QLD Treatment of pre-marriage shares, used for post-marriage rights issues, in a settlement

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30 June 2021
Partner A inherited shares in one company prior to marrying. During the 35 year marriage, the couple accumulated 20x the number of original inherited shares, mainly because of generous rights issues by the company. Now the couple is going through a settlement. Which interpretation would be most likely in a family court?
a) All shares (acquired either pre or during marriage) should be divided 50/50
b) The inherited shares stay with Partner A and the remaining (20x) shares acquired during marriage are split 50/50
c) The inherited shares and any shares acquired through a rights issue go to Partner A because their purchase would only have been possible with the rights from the original inherited shares. The remaining shares acquired through normal on-market purchases should be split 50/50.
d) ...Some other interpretation?


Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
a. Long marriage means the stuff from way back when gets split equally (kinda). Nothing i certain in family law but based on the info provided I'd go with A.


Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
Not quite that simple, but I agree with @sammy01 ... a)

Assets brought into a relationship (inheritance or not) will generally be treated on a 50/50 basis if the relationship is long enough, even if those assets formed the basis of the wealth at settlement (same as a house that one party had pre relationship)... That length is generally anything over about 10 - 15 years for major assets.

Although 50/50 is generally the default position for a long relationship, there are a heap of factors that then get taken into consideration in deciding a fair & equitable split.... Children, health of each party, future earning capacity/potential, if one party has caring responsibility for a family member, financial resources that one party may have that the other doe's not (recent inheritance, lottery win) etc etc.