Short Marriage - Separate Assets dealt with separately by the Court

19/05/2015

Margaret and Bob met in 2005.  Margaret had been previously married and owned a house in which she lived and which was fully paid off.  Bob moved in to the Margaret’s house. 

After a few years Bob and Margaret decided that they will not continue with their relationship and Bob moved out.  Margaret was concerned and approached Richard Watson as Bob had told Margaret that they would have to sell the house and Bob would get half the proceeds of the house. 

Bob and Margaret did not have any children together and during their marriage kept their assets separate in that Margaret kept her assets and had a separate bank account.  Bob had a separate bank account.  Bob had some significant superannuation, however, Margaret’s house was of a much greater value. 

Having regard to the short marriage and the separation of the assets, it is possible the Court will approach the matter on the basis that the assets should be dealt with separately with the result that Margaret would keep the house which she owned at the commencement of the relationship.

The Court can deal with the process of determining the entitlement of each person by way of either:

  1. Considering the whole of the assets of the marriage at the time of the hearing as a pool of assets and dividing the pool on a percentages basis having regard to the usual considerations in dividing the whole of the assets between the parties to the marriage; or
  2. The Court could consider each of the assets and allocate those assets to the appropriate person and make minor adjustments having regard to the contributions and other relevant factors concerning the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of the property.

The usual practice is to ascertain the pool of assets and allocate a distribution of the pool of assets.  However, the Court may and is likely to apply an asset by asset approach if the marriage is short.

  • There is no mixing of the various assets for example by of joint bank account or transfer of property or purchase of property together. 
  • There are no children; and each party are able to support themselves. 

It is unusual for the Court to consider the matter by way of allocation of separate pool of assets, however, it is possible and in certain circumstances it is beneficial to the party who brings in an assets which has appreciated at a better rate than other assets which the parties hold.

If you are concerned then please contact Richard Watson or Dennis Grant as to whether it is possible and beneficial for you to have the matter resolved or if not resolved determined on the basis of allocation of separate asset pool.

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