What is Property?
When negotiating a property settlement agreement, one of the first steps to be considered is what property you and your former spouse have or own. This step is important as only property can be subject to a property settlement agreement. The Family Law Act defines property as “any property in the possession of either party, either vested or in remainder.” Property of the relationship generally includes:
- All assets that are owned, g. the family home, motor vehicles, personal items
- All assets under your control, e.g. a business, superannuation, shares and funds at bank
- All liabilities, e.g. mortgages, credit cards, hire purchase agreements
Are Employment Bonuses Property?
In the case of Ilannello & Ilannello (No 3)  FCCA 3752 (19 December 2018) the Court considered the question of whether the wife’s future employment bonus payments could be the subject of a property order.
Facts of the Case
In this case, the husband had suffered a workplace accident and had been unemployed since 2013. The husband was living on a permanent disability payment from his super fund. While he owned about $78,000 in shares, he claimed that his legal fees were equally as much. On the other hand, his wife had a base salary of $190,000 per year plus employment bonuses. In the previous year, the wife received $54,000 in bonuses.