VIC Separation - How Much Is Fair to Split with Ex?

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2 November 2014
Good Afternoon

I had lived with my partner for over 4 years, we got married February of this year and separated end of July.
My wife took out a loan of $20.000 being for the cost of the wedding and I took out a loan of $10.000 to pay some of the wedding and household bills that incurred on my credit card.. I paid $3.000 for the engagement ring which I have paid in full..

In the 4 years of our living relationship my wife took out a loan of approx $35.000 to purchase a new car for herself and in that time of her repayments, I would pay the household bills food and living expenses.
unbeknownst to me, my wife now informs me she had paid on her credit card an additional extra $17,000 towards the wedding..

My wife is now asking me to pay for half of the wedding being a sum of approx $18,000.

I have left the marriage with no assets, and little belongings.

My wife has an annual earning of approx $92.000 and I am self employed and have an annual earning of approx $18.000 at this stage due to health reasons.

Where do I stand and how much is a fair amount to repay her?

Yours Sincerely

Sarah J

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

Division of financial assets is always a complicated area to assess since there are so many factors to take into consideration. The aim is to ensure a fair, just and reasonable division of assets. The Family Law Court's guidelines is a good starting point:

"The general principles for a court to settle financial disputes under the Family Law Act are based on:

  • working out what you've got and what you owe; that is, your assets (including superannuation) and debts and what they are worth
  • looking at the direct and indirect financial contributions to the marriage/de facto relationship, such as wage and salary earnings
  • looking at indirect financial contributions such as gifts and inheritance from families
  • looking at the non-financial contributions to the marriage/de facto relationship such as caring for children and homemaking
  • factors such as standard of living during the marriage/de facto relationship and the length of the marriage/de facto relationship
  • future requirements, including things like age, health
  • future resources, including financial resources, care of children and ability to earn, child support which is being or is likely to be paid, the financial situation of someone with whom you are now cohabiting, any legal obligation to support other people in the household.
You can read the law which outlines these factors in Section 75 and Section 79 and Part VIIIAB of the Family Law Act 1975. In addition, the Court, as far as practicable, is to make orders which will finalise the financial relationship between the parties (Section 81 of the Family Law Act)."

All assets (excluding those held on trust for third parties) are looked at. This includes both joint and separate (individually owned) assets.


Hi Ford,

Essentially what you think is fair and just may differ to what a court will decide. If you and your ex cannot agree on a fair settlement you will need to participate in dispute resolution and if that is unsuccessful apply to the court for orders. It always differs from case to case how assets are split, as the court will take into account many factors in addition to the information you have provided above including non financial contributions, as outlined by Sarah. Therefore no one can say with any certainty what a court would order or what is fair in the circumstances.

It is generally always better though if you and your ex can come to some sort of agreement yourselves, even if you have to employ the assistance of lawyers (you will need to get lawyers if you go to court anyway, however it will be more expensive). That way you still have a measure of control over the settlement, it is less stressful and you will have less legal fees to eat into the asset pool.