Once you’ve separated from your spouse, you will probably have questions about who gets to keep which property, whether superannuation gets split, and whether your property settlement has anything to do with what arrangements you make about your children. Married and de facto couples are treated the same when it comes to property settlement.
The law treats marriage as a joint enterprise and recognises that spouses may make different, but equally important, contributions to a marriage. Some of those contributions may be financial, such as paying the mortgage or purchasing property. Others will be non-financial, such as managing the home and looking after children. Others fit somewhere in between, such as doing unpaid work for a family business. Both financial and non-financial contributions to a marriage are treated as valuable and will be taken into account in the final property settlement.
Any property owned by either spouse or jointly owned by both may be divided in a property settlement. Superannuation is treated as property and may be divided in a property settlement.
Australian family law does not presume that spouses have made equal contributions to the family property. Thus, there is no 50/50 starting point for property settlements. However, many property settlements fall within this range.
The arrangements you make about your children do not directly affect your property settlement. However, if one of the parents has primary care of the children, it may increase that parent’s property allocation because of their greater need.