What happens when property is owned before the marriage or relationship and the parties separate?
Legal title of property owned before marriage
When one person owns a property before the relationship, they will continue to be the owner on the legal title of that property during the relationship.
This is case unless the new partner is added to the legal title through a formal property transfer process.
Is property owned before marriage considered matrimonial property?
Yes. The family law system in Australia allows for the division of property regardless of who initially owned it or who is the owner on the property’s legal title.
This means that property owned before the marriage or relationship will be included in the asset pool to be divided when people separate.
How is this fair?
Ownership of a home before the relationship is certainly a very relevant factor in working out a fair settlement.
It does not automatically entitle the legal owner to retain the home or receive a greater share of the overall property, however.
The non-owner partner may be entitled to a share of the property’s value and other financial entitlements when the relationship ends.
This is because, when making property orders, the Family Law Act requires the court to consider the overall contributions and future needs of both parties. The goal of the court is to achieve a just and equitable outcome based on the individual circumstances of each case.
Don’t let the complexities of family law get in the way of moving on with your life.
As part of all of our consent order packages, we will review the details of your financial information and agreed asset split, and assess if your agreement is likely to be approved by the court in consent orders.
We will factor in all that you tell us about any property owned before the relationship in assessing what the court is likely to approve of as a fair settlement.