NSW Ex Claiming Property Settlement and Inheritance - Legal Options?

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29 July 2014
Hello everyone, I am asking this on behalf of a family friend.

I would be much appreciated if lawyers and anyone who has gone or is going through this can give him some help.

My friend got engaged around the same time his remaining parent passed away and left him with a substantial inheritance.

The fiancée talked him into buying a place together. She contributed a small amount to the purchase compared to him. She then moved her son into the house while she rents out of Sydney as she runs a business there (my friend is in Sydney).

She did not make any contributions towards the home loan repayments and none whatsoever to the living expenses i.e. utilities and maintenance of the building, insurance/rates despite her son living there. Apart from the weekly visits, they never lived together in a domestic setting i.e. cooking and doing chores.

She is now claiming half of the property which includes his inheritance as property settlement.

Worth to note: She is claiming a de facto relationship, there are no children from the relationship.

What have you done in similar situations? What were the results of any court proceedings? What legal aids are available to him?

Thank you in advance.


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
How long were they together?


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
So, if she were to pursue a property settlement, there's a chance he could argue they weren't in a de facto relationship. In a legal sense, it's hard to argue de facto if they never lived together. See the legislation here: FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 - SECT 4AADe facto relationships

But say the court does decide a de facto relationship existed, then it would probably be considered a short relationship, which usually means the parties part ways with the same amount as what they put into the relationship.

The court asks four questions to decide a property settlement:

1. What's the total value of the shared asset pool?
2. What were the financial and non-financial contributions of each party?
3. What are the future needs of each party?
4. Is the settlement just and equitable?

The shared asset pool would probably just be the house. Reading the facts as you've provided them, his financial contribution would be larger than hers, and the non-financial contribution is probably fairly close to void because it was what I assume is her adult son maintaining the property by living there, rather than her. Future needs, they both work and don't share any kids, so this will probably have fairly minimal impact, as well.

But, as always, he should get legal advice. A lawyer will be able to assess his personal circumstances properly and give a more accurate outlook.