The answer is no.
Firstly, divorce and property settlement are two different things and are considered separately. You can choose to get divorced, to divide the matrimonial assets, or to do both.
Secondly, divorce in Australia is ‘no fault’. This means that there is no need to show any wrongdoing of either person. The ground for divorce is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down, shown by the parties having been separated for at least 12 months.
Thirdly, property settlement is determined by what is considered just and equitable i.e. what is fair based on your particular circumstances after identifying the current asset pool, each person’s contribution to the growth of that asset pool, and each person’s future needs.
Infidelity is not considered a relevant factor in the equation.
That said, extreme cases of poor conduct can result in the ‘wounded’ party receiving more in the property settlement, for example, if there was significant domestic violence throughout the relationship, or if one party had a gambling addiction and wasted matrimonial assets.
Justine Dean – Samford Family Law