I get 50% of everything when we divorce, right?

No. This is a common mistake people make.

In Australia, there is no presumption that property should be divided 50/50 when a couple separates.

The overarching question the law asks is: what is just and equitable? i.e. what is fair based on your particular circumstances. In considering what is just and equitable in your case, follow the following steps:-

Assets and liabilities
Identify all of your and your ex-partner’s current assets and liabilities. Assets include the family home, investments, bank accounts, vehicles, business assets, superannuation and the like. Liabilities include the mortgage, personal loans, credit cards, hire purchase debts, taxation liabilities and such. Regardless of whether you or your ex-partner is the registered owner of the asset, it’s all in the mix for the purposes of working out a fair property settlement.

Identify the contributions that each person has made to the growth of the parties’ current assets. Contributions can be both financial and non-financial. Contributions to the welfare of the family are relevant. Contributions made at the start of the relationship are factored in, e.g. one person owned a house at the start and sold it to pay for the deposit on the family home. Contributions during the relationship are also considered, e.g. an inheritance. Sometimes contributions after you have separated are also relevant, e.g. one person has maintained the family home and made all of the mortgage payments.

Future needs
Consider whether either person has greater future needs based on their age, health, primary care of children, income earning capacity or financial resources. In terms of what the law considers to be “fair”, these factors will often warrant an adjustment of property division to the person who has greater future needs.

Justine Dean – Samford Family Law