Preparing for Family Law Advice

To be provided with the most accurate family law advice of your legal issues and develop the best plan to achieve your objective of obtaining a fair and equitable family law property settlement of your entitlements, a complete picture of you and your spouse’s financial circumstances and contributions to the relationship is necessary. The following list is a guide of required information to provide to your lawyer together with supporting documentation:-

  • Copies of your income tax returns and assessments for the past three financial years.
  • If you or your spouse has any interest in any business or partnership, please provide business tax returns, financial statements and assessments for the past three financial years.
  • If you or your spouse is controlling or majority shareholder or the governing director/managing director of any proprietary company, please provide the balance sheets and profit and loss accounts for the last three completed financial years, and the constitution of those companies.
  • Superannuation entitlements at the commencement of cohabitation and the last three years of member statements.
  • Your payslips from 1 July of the current tax year, if possible, but a minimum of two recent payslips.
  • Your spouse's payslips (if you can get them) from 1 July of the current tax year, if possible, but a minimum of two recent payslips.
  • Bank account statements of you and your spouse, individually or jointly.
  • Current balance of accounts with any financial institutions, including but not limited to, savings, loan, and credit cards including account numbers, and in whose names the accounts are held.
  • Registration certificates of all motor vehicles owned by you or your spouse. If registration certificate not available, then a full description of each vehicle including make, model and year.
  • Life insurance policies - provide the company name and policy or group number of all health and medical insurance, and obtain from the company a statement as to coverage for spouse and children.
  • Insurance policy details - provide the front sheets and schedules for any and all household insurance policies. The schedules should include jewellery and any property listed by value.
  • An inventory (room by room) and an estimate of the value of your household furniture and furnishings and household contents. Normally, household furniture is given a “garage sale” value unless it is of an antique or of special value. You can download a chattel inventory from our Family Law Resources page.
  • If there is any interest in an estate, provide a copy of the Will and copies of accounts and correspondence evidencing distributions to you or your family.
  • As to trusts, provide a copy of the trust deed and any amending deed and tax returns for the trust for the past three years.
  • With respect to each parcel of real estate, list the addresses and legal description – this will appear on the certificate of title deed and mortgage.
  • A copy of the mortgage on your home, and upon any other real estate.
  • Provide copies of electricity, gas, council and water rates and other outgoings in relation to each parcel of real estate.
  • If any parcel of real estate has been valued or appraised, provide copies of valuations or market appraisals.
  • Provide a copy of your share holdings, and all other securities owned by you and your spouse, individually or jointly, and name of broker or brokers. If you are unable to obtain copies, then provide the names of the companies, types of securities and the names of the brokers through whom you do business.
  • A list of all liabilities owed by you or your spouse individually or jointly, along with copies of the most recent billings on the accounts.
  • If either spouse was previously divorced, and/or involved in a court hearing, provide copies of the divorce order, applications, financial statements and affidavits.
  • Any other information that will help establish your net worth, your spouse's net worth, your joint net worth, your income, and your spouse's income at the commencement of cohabitation and currently.
  • Details of non-financial contributions:-
    • As parent and home maker;
    • toward home maintenance and renovations; and
    • Contributions made by one party to further the educational and/or career goals of the other party.

If you and your spouse have entered into any written agreement or correspondence concerning maintenance, property, parenting or other matters, provide copies to your lawyer. This list may appear overwhelming but to achieve the best outcome for your family law dispute it is recommended to have accurate and organised documents to support your claim which will streamline the property settlement process resulting in a faster and more cost effective property settlement.

Click here to download your family law financial circumstances checklist from our family law resources page.