Family Law - Later in Life

Regardless of age, the family law principals are the same.  But for those who are older, some family law issues may be more relevant than others.

 

Long Relationship

If separation has occurred after a long relationship, then the family law principals push a property division towards a 50/50 split.  There needs to be a strong reason to vary much from the 50/50 (and sometimes there is).

Not the first Relationship

It is just as common for it not to be a first relationship, but a shorter subsequent relationship. In this case, what assets, debts and super each party had at the start of the relationship is very important. There is not the same push to a 50/50 split, as other family law factors have greater importance.

Children not an issue?

Often children are adult and the family law usually only deals with children under 18 years old.  Sometimes children become involved in their adult capacity. Sometimes (but not often) adult children can be a witness.

Superannuation

Superannuation is often a large factor has it has had time to accumulate during each parties' working life.  It can be the biggest asset at the time.


There is also a greater likelihood that the super maybe one of the older and less common types of defined benefits schemes. Theses are complicated schemes and they are not all the same. How they are treated by the family law is not straight forward.   Whether it is treated as an asset or income can have huge impact on the outcome. Great care is needed.

Health and Future Needs

A party's health is always relevant, but for those who are older the health issues can be more serious and because of this have a larger impact on the family law outcome.

Death & Family Law

While uncomfortable to think about, it needs to be considered if there is a chance that one of the parties may pass away. If either party dies then the family law rights of both parties is lost.  The surviving  party could get everything. The safety net is to start court proceedings, for once court action is started it can be continued by the estate of a party should they pass away.

Wills, Power of Attorneys and superannuation beneficiaries, should all be reviewed and updated if needed.

Financial Advice

Financial Advice is always a good idea, that is, advice about the best way to own and invest your assets and income. Lawyers are not qualified or allowed to give this advice. A suitable financial adviser is needed.

For those approaching or in retirement, this is an important issue because the family law settlement may need to set the party up for retirement.  Issues of Centrelink and other entitlements need to be considered. If advice is obtained early, then the family law settlement can be structured to maximise the opportunities.