Assets before and after separation

You may have separated some time ago, but are yet to separate your assets. Many people are separated for years before they finalise these issues. Some can't agree, some don't get around to it and for others it's just too complex.

Whether you’ve been married, been in a de facto relationship, or in a same sex relationship, this can become complex and difficult when one partner receives an inheritance or purchases a large asset such as a house or a business after you have separated. The lines in the sand of who owns what become very blurred and these cases can become too large and complex for many other family law firms.

In these circumstances, the law surrounding the timing of your separation and the assets owned by each partner is complex and can cause conflict. You may find you need highly-skilled, clear and confident legal advice to help you work through your differences, so you can make the best decisions for you and your family’s future.

With knowledge of the law and the practical know-how to apply it, your Jones Mitchell family lawyer will work with you to identify the most appropriate approach to resolve your differences quickly – whether it is negotiation or specific alternate dispute resolution approaches such as mediationarbitration, or early neutral evaluation; or in suitable cases a collaborative law approach. Only if necessary and when all other approaches are exhausted or inappropriate would we use our litigation experience and resources and go to court.

We will listen to your individual situation, and no matter how straight forward or complex,  navigate you through the maze of legal requirements of property settlementsfinancial agreements, financial orders, and divorce applications.

Case study – Robert, 63, is looking to sell his business

Robert and his wife separated eight years ago after 25 years of marriage. Still amicable, they had drifted apart as the children grew, and have not formally separated their assets. They have an informal arrangement where his wife lives off certain investment income, while he runs and manages a large and still growing business.

Recently, Robert has been made aware of the potential value of his business . Thinking about his retirement, Robert is now working to build and plan to sell in the near future. Unaware of the impact of the business sale on his personal situation, Robert has been referred by his commercial lawyer to Jones Mitchell to ‘formally sort out his separation’. Robert has been advised that his marital status and his unfinished separation of assets may significantly impact on his retirement planning and the proceeds of the sale of his business.

When Jones Mitchell met Robert, they were aware that Robert’s wife might want to know why he is now wanting to formally separate their assets. Although she has been amicable to date, she may wonder what his motivations are and look to obtain far more assets that Robert is willing to give up. Working with Robert to obtain the background information to fully understand the circumstances and current arrangements, as well as working through scenarios if Robert sold his business, Jones Mitchell conducted a risk analysis to weigh up the pros and cons of formally separating now.

Ultimately, like many cases, Jones Mitchell worked with Robert to find a mutually beneficial solution that suited his future plans.

If you are acquiring assets and would like more information, visit our FAQs or contact us to speak with one of our experienced Jones Mitchell family lawyers.


Please note: Although this case study is based on a potentially real situation, it is hypothetical and is for illustrative purposes only. Every family law situation is unique. Consequently, our family law advice is tailored to each situation and individual outcomes will vary.