Can She Take Half of My Assets?

  • I have been with my girlfriend for 2 years and we are both in out late twenties.
  • She does not currently have any savings or assets as she is a poor student but she contributes financially where she can and is actively looking for work.
  • We currently live together and pay rent
  • I am currently working full time and own my house(which is solely in my name) which is currently being tenanted out, but we would like to move into it together within the next 6 months
  • There is a small mortgage on the house but majority of it has been paid off by myself - through scrimping, saving and hard work
  • We do plan on getting married and having children eventually down the track
  • She is a beautiful humble woman and not some gold digging money lover

What are the implications if we were to break up our relationship or things didn't work out down the track?

Can she potentially take half of the house even if we aren't married?

The reason I ask is because I have worked hard for everything and although I trust her and love her, I've heard horror stories of guys losing the lot because of bad relationships and poor financial/legal advice. Even as per the last point, people can change over time and I don't want to get screwed over. I wouldn't bother asking but she is not bringing anything to the table, financially speaking, so I guess I need some re-assurance.


  • +21

    Can she potentially take half of the house even if we aren't married?

    I think if you live together for 6 months, she becomes your defacto, so yes?

    • +8

      Not my area but I thought it was two years - so OP is right in the sweet spot.

      • +1

        Yes, 100% any judge in Australia would decide like you have already been officially married.

        I thought the law was 1 year, but generally a good judge wouldn't follow that rule unless you had a baby. Two years, different story, any judge would say that you are de-facto married.

    • +16

      Two years, happened to a friend

      • +3

        Ouch. That sucks.

        • +1

          There's still time to next her and deny the first few months of the relationship.

        • +33

          @Scrooge McDuck: Yeah. I thought the relationship only starts when it's announced on Facebook?

      • I think it may be relevant what state the OP is in. I'm fairly sure there is a shorter period in Queensland, depending on other factors that indicate a defacto relationship exists (e.g. formal acknowledgement of it).

        Someone from my work lost his car and many other things (she had been using it whilst he had a work-supplied ute), I think it was only after a year of living together. She had moved into his house, and when she left him, took belongings that were already his before she moved in and took the car. What's more is the police will likely do nothing as they don't regard property disputes from relationship break-up as criminal theft - it is a civil matter.

        • +5

          Queensland is too stupid for daylight savings, so I presume the period is shorter to stop them from having to take their shoes and socks off to count past 10 months.

        • @kiriakoz: Not all of us have to do that, just the Pauline Hanson supporters. ;)

        • @kiriakoz: Dude, I've lived in other states in this fine country and all I can say is… you're either jealous or kidding yourself. I go back and visit my relatives south of border sometimes, working at a dead-end jobs, and I feel sad for them, trapped in that mess of a state.

          I choose to live in Queensland, and may I say, sailing was quite relaxing on Saturday, and we quite enjoyed being a couple of only a half dozen people walking on kilometers of beautiful golden sandy beach on Sunday before sitting down for coffee overlooking the water to the islands and boats whilst people fished and paddleboarded, as well as shopping at my choice of sprawling recently renovated centres, before going back to my job this week fueled by a resource-rich economy also bolstered by being a primary production powerhouse - the long term job security is quite comforting and helps pay for nice big houses with pools on large blocks for less money than a studio apartment in Sydney, but maybe that's just me.

          In fact maybe that's a tip for the OP if he lives in Sydney, once she takes half of your assets, move to Queensland, and buy an equivalent sized house for half the cost of the one you lost in the housing bubble that is Sydney anyway, its like nothing was lost at all!

        • @MrFrugalSmith:

          What kind of boat do you have?

        • @Scrooge McDuck: I don't have - borrowed

    • +8

      You are defacto if you are living together as a couple for any amount of time. I believe 3 months is when you can have a claim to items.

      I wouldn't say she would be eligible for half though. That would all be up to the courts if she decided to pursue that avenue. She doesn't automatically get half though. I imagine the magistrate would take into account how long they've been together etc.

    • -1

      That used to be rule. if you own the house become come together you leave with the same house as long as no link to her paying the house her pay mortgage repayment if sell the house and by a new one together she can claim half of it.

