The Five-Step Approach In Property Settlement Matters

A property settlement can be termed as one of the primary issues to be resolved during a marriage breakdown. The accommodation is made between the separating parties for dividing assets, liabilities, and other financial resources. The most common misconception is that while settlements, all properties are split equally. There is no law in the family court, where each party receives an equal share. Instead, some fundamental factors determine in assessing the criteria for a property settlement.

To determine who gets what following a separation, most people want a ‘fair’ property settlement. But, the Family Law Act 1975 uses the phrase ‘just and equitable. In order to monitor this phrase, a five-step process is applied by jacquie Adelaide.

Step 1: Determine the asset pool in concern – A Court must first identify assets and liabilities for each of the separating parties. This comprises of:

  • Assets such as real property, interests earned from different sources, motor vehicles, shares, savings in any form, and other income generated financial tools.
  • Liabilities such as personal loans, mortgages, credit card debts, taxation liabilities, and other accountable liabilities.

Step 2: Assess the contribution of each of the parties – The court considers the financial as well as non-financial contributions by each during the relationship. The court will assess:

  1. Financial contributions like:
  • Income
  • Inheritances
  • Compensation payments
  • Gifts
  • Property owned prior to a relationship
  • Non-Financial: Which one of both the parents took children’s primary care
  • Who was responsible for keeping up the home
  • Renovations and improvements in the property
  • Primary caretaker for cooking and cleaning
  • Loss of income on one’s career, if any

Step 3: Future Needs – Each of the separating individual’s future needs are considered by property settlement lawyers Adelaide. Court determines which party will require a larger portion of the property pool to support them in the future. This includes the health of both the parties and also who will go for the primary care of the children under the age of 18.

Step 4: Determine whether the outcome is just and equitable for both – The court make assessments of step 1, 2, and 3 to determine the result and to ensure that the overall outcome will be fair and equitable for both. Property settlement lawyers at Adelaide provide advice to the clients for the possible effects in the matter of litigation.

Step 5: Make necessary adjustments for the final percentage – The court makes essential adjustments for the final percentage split. As every case is unique and there is no 50% rule, the judgment is achieved with the best settlement outcome.


It is crucial to seek specific legal advice following a breakdown of a marriage or a de-facto relationship. Each case is unique and may vary depending on a series of present and future circumstances. It is very much advisable that even if both the partners getting separated have reached an agreement, it is good to get the contract reviewed by an experienced solicitor.