What’s property?

‘Property’ in the context of a marriage or de facto relationship (including same sex marriages and relationships), means more than just houses.

Property is defined broadly and can include assets such as:

  • those in either party’s name (the family home, investment properties, cash in the bank, motor vehicles, contents and personal possessions)
  • superannuation
  • an interest in a business, company or trust
  • assets held jointly with other parties such as family members, business partners.

It is important to know that assets held overseas are also included in the pool as well as assets which have been inherited and other windfalls, regardless of whether they were accumulated before, during and in some cases even after the relationship ended.

Blanchfield Nicholls is ready to guide and advise you on your property settlement questions.

Dividing your assets

It is important to understand that the Family Court does not use a set formula to divide property. Each case is reviewed by a judicial officer and determined on its own facts.

It is therefore impossible to know in advance precisely what orders a judicial officer will make. The decision is made after all the evidence of both parties is heard and the judicial officer decides what is “just and equitable” based on the facts of your particular situation.

The Court considers 4 key areas when dividing a couple’s assets:

  • direct financial contributions (for example: salaries)
  • indirect financial contributions (for example: gifts)
  • non-financial contributions (for example: renovating a home)
  • parent and homemaker contributions.

Not all couples intermingle their finances, and in some circumstances no orders for adjustment of property interests are made, although this is rare.

Blanchfield Nicholls is ready to guide and advise you on your division of asset questions. 

Spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance generally takes the form of financial support paid by one spouse to another (including de facto spouses), often by way of periodic payments, or at times a lump sum.

An Application for spousal maintenance will only be successful if the party seeking maintenance is unable to support themselves adequately and if the party from who maintenance is claimed is reasonably able to provide support after payment of their own reasonable expenses.

Spousal maintenance payments can be negotiated between parties or secured by a Court Order. Following divorce or legal separation limitation periods for maintenance applications apply, so it is crucial you obtain the right spousal maintenance advice early.

Blanchfield Nicholls is ready to guide and advise you on your rights (or obligations) under spousal maintenance. 

Child support

Separated parents have a legal obligation to contribute financially towards their children’s expenses. Child support can take the form of periodic payments, as well as lump sums, and non-periodic payments for private school fees, uniforms, medical costs, orthodontic costs, and health insurance.

Parents can apply for a child support assessment via the Department of Human Services – Child Support, or they can negotiate a different arrangements which can then be formalised through a private child support agreement, which is tailored to an individual family’s needs. Some families have informal arrangements in place for payment of child support.

Blanchfield Nicholls is ready to guide and advise you on your rights (or obligations) under child support.


Get in touch with the team for a confidential discussion regarding your family’s situation.