WA Separation and Divorce - Where Do I Stand?

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Danny Western

3 August 2015
My wife and I have been together 25 years but are now going through a separation. She tells me she has spoken to a family lawyer and he told her she is entitled to 70% of what we have. Our daughter is over 21 years old and married herself, so is not dependant on either of us. I am the only wage earner therefore she does not contribute anything to the house payments (I have been paying off our house for about 7 years), nor does she contribute towards either of the car payments, household bills, insurances, food etc. etc. so basically she is dependant on me. I do my own washing, most of my own cooking, cleaning etc. We have been sleeping separately and mostly living separate lives, other than living in the same house, for around 12 months now.

Could you please tell me where I stand when we do officially divorce? What would she really be entitled to? I have offered to help set her up in her own place (pay towards bond etc. and buying furniture or giving her items we have in this house already) as well as offered to allow her to keep the car I am paying off (the loan and registration are in my name). Still she says its not enough and seems set on pursuing an aggressive divorce by involving courts and lawyers.

Any information you can give me would be much appreciated. Thank you.


Hi Danny,

Generally, you can start working out a property settlement any time after you separate from your spouse. You do not need to wait until your divorce comes through. However if you end up needing to apply to the court to make a decision you will have 12 months from the date your divorce becomes final to commence property settlement proceedings. However you can also get a court ordered property settlement before you are divorced.

The first step is to try to negotiate a settlement. This is the most cost, time and stress effective way to go. However in many cases, this isn't possible, so the parties must either go to mediation or apply to the court for a decision.

As to what your wife is entitled to, there are no hard and fast rules. The court looks at each party's financial and non financial contributions to the family (i.e how it was for most of the relationship - not what it has been like since you have separated), the earning capacity of each party and what the needs of each party will be in the future. If you need a more specific analysis, I would see a family lawyer yourself.

Check this page out, it describes the process that the court goes through in order to evaluate a just and fair distribution of your joint assets. How does the Family Court deal with a property case