Chatswood Family Lawyers

Distribution of Assets


Chatswood Divorce Lawyer Handles Equitable Distribution of Property

Under New South Wales law, the distribution of marital property follows the equitable distribution process. The goal is not a 50-50 split that we see in community property states. Rather, the court seeks to arrive at a distribution of assets and debt that it views as fair. Of course, parties to a divorce often have very different opinions of what is just, so there can be a great deal of argument. The more wealth you’ve accumulated, the greater the chance for error and the danger that the process will yield an unfair result. At Chatswood Family Lawyers, we have extensive experience counselling clients on the distribution of moderate-to-high net worth marital estates in the North Shore area, Sydney and its environs. We’re prepared to fight for your interests at every stage of the case.


The equitable distribution process follows four distinct steps. Each of the following aspects has its challenges:

Determine the asset pool

This stage involves making a complete inventory of all assets and debts of the parties including the property, liabilities, superannuation and financial resources of the parties. The challenge in this stage is ensuring that the opposing party has been completely transparent in the financial disclosure and is not attempting to hide assets. Once you have determined the asset pool, a price is placed on each item. This can lead to a battle involving real estate appraisers and financial experts. Assets that are difficult to evaluate include ongoing businesses, professional licenses and practices, real estate, retirement benefits, and stock options.

Assess the parties’ contributions

The second step is assessing the parties’ contributions during the marriage (financial, non-financial and contributions as a homemaker and parent) and expressing the contributions as a percentage based settlement.

a) Financial contributions: are all monetary contributions to the relationship. Financial contributions can include but are not limited to.



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    – Wages

    – Amount each person had at the start of the relationship

    – Termination money

    – Lotto winnings

    b) Non-financial contributions: Non financial contributions are contributions that a party has made that has added value for example renovating a house. The value of the non financial contributions can be determined by how much it would have cost to pay someone to come in and do the same thing.

    c) Parental: These contributions could be described as the amount of parenting that was done, such as helping children with homework, taking them to school, spending time with them etc. There is no specified amount, however when one party works and the other cannot due to parental responsibility, it is seen as an equal contribution to the wage that the other party contributes to the relationship.

    d) Homemaker: These are the contributions made to the home for example vacuuming, cooking, washing etc. Homemaker contributions are very similar to parenting contributions/

    Further adjustment due to present and future needs

    The third step that the Court must consider is whether a further adjustment, to the assessment at Step 2, needs to be made to either party based on their present and future needs. During a property settlement, current and future needs will be taken into account. The following is a list of the needs that the court will look at:

    • Age
    • State of health
    • Income, property and financial resources
    • Physical and mental capacity to gain employment
    • Parent or sole carer for children under the age of 18
    • Commitments that are necessary to provide for themselves or a child
    • Responsibilities of either party to support another person
    • All parties are living a reasonable standard of living
    • Duration of the marriage
    • The maintenance of the property that affected the earning capacity of a party
    • The need to protect a party who wishes to continue that role as a parent
    • Any fact or circumstance which, in the opinion of the court, the justice of the case requires to be taken into account.
    • Once the appropriate needs of each party have been identified the court will then look at the cost of each of these needs.
    • Just and Equitable Orders

    The fourth step that the Court must consider is whether the proposed orders are just and equitable in all of the circumstances of the case. This step involves the Court reviewing the orders and ensuring that they are fair which may include adjustment of the orders including the payment of a sum of money from one party to another.

    The family law process becomes very complex when the spouses have significant wealth or financial obligations. The divorce attorney you retain should have successfully managed the distribution of marital estates that are equivalent in size to yours.


    Get your fair share from the equitable distribution process. For reliable representation of moderate-to-high net worth estates, contact Chatswood Family Lawyers online, by email at or by phone on (02) 9412 4500. Our firm serves clients throughout the North Shore, Greater Sydney and its environs.