ACT De Facto Inheritance Claim upon Separation?

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Kerry Roberts

15 November 2014
My same sex partner and I were together for 25 years. He left the de facto relationship about 6 months ago and has recently asked for $12,000 that he inherited from his aunt about 18 months ago to be returned even though it was used to pay our mortgage. Is he entitled to this? If so, do I have any claims from money I contributed against the mortgage which I received from a work payout as part of our property settlement?

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi Kerry,

Whether your ex-partner is entitled to claim that money back depends on what is a fair and just financial division after separation. The answer to this question is very much dependent on your particular circumstances. However, there are some guiding factors:

- Family Law Courts: Property and Money after Separation
- Australian Government: De Facto Property Regime
- Family Law Act 1975: s 75

Essentially, nearly all assets and property owned and contributed during your time together forms part of a "shared pool" which the parties, or the court where the parties can't agree, divide according to what is "fair and just". Individual inheritances, joint accounts, individual accounts can all form part of the shared pool. Contributions to mortgages and any other shared assets, domestic work, each party's earning capacity etc. are all considered when dividing property.

Therefore, it may be that the inheritance money is actually much less than what your ex partner would otherwise be entitled to.

If you do decide to give the inheritance money back, make sure this is part of a written and signed separation settlement.


Hi Kerry,

Have you and your partner already divided your assets following your separation?

Be mindful, that if you are unable to resolve the matter by yourselves and you want to apply to the family court for an order dividing your assets, you have 2 years from the date of your separation. And as Sarah mentioned, make sure you get anything relating to your financial settlement in writing so that your partner cannot come back later down the track and ask for more.