.
    • Superannuation (retirement savings) accrued during the marriage.
  • Spousal Maintenance: Payments may be ordered if your wife cannot financially support herself adequately, considering your relative income and her earning capacity.
  • Other Considerations: The Court may also consider factors like childcare responsibilities and other specific circumstances when determining entitlements.

Also read: 80/20 Split Divorce Settlement in Australia

Is my wife entitled to half of everything in a divorce?

Here’s a breakdown of why the answer to this question isn’t a simple yes or no, along with the factors influencing asset division in an Australian divorce:

No Automatic 50/50 Split

Australian family law does not mandate an automatic 50/50 split of assets in a divorce. The focus is on achieving a “just and equitable” outcome, which means a fair distribution considering your specific case’s circumstances.

How the Court Decides

The court follows a four-step process:

  1. Identifying and Valuing Assets: The first step involves listing all marital assets and debts. This encompasses everything owned or owed by either spouse, regardless of individual ownership claims. The court then assesses these to establish an overall valuation of the marital asset pool.
  2. Assessing Contributions: Each party’s financial (earnings, inheritances, payments towards the home and assets) and non-financial (homemaking, raising children) contributions are evaluated.
  3. Considering Future Needs: Factors like age, health, earning capacity, and any responsibilities for children are weighed to determine what’s fair for both parties moving forward.
  4. Ensuring Fairness: The Court verifies whether the proposed division is just and equitable.

Situations Where a 50/50 Split May Be Likely:

  • Long marriages where contributions were relatively equal.
  • Marriages with a large shared asset pool.

When It Might Not Be 50/50:

  • One party brought significant assets into the marriage.
  • One party has significantly higher earning power or needs due to health or children.
  • Significant non-financial contributions by one party (e.g., extended time as primary caregiver).

Important Notes

  • Seek Legal Advice: A competent divorce lawyer can advise you on your entitlements and likely outcomes as to how your marital property might be divided.
  • Time Limits: There are time limits for making property settlement applications after a divorce in Australia. Property settlements initiated ‘Out of Time’ can be more complex.

Will my wife be entitled to the division of properties even if she has not worked since we got married? 

Yes, even if your wife has not been employed throughout your marriage, she is likely still entitled to a share of the properties acquired during that period.

Australian family law recognises non-financial contributions, such as homemaking and childcare, as equally valuable to financial contributions. This means her role as a homemaker is important in determining property division.

Also, if your wife has sacrificed her earning potential to raise the family, the court may consider this when ensuring a fair division of property that supports her future.

The key point here is that assets acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title, usually form part of the marital asset pool and are subject to division.

Also read: 7 Effective Tips for Negotiating a Property Settlement

Not sure what your wife is entitled to during divorce?

Understanding your wife’s entitlements and your own rights is crucial. Don’t navigate this alone – let the experienced team at Justice Family Lawyers guide you.

Our expert team is dedicated to guiding you through every step, ensuring you receive a fair and just outcome. 

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