In the event of a divorce, relationship property is divided equally according to the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. Alternatively, they can be divided in a way you and your partner have elected according to the terms of a relationship property agreement (prenuptial agreement) that was written and signed by both people before or during the marriage. When it comes to investment properties, the results can differ.
What Assets are Split and How are They Split?
Any assets that are common or jointly-owned are subject to the Act, including investment properties that both you and your partner purchased together. Unless your investment property is considered separate property or your relationship property agreement stipulates otherwise, it will be split equally along with other assets of the relationship such as the family home, cash, superannuation and family chattels.
What is Separate Property?
Separate property is generally not divided equally in the event of a divorce. Assets considered separate property include:
- Property acquired under a trust
- Property acquired before the relationship began
- Inheritances and gifts
- Heirlooms and taonga
- Property that the partners have defined as separate under a relationship property agreement.
It also includes additional property acquired with the proceeds of separate property and not intended for the use or benefit of both partners.
When Does Separate Property Become Relationship Property?
If the direct or indirect contributions of the other partner contribute to an increase in the value of the separate property, that increased value may then be classified as relationship property. Indirect contributions could include caring for children while a partner works to increase the value of their separate property.
This increase in value will not necessarily be shared equally. Rather it can be apportioned according to the value of contribution each partner made to the increase. If the separate property is used for the benefit of both partners or becomes intermingled with other relationship property, it may be classified as relationship property.
When isn’t Relationship Property Divided Equally?
If the income and living standards of one person are likely to be much lower than the other person once the relationship ends, the court can decide to give more to one person. The court can do this by ordering one person to regularly give the other person money for a set amount of time or giving one person a one-off amount of money or more of the relationship property or some of the separate property.
Contact Our Relationship Property Law Solicitors Today
If you need help managing your property at the beginning, during or at the end of a relationship, consult the experts at Carlile Dowling. If you are confused about how long after separation can you claim property, property separation in divorce or other relationship property entitlements under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976, we can help you.
Our team has provided trusted legal advice for more than 130 years regarding family law, immigration, employment law, commercial property law and more. Get in touch today by calling 06 927 8150 or contact us online.