what is the 4 step process?

4 steps of the property settlement process

the 4 step property settlement process

A 4 step process is used to determine a property settlement in Australia.   Unfortunately this isn’t a mathematical formula but, rather, a list of things that the court needs to turn its mind to and then, at the end of the day, come up with something that is just and equitable.

Importantly, the ultimate outcome means that it needs to be equitable and fair.  Not even.  This is an important distinction, because what you may consider to be fair, the court may not consider to be just and vice versa. 

This information sheet has been designed to give you more information on what each of the 4 steps of the  process are and what the court needs to consider in each. 

In particular the process requires that the following is considered:

Step 1: Identification and Valuation of Assets

The first step involves identifying and valuing all the assets held by the parties involved.

Step 2: Assessment of Contributions

In this stage, the court examines the contributions made by each party throughout the relationship. These contributions can be financial, non-financial, or related to homemaking and childcare. The court evaluates the significance and duration of these contributions to ascertain their weight in the overall settlement.

Step 3: Evaluation of Future Needs

The court then turns its attention to the future needs and circumstances of both parties.

Step 4: Just & Equitable

In the final step, the court takes all the information gathered from the preceding stages into account to determine a just and equitable property settlement.

When you understand what each of these steps entails and, more importantly, appreciate the the focus is not on being even but on equity you can better achieve settlement