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Property Settlement Query

Could someone possibly give me a rough idea of the percentage split in our circumstances please.

Married 13 years with 2 primary aged kids. Separated 9 months ago.  We began the marriage with nothing and both took time off to look after the kids when they were little, we have agreed that our contributions are basically equal.  Both have worked full-time for a few years now.  We have agreed a 50/50 split of our super, cars, furniture, shares, boat etc - none of these things have any great value - not worth fighting over.  The only 2 assets remaining are:

an investment property, value $350k, mortgage $360k
family home, value $550k, mortgage $170k

I am currently living in the investment property with the tenant (who is a family member of mine).  He is living in the family home.  I have offered to take the investment property (with the negative equity) and so we've just to agreed on how to split the equity in the family home.

What I have been unable to find out is how our salaries affect the property split.  He earns $45k per annum, I earn $85k.   I initially agreed to him having the greater share given than his earning potential is a lot less than mine.  However, I am now re-considering my offer given that his addiction issues have resulted in the reduction of his time with the kids to currently 2 nights a fortnight supervised (agreed through mediation, not a court order), but with one of our children so distressed at the thought of staying with him that this child only stays one night a fortnight.  He is currently claiming that he will be tackling his addiction problems and will be looking to get 50/50 shared care of the kids, but he has been fighting this battle for many years so I don't rate his chances.

We have both consulted solicitors, and mine thought it would go 60/40 in my favour, his solicitor though that it would go 60/40 in his favour.  I have also bought a property settlement calculator from another site but it doesn't take salaries into account.  I have also read many, many, many judgments but property settlements really seem unique case by case.  My head is beginning to spin.

If this got to court would the decision be based on the arrangements with the kids at the time of the hearing or his proposed plan of 50/50 in the future?  Would age be a factor?  He is 46 and I am 40.

Any ball-park estimates would be greatly appreciated.

As far as I am aware… which is my own case only :P… Future Income doesn't seem to make much difference… What does make a difference is the care split of the children, and what input you each put into the assets. Any decision on property is usually made based on assets at separation, not care of children at separation on in the future - though if there is a definite order on the care it may become a factor.

I can't give you an idea of how it woul go split-wise - I signed mine under duress and only in order to get that section over and done with (65/35 in my favor)

Good Luck…
Wicca, you did well, I had two under the age of 18 and one over the age of 18 (so there was still a cost) and our split was 60/40, and he has never had the kids stay with him on a regular basis. And his income was $70k, and I was lucky to get $32k.
For what its worth, my split was 48/52. (I was the 48). Care of the children was split 50/50. I understood that the reason the asset split was not also 50/50 was because my salary was higher (approx $90k compared to $45k at the time).

Contributions to the assets didn't count as I understood that after a period of time you are both deemed to have contributed the same either financially or by caring for the children.
Yes, as Luthien said, contributions really don't seem to count. I had a voluntary reduncy so my super was paid out. It was used to clear the mortgage and pay for a new vehicle for the ex, (not me) and for an overseas holiday for the whole family, so as a result, what super I have is minimal. My contribution just four years prior to seperation certainly didn't get considered.
morgay,  balancing teh factors you metioned, Iwould be looking at 55-50% to yourself.

Ex will not get 60%

But given there is not alot of equity 5% is about $20K.  In my view, while significant, should not be a major block to settlment.
Thanks guys for all the comments.  After all the reading I've done I think I've come to the same conclusions really - that our contributions are equal, earning capacity is only part of the picture (I think his solicitor gave him the idea that his salary versus mine would dictate the split) and that the reality of the time the kids spend with him (not his rosy picture of the future) is what counts.

My dilemma is a moral one really.  For him to afford to buy a modest house following the property settlement, given his salary and age, he would need a greater share.  He knows this and is trying to play the emotional card on me.  I am considering this, given that I want the kids to have a room each and a comfortable place to visit Dad and I can still afford to buy a house with a smaller share.  The dilemma is that I know, in the future, that I may resent giving him "my share" especially with his alcohol problems.  He may end up not being able to maintain and house and mortgage and it'll all go to waste anyway.

So, plenty for me to consider, do I go with a courts view or a more emotionally based one?  Something only I can decide I guess.

Thanks again for the advice.

Last edit: by Morgay

Not an easy decision, but whatever you decide, don't expect this will win you any thanks. For similar reasons to you, in my settlement I agreed to the other parent keeping the house, everything in it, and his superannuation. I pay child support and all the kids extra expenses as well. But none of this has helped to maintain even a civil relationship with the other parent, quite the opposite in fact. However, as you say, at least the kids can go a stay with their dad in a pleasant environment, and least they still have a good relationship with their father.
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