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Discussion paper released on property law reforms.



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NEWS RELEASE

ATTORNEY- GENERAL

THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP

30 March 1999

 

DISCUSSION PAPER RELEASED ON PROPERTY

LAW REFORMS

 

I am pleased to release today a discussion paper on two options for reforming matrimonial property law, and announce also th at the Government will legislate to reform superannuation and family law.

 

An announcement on superannuation reforms will be made today jointly with the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Jocelyn Newman.

 

The discussion paper “Property & Family Law — options for change” invites comment on two options for distributing matrimonial property on relationship breakdown.

 

Under the first option, each party owns their own property and on marriage breakdown all property, regardless of when it was acquired, is available for reallocation by the court.

 

The major difference between this option and the current law is that the starting point for the distribution of the property would be equal sharing, based on the assumption that each party had contributed equally to the property.

 

The court would retain its discretion to depart from the equal sharing.

 

Under the second option, only property which is accumulated, either in separate or joint names, during cohabitation or marriage may be apportioned between the parties. On marriage breakdown, each party would receive 50% of the communal assets and there would be no need to look at contribution, although parties could depart from 50/50 sharing in certain circumstances.

 

A copy of the paper is available from the Family Law Branch of the Attorney-General’s Department, phone number 02 6250 6367. The paper is also available on the Internet at http://law.gov.au/mpl.

 

Public comment is invited.

 

Media contact: Nicholas Harford (02) 6277 7300

 

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