NSW Equal Share of Property Settlement with De Facto - Thoughts?

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29 July 2015
Hi everyone, long time reader needing some advice.

My de facto partner and I have split, our relationship lasted 2 1/2 years. We have an 18 month old child.

I am looking for advice regarding how assets are split for property settlement. I feel like I have a decent grasp of things, but letters from her solicitor are causing some doubt. We have a small asset pool and have made unequal contributions.

Assets entering the relationship:
Me: $55,000 + car ($8000 value)
Her: $0 + car sold for $300 as scrap as it was worthless (so no assets whatsoever) I drove her to work for 3 months while I paid for expenses so she could save for a new one

Asset pool
We purchased a house $410,000 (valued at 440,000) and now has $355,000 owing on it and she had purchased a car during our relationship with money saved during our relationship (her car value 11,000).

How much of my initial contribution ($55,000) am I likely to see returned before dividing the remaining assets? (Her solicitor is only wanting to return 80% of that value, is that realistic?) If not, are there any cases I that anyone knows of with similar details to this that I can read, I scoured auslii but couldn't find the right keywords.

Lastly what is the likely split of the remaining assets. Significant portions of the house value are attributed to myself doing all the work, fences, landscaping, flooring, painting, etc.

We both have the same superannuation. We both work in the same profession (teachers). She is currently caring for our child and working two days per week (3 next year). I will be lodging at court for equal care and custody of children for the child and have a strong case due to alienation and mental health issues so that I am able to increase my amount of time spent with him.

So realistically she has a greater earning capacity due to her being full time and I'm employed on a temporary basis and she is one increment higher on the salary scale.

One last thing, my mother gifted me $100 per fortnight (traceable) $8500 over the course of the relationship to spend supporting myself, this was pooled into savings of which my partner took half. Do I just leave this out?


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
This was a fairly short relationship, so ordinarily, the court prefers to that parties retain the assets belonging to them prior to the relationship commencing.

However, if the mother has been off work caring for the house and child, her contribution is considered equal, as though she had been working full time. If she's only seeking 20% of the deposit, that's probably fair, given that she has given up full time work to work part time so she can care for your child.

The gift of of $100 each week should form part of the shared asset pool, but again, this might be a 80/20 split on your favour.

For your parenting case, equal time isn't often ordered where one of the parents has voiced significant complaints about the other party, so be careful about approaching it in this way. The court requires that parties are capable of communicating and supporting the child's relationship with the other parent if it is to award equal time with each parent. It's hard to argue that this is the case if you've said the mother has mental health issues and is attempting to alienate the child. Both allegations will require evidence from a third party (a psychologist, a family consultant, etc.) to give them credibility, and if that credibility is recognised, the court will likely see the situation as too hostile for the child's best interests to be met with equal care.

It would be better to highlight the positive elements of your joint capacity to parent the child, than to highlight the complaints you may have about the other parent, if that makes sense.

I hope this helps.


29 July 2015
That was most helpful, I am concerned about that fact with shared care with our child. I was hoping for a gradual progression to equal care over the course of a1-2 years. Our boy and his mother have been staying every Thursday night at the defacto house, he sleeps perfectly and has an established routine across both homes. I hope that will help my case as if he doesn't stay, he is picked up at 6pm on a Thursday which is his bedtime, only to be bought straight back out at 7am the next morning.

With the property. She is wanting 20% of my assets that I had going into the relationship before calculating anything else.

So 55000*20% = $11,000 then the remaining assets she wants split 65/35 in her favour .

Is that a reasonable offer. Raising the child was largely equal as I work 5 mins from work and was only at work 9-3. I took care of our child the remainder of the time.