Financial Disclosure Information

For property / financial settlements after separation, use this as the basis of the four step settlement process: 1 Disclosure, 2. Contributions, 3. Future needs, and 4. Just & equitable.

It’s the same all over Australia.

  1. DISCLOSURE. Your solicitor has asked you for a list of your assets and liabilities and their values. What to include? What to leave out?

Make two lists – one for assets and one for liabilities.

  • ASSETS: Your home, contents, cars, caravans, boats, motorbikes, investment property, bank accounts, shares, business interests, superannuation, life insurance, redundancy payouts, inheritance, large gifts, collections, refunds owing, loans owing to you from friends or family, lottery wins, saved up money for a rainy day.
  • Assets include everything acquired before, during and after separation. You can agree between you to include or remove any item. You may wish to exclude the cars you are currently driving if their value is about equal, for example.
  • LIABILITIES: mortgage, loans from friends and family, credit card debt, student loans, tax debt, novated vehicle lease.
  • If one party has acquired debt from gambling or drug use, for example, you can agree to exclude this debt from the net asset pool or it can be regarded as an add-back.
  • Give each item a value, eg house is valued at $980,000. If you can’t agree, pay a registered valuer to give a value. This is not the same as a real estate agent appraisal. These are usually free of charge.  
  • Add up each column.
  • Subtract the liabilities from the assets. (This is assuming that the liabilities are less than the assets.)
  • The result is your Net Asset Pool. This is the figure that you will split between you, or, hat each of you will retain.

2. CONTRIBUTIONS

Have each of you contributed to the household to the best of your ability? Maybe one of you has gone out to work and brought home salary and the other has stayed home and looked after the children and the home. The court sees financial and non-financial contributions as equally valid.

Did one of you bring in a large amount of funds at the beginning of the relationship? How long ago was that? What was the money used for? As a rule of thumb, the longer the relationship, the more likely it is that contributions will be equal. 

3. FUTURE NEEDS

After separation, will you be able to earn a living? Maybe you haven’t worked in twenty years. Do you have young children to look after? Is it reasonable to re-train and re-enter the workforce? Do either of you have a disability that prevents you supporting yourself post separation? Are you nearing retirement age? Are your qualifications out of date? 

4. JUST AND EQUITABLE

Having considered the size of the net asset pool, the contributions and future needs, what share of the pool does each of you need in order for the outcome to be just and equitable?