Protecting Assets From New Partner

April 29, 2023by Naomi Cramer
Protecting Assets From New Partner

One query we are sometimes requested, notably from those who have already been via the household regulation system, is ‘how can I defend my belongings from my new companion?’

Whereas a binding monetary settlement is usually the reply, you have got an alternative choice, to develop into accustomed to the household regulation system. In case you are accustomed to the household regulation system and the way property/monetary settlements are structured, you may construction your relationship along with your new companion to minimise monetary threat.

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Firstly, when can a brand new companion apply for a household regulation property settlement?

It’s essential to know when a brand new companion has a proper to use for a property settlement, as till they’ve a proper to use for a property settlement, your belongings are theoretically protected.

It’s essential to notice, your new companion can apply for a household regulation property settlement that features your belongings, even when you aren’t married. So long as you reside in a real de facto relationship, your belongings will not be protected out of your new companion.

There’s a fable that you just have to be dwelling collectively for 2 years to be thought-about a real de facto relationship. Whereas it’s partially true; a household regulation property settlement will also be finished, if:

  • you have got children collectively; or
  • have registered the connection; or 
  • one particular person has made important contributions; or 
  • one other circumstance exists the place it will be unjust to not do a property settlement.

Subsequently if any of the above applies to you and your new companion, even when you haven’t been collectively for 2 years, your new companion might apply for a property settlement. 

So what occurs to property owned earlier than marriage in Australia?

If a proper to a property settlement does come up, it’d shock you that your preliminary belongings (the property you introduced into the connection) will not be mechanically excluded from the property settlement. And as talked about above, it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re married or not if a real de-facto relationship exists, a property settlement will be finished.

When deciding a property settlement break up, each events belongings, whether or not owned collectively or individually, are mixed to create a separation property pool. If no binding monetary settlement is in place that states in any other case, the property settlement might embody any property owned earlier than marriage.

Defending belongings in a de facto relationship 

If all your belongings will be included in a property settlement and your companion has or will doubtless have the precise to a property settlement, how will you defend belongings in a de facto relationship? 

Whereas you are able to do all kind of monetary issues, arrange trusts, transfer cash or cover cash abroad, the truth is – all property is included in a household regulation settlement. Courts can see via trusts, hiding belongings abroad isn’t normally an awesome concept and transferring cash into another person’s title comes with its dangers. The truth is one of the best ways to guard your belongings in a brand new relationship is normally to enter right into a binding monetary settlement. Nevertheless, relying in your state of affairs, you may attempt to make minor modifications in your relationship to guard your belongings with no binding monetary settlement. 

Possibility 1 – Defending belongings in a de facto relationship with a binding monetary settlement

A binding monetary settlement isn’t solely relevant if you’re about to develop into married or de facto. You may enter right into a binding monetary settlement at any time throughout a relationship, throughout marriage and even after a relationship (de facto or marriage) has ended. 

A binding monetary settlement means you agree with how your monetary sources, belongings, and liabilities are divided upon a break up. Subsequently, if the binding monetary settlement covers your present belongings, within the occasion of a separation, your new companion won’t be able to assert these belongings if they’ve signed that settlement until the courtroom decides to set the settlement apart (you may learn extra about that right here).  

Possibility 2 – Defending belongings in a de facto relationship with no binding monetary settlement

Though we suggest a binding monetary settlement, it may be potential to guard your belongings in another way. In 2016, the Household Courtroom determined in Chancellor v McCoy that even after a 27 yr de facto relationship, there have been no changes made to the division of the property between the events. This meant that they every walked away with the property and superannuation that was of their respective names. The couple had no children, had by no means co-owned any properties and by no means intermingled their funds.   

Utilizing this case as precedent, if there isn’t a binding monetary settlement in place, a courtroom will doubtless contemplate the next elements when deciding whether or not your companion would have a declare in an adjustment to the property pool:  

  • Whether or not you had any joint financial institution accounts; 
  • Whether or not you retain your funds separate;  
  • Whether or not you co-owned any belongings; 
  • Whether or not your companion lived with you in a property you owned, they usually paid you solely an quantity equal to hire or board and didn’t in any other case contribute to the property; 
  • Whether or not you talk about your monetary affairs with each other; 
  • Whether or not you made any future monetary plans collectively; 
  • Everytime you nominated one another as a possible beneficiary in a Will or superannuation fund. 

How you can defend the household house from my new companion 

Folks will typically have a home or house from a earlier relationship that’s the household house. Shoppers will typically come to us involved about defending the household house; our recommendation is that the household house is like some other belongings and can doubtless be included within the household regulation property settlement. If you wish to defend your own home out of your new companion, one of the best ways could be to enter a cohabitation settlement, a sort of binding monetary settlement. On this settlement, you must set out the premise upon which you reside collectively and the extent to which you plan to share belongings each throughout the relationship and what you agree is to occur in separation. 

Nevertheless, simply because you have got an settlement in place doesn’t essentially imply your companion nonetheless can’t declare within the occasion of separation. Subsequently, it’s nonetheless finest to maintain separate funds and even go thus far to make sure that your companion doesn’t contribute to the home, financially or in any other case. Which means in case your companion resides with you, make sure that they solely pay you hire or board within the quantity some other tenant would pay and doesn’t pay any greater than that quantity or contribute in the direction of different payments or mortgage repayments. Nevertheless, further to that’s to make sure that they don’t contribute non-financially via renovation, cleansing, gardening, and cooking. In case your companion does do a few of these issues, it doesn’t mechanically entitle them to those issues; it reveals an intention to share a life, not a property. Nevertheless, it may imply they’re entitled to an adjustment of the property pool, and your own home will not be protected in separation.   

You’ve gotten different choices, together with placing the house in a belief or gifting it as an early inheritance. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you do, it is going to doubtless be seen as a monetary useful resource and included indirectly, form or kind within the property settlement. Subsequently your only option is normally a binding monetary settlement/cohabitation settlement. 


Whereas we suggest it, one ought to word that not even a binding monetary settlement is rock strong. You probably have a binding monetary settlement in place, ought to circumstances or belongings change, or ought to different elements be at play, it could not defend your belongings in a brand new relationship. Moreover, not having a binding monetary settlement and easily separating your financial institution accounts or lives will not be sufficient. If you wish to defend your belongings in a brand new relationship, you must search impartial authorized recommendation from a household lawyer as quickly as sensible. 

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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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