Do Cheating Partners Get Less On The Division Of Assets
Emily and Andy have been married for 15 years and have built up a comfortable life together. One day, Emily discovered Andy’s phone with several messages from another woman that seemed suspicious, and confronted Andy immediately who then confessed about his affair with a woman, saying he did not feel anything for Emily anymore. Emily now wants a divorce, and because of the affair she wants the home that is jointly owned by her and Andy, and wants to know whether she is entitled to it. Emily is confident that she can keep the home due to the emotional trauma and mental distress Andy caused her. Divorce
Australia operates under a “no-fault” divorce system. What does this mean? Ultimately, this means the court does not consider any wrongdoing of either party in the case of divorce. The law requires a period of separation for a minimum of 12 months.
Before dividing the assets of the parties, the court will be looking at the financial contributions by both parties and the contribution to the welfare of the family such as domestic chores and looking after the children. A party’s conduct will not be taken into account except in limited circumstances.
Also, the court will only make an order if it is satisfied that it is fair to do so in all circumstances. So unfortunately for Emily, the fact that Andy cheated on her with another woman will not be relevant in determining the division of assets.
Make sure you file your application for a property settlement as soon as possible once you’ve finalised your divorce – a property settlement application must be made within 12 months from the date of the divorce.
For de facto relationships, your application must be made within 2 years of the breakdown of the relationship.
If you miss this timeline, you must seek special permission of the court to make an application for property adjustment, which is not always granted.
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