When a couple separates, one of the most important things that needs to be completed is the separation of property.  Property is generally defined as either being relationship property or separate property

Relationship property is usually divided equally between a couple on separation when they have been in a qualifying relationship

A qualifying relationship is a relationship of three or more years.  It is not restricted to a marriage and can also be a civil union or de facto partnership. 

You do not have to be living with the person to be in a de facto relationship, as there are other factors that are considered when deciding when a couple are in a de facto relationship.

In terms of relationship property, this is all property accumulated during the period of the relationship or property that was accumulated before the relationship but used for the benefit of the relationship. 

Regardless of when it was purchased, if one of the couple owns the family home, then this will be relationship property.  The family home is the main place of residence for a couple during their relationship. 

Chattels are also relationship property.  These include furniture, appliances, vehicles, boats, household tools and machinery, pets and leisure items.

Personal gifts and jewellery are separate property.

Sometimes property that would have become relationship property can be separate property if the couple entered into a Contracting Out Agreement or “pre-nuptial” agreement at any point in time in their relationship.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.