    • +55

      If you can show that the house was mostly payed off before you got together then she will not get as much. It all comes down to how much you contributed at the beginning and the length of the relationship. If you have kids though it's a very different story and expect to get so raped by the family courts and csa that you won't walk straight for the rest of you life

        • -5

          Yeah… Not sure why you were negged; the kid bit sucked balls…

        • +17

          @FittyFitty: Speaking from experience FittyFitty, what Audumla stated is 100% correct.
          My ex wife hadn't worked for 6 years, when we seperated, I moved out, she sold the Ride on, chainsaws & most of my tools from under me before I could collect them (Courts didn't care).
          Went to court & as we had children, she received just under 75% of everything we had even though she hadn't worked for 6 years.
          I still had to pay mortgage for property (before it sold) as well as rent at new place & child support. CSA did not & do not give two shits about your situation & neither did the courts. Give the poor mother everything she wants because she had the children.
          I requested the children come live with me as I could provide for them just as equally as the mother but told I would have to go the Family court etc, where they rape more money from your pockets & the only winner is the lawyers.

          So to me, that's spot on !!!

      • +5

        It all comes down to how much you contributed at the beginning and the length of the relationship.

        This is the best advice I have read on this thread. Without complications, generally what you come into the relationship with, would be roughly what you would expect to come out with.

        What you earn together and buy together during a relationship will be split depending on how you can negotiate or your lawyers can negotiate if it comes to that.

        It all changes with kids, sickness, length of time, judges shoe color on the day.

        Make sure everything you own is clearly documented and keep bank records in a safe location, even after you may close accounts or open new joint accounts.
        Clearly define and record your financial status before you move in together and you will do a lot better than if you can't prove it if anything goes wrong.

        All said and done, I wish you a happy life together :) good luck.

      • -4

        @audumla and at least 31 others have no problem comparing sexual violence to having to look after your family. Classy stuff.

    • +7…

      De Facto is

      • not married
      • not family
      • "genuine domestic" relationship living together

      with a decision tree associated around what all that means.

      Zero to do with a specific timeframe like three, six or 12 months etc. Case law may interpret otherwise but that is how it is defined in the Family Law Act 1975.

      • -2

        That definition would seem to include regular housemates?

        • +3

          No, it only includes 'couples' as defined under the Act

        • +1

          i often wonder about that… i have been living with a housemate for nearly 6 years in Sydney (and a couple years before that with him and other friends on the Gold Coast for about 3 years).

          We now own 2 properties together, and all the furniture etc in our PPOR was jointly bought.

          Obviously when we go our separate ways, we each get our half out of the sale proceeds… but i often wonder what it means from a 'relationship' point of view.

          Before anyone gets to excited, i am engaged to my fiance, and she lives with us (paying us a small amount of rent).

        • +4

          @geoffs87: How much do you like your housemate? Maybe she could try to get half of his stuff and you could walk away with 3/4 ;)

    • divorces are never straight forward.

      A lot depends on what entity the assets are in.

      If for example, property was in a family trust, it would be up to the trust if she was to get anything.

    • +1

      Lucky you dont have kids involved. Id have to consider Chopping my cock off and having a sex change to be treated as equals for custody and assets

    • its two years for the record, in qld and wa at least.

      either way relax, it has to be justified by a judge before they will make a judgement this wy. ie she was giving you money to your mortgage, or stopped work for children etc. For the record did your parents give you any money or contribute to your mortgage, if so you may be holding it on trust for them, and that would make them a party to your asset. What if them and your misses became involved in a battle of ownership.

      you have a few choices.

      1.) take the risk, relax and see what happens.

      2.) marry some one you dont necessarily like that has the >= assets

      3.) stay single

      4.) get a prenup, which are pretty useless IMHO

      5.) move your asset to a family trust.

      id probly go with 1. if you think she is a good person.

      • Option 1 is best for me

        • even if it happens, no big deal..

          what if you lost everything in a business deal, and she said she wants a prenup now cos she has 10k in the bank.. how would u feel

  • +5


    You could ask for a pre-nup, or would that be a pre-defacto? As to how you and she feel about that, that's another question.

    • +32

      A vasectomy would probably be a pretty good idea too.

    • +3

      Good luck enforcing a pre nup in Australia

  • +48

    You should consult a real lawyer for legal advice like this.

    • +51

      Then we'd never get to hear all the juicy details. *yawn*

      Stick with us OP! ;)

    • +3

      THIS - the two year thing is BS - every case is assessed on the facts! Get a lawyer.

    • +50

      Lawyer will take 25% of his assets too.

      • -1

        More than 25% bro :)

  • +33

    Course she can, such is life these days

    Could look at a pre-nup, but you'd probably destroy the relationship in doing so.

    Considering there's no breakup on the horizon, hows about just looking towards the positives, and not any remote negatives?

    • +52

      The law is pretty stupid then.
      I worked hard for that house and put every dollar in it.
      The deed also happens to be in my name.
      Letting someone live with me in my house is a privilege, not a right.
      I don't understand the logic of the law to then let someone waltz along and after 2 years take half because "lol, why not right?".
      Mate I'm just being cautious that's all.

      • +72

        Letting someone live with me in my house is a privilege, not a right.

        You're so not ready for this if you think that your gf living with you is privilege.

        Let's hope she isn't a ozb.

        • +13

          There's a strong sense of arrogance there

        • +10

          I was talking about anyone in general living in your house, not necessarily a significant other.

        • +17

          They're both paying rent now. Why should she get to move into the house which he paid for entirely, for free?

          In our post-feminist society, women earn their own incomes, so they can pay for stuff too!

          Charge her rent when you move in or ditch her and find yourself a nice sugar mamma.

        • +1

          @Scrooge McDuck:
          Charging her rent, even $1, would be evidence that he owns the house and that she doesn't have part to lay claim for.
          Can I assume this statement above?

        • +1

          @ATangk: This is irrelevant, there is no argument about legal ownership of the house as his name is on the title. She would still be eligible to claim part in a relationship breakup

        • +3

          What's the whole point of getting married if you happened to spend a night with your gf at your place, she gets half of what's yours? De-facto my arse!!

        • +2

          Letting someone live in your house rent free is still a privilege irrespective of relationship.

          @wolfenator: If your that concerned change the deed into your parents name and rent it from them but better to just do a pre-nup.

        • +1

          @Obas: more trouble than worth. the better body would be a trust. but they have limited life and there may be cgt issues, succession issues unless controlled. and tax issues.

          If you have short term concerns a prenup is the only solution and you need to talk to a compenent solicitor.

          Op you need to ask yourself why are you asking this question and then understand what the answer realy means, and would you show the answer to gf or her mum or dad.

      • +5

        The law is shit in many cases lol

        Guy I work with has struggled for proper visitation rights to see his son since birth. The kid is now over 3yo… And mum n dad are still fighting the court case because the mum is nuts. Dad sees his son, but not as much as he should be able to.

        It is how it is and it won't change overnight

        • +7

          Yep and the mum will always get custody over the child in the family courts. Even if she is a crazy psycho. Some things never change.

        • +4


          It's a woman's world.

        • +3

          @Scrooge McDuck:

          I thought Beyonce already confirmed this with "GIRLS, WE RUN THE WORLD. We run this mutha"…

        • +1

          @wolfenator87: Been there, done that…The woman gets everything because they are the mother of the child even if they are a Greedy, Money Hungry, Gold Digging Biatch…Rant over…

      • +3

        old rules, assumes husband passes property onto wife when he dies, historically women weren't allowed to work. She gets half because it's divided equally.

        Test for a defacto relationship is more complicated than just how long you've lived together. Go get legal advice if scared.

      • +102

        I have no idea about your relationship, but there are often many overlooked advantages that a partner brings to a relationship, even if that partner earns significantly less. And sacrifices to their future they may have made for your relationship (whether you explicitly asked for them to do that or not). After your relationship ends, an independent 3rd party might think your partner's share of the combined asset pool should be larger than the money they contributed to the pool, for providing these benefits whilst you earn "your" money (and for sacrificing their future earnings potential). A lot of this will sound dry, misogynist, and I dont like reducing a partner to their utility - except to answer this question thats kinda what we have to do.

        With a partner there are a number of expenses that become halved or subsidized for you - rent/mortgage, bills, food, transport, entertainment, etc. Even if the partner is only just covering their half. These advantages might mean that you have more money to put towards "your" mortgage, even though your partner has no money left over to put towards any assets/savings. There are tax breaks you may get for being with your partner - tax breaks that may disproportionately affect you but are due to a combined effort. There may be some items you don't need to personally buy because your partner has brought them to the relationship. Your partner may use their own time to save costs for your relationship (transport, cooking food, cleaning, laundry, organising all the shit life throws at you).

        In addition, you may gain non-monetary advantages such as: someone to work on your social life (whilst you are working full time), someone to provide mental support to allow you to perform better at your job, childcare, someone to complete house hold chores, someone to help you work/study (laundry/dinner/lunch/errands), someone to deal with your shit so you can focus on finishing that last bit of work, or that last assignment. Time is money.

        The sacrifices thing is a bit more nuanced. Maybe since your wage is higher, your job/study gets focussed on. Maybe if your partner was with someone else they would have focussed more on their own stuff. Maybe they've sacrificed their earning potential for yours (maybe inadvertently, maybe that was the natural progression of your relationship). Maybe your chivalrous insistence that they don't need to work because you like being a sugar daddy could be the reason they now can't contribute later in the relationship. Or maybe its more like "I'd like someone to be home with the kids before and after school because I think they'll grow up better that way".

        Maybe your partner made long-term plans that relied on the perpetuation of your voluntarily-entered-into defacto partnership agreement, which might be ruined by the breakdown of that relationship (assuming you initiate the breakdown).

        My poorly made point is - sometimes it isn't as simple as thinking "I've earned all the money so I deserve all the relationship's money". Well sometimes it is that simple, but for most relationships I would think it isn't that simple.

        Having said all that - it may be that your partner brings nothing like this to the relationship and you'll probably get stiffed by any rules-of-thumb for splitting assets after a breakup. Stranger things have happened.

        • +2

          Well written! Im with you.

        • +3

          So many advantages!

          And all they cost is more than half of everything you have!!

        • +1

          You've said it all.

          May I also add that a single guy would have spend tons of time and resources in wooing a girl - so there saving in that too.

        • +2

          This sounds like a lecture on intestacy shudders

        • +1

          @punk000: I know too well, after being separated for some time, losing more money on wooing many girls. Will have to dial back when i go back to school.

        • +1

          Nice sentiment but ultimately the courts heavily favours the woman, regardless of the actual situation. Case in point:

          Mate's wife left him and requested a divorce. He found out that she was cheating on him. She did very little in/around the house. He was forever cooking/cleaning/carting kids around. He also paid for EVERYTHING while she earned a good income that she spent on herself. His lawyers told him will be lucky to keep 50% of his assets.

      • +8

        just say she was housemate not your girlfriend

        • +2

          lol at negging my comment

          i see no problem with my logic

        • +1

          Problem is 2 years is a short time and a lot of the assets the woman will get her hand in pre date anything created while during in said relationship. That is simply not fair which ever way you look at it.

        • +1


          Girls will start recording hidden cam sextapes to defend against this

      • +2

        Charge her rent

        • +1

          and rent for the house

      • +3

        Don't listen to these guys at all. They are so far off the mark, it's not funny. You're best posting in r/legaladvice on Reddit. Tell them the details of your relationship, and which state in Aus you are.

        There is no way, if you've paid majority of the mortgage, and she hasn't contributed a substantial amount via rent or anything, that she will be entitled to a lot - let alone half.

      • +14

        "Letting someone live with me in my house is a privilege, not a right."

        I am not a even a woman and found it really hard to swallow. Same can be said as.

        "Letting some guy to sleep with me everyday is a privilege, not a right"

        Think with your brain, not your D, man.

        • +7

          Yes all this talk about charging her rent for the privilege of living with you. Do the calcs and to pay for someone to do what she does around the house might be a surprise. Cleaners are $30 an hour and a high class lady?….Well maybe a couple of grand a night. That thinking about rights and privileges needