The Courts have very wide powers to divide the property in whatever way they think is fair. No two cases are the same and separating couples should get legal advice from a lawyer who specialises in family property law.
There is no rule that property will be divided 50/50, or that it will be divided according to any fixed proportion. Rather, the Court considers the circumstances of each family and tries to do what is fair. The marriage or de facto relationship is not regarded as a way of equalising the property between the parties, as it might in a 'community property' jurisdiction, and on separation the Court's aim is to leave each party with a fair share having regard to what they put in, and their needs and responsibilities post-relationship, to the extent that the available property permits this.
The Court goes through a four step process when it is making its decision; firstly, identifying and valuing the property between the parties; next, considering the respective contributions of each party towards the property and the welfare of the family; then considering the respective future needs of each party; before finally considering whether the making of orders proposed is just and equitable. These steps are set out in more detail at the beginning of this section under Dividing property.
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