Westminster Lawyers Simplifies Family Law Process with New Infographic

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Melbourne law firm Westminster Lawyers has released a new infographic simplifying the process of property division under Australia’s Family Law Act. Experts from the firm help explain the contents of this infographic and share information on other significant changes to the Family Law Act.

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Westminster Lawyers, one of the most prominent law firms in Melbourne, has just released an infographic to help Australian couples and families understand the process of property division under the country’s Family Law Act. Family Law specialists from the firm state that simplifying the process for Australian families is necessary to reduce confusion that can further complicate such a difficult time.

The infographic separates the process of property division into four simple steps, the first of which is the identification and valuation of items which make up the asset pool. According to the experts at Westminster Lawyers, items that are part of the asset pool include those jointly owned by the separating couple, assets in the sole name of one of the parties, or properties in the name of an entity in which one or both parties have an interest, such as companies or businesses.

The second step is to assess property contributions of each party before, during and after cohabitation. These contributions include direct and indirect contributions, inheritances, gifts, and efforts as homemaker or parent. The third step involves assessing the future needs and resources of the parties involved. This step takes into consideration the health status and earning capacities of the involved parties, child custody, superannuation, assistance from family members, and other relationships formed.

According to Westminster’s family lawyers, Melbourne couples and families should take note of the various amendments the Family Law Act has undergone over the past few years. Some changes involve superannuation and calculation methods for child support:

“Superannuation is now treated in a similar way to other property. It is valued, contributions to it are assessed, and an adjustment can be made in favour of one party or the other taking into account matters such as the parties’ earning capacities, age and health. Superannuation belonging to one party can be transferred to the other pursuant to a court order; or a binding financial agreement,” state the firm’s specialists.

With regard to child support, the experts at Westminster Lawyers clarify that certain changes to the way child support is calculated commenced in mid-2006. Further significant changes to the child support formula were made in mid-2008.

“The Child Support Agency calculates the amount of child support payable by one parent to the other using a formula which takes into account both parents’ incomes, the percentage of care of the children each parent has and the cost of living depending on the age of the children,” they explain.

The final step in the property division process is to review the outcome of the three previous steps and determine if this is “just and equitable” in all circumstances.

Family law experts from Westminster Lawyers state that creating such a useful infographic was borne out of compassion for the struggle that couples and families experience. As one lawyer from the firm puts it, “We recognise the emotional upheaval experienced by many people following the breakdown of a relationship. We strive to promote the interests of our clients during this challenging period."

Couples interested in the services offered by Westminster Lawyers can find more information about the firm on their website at http://www.westminsterlaw.com.au. The infographic on property division under the Family Law Act can be seen here.

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Tony Salce
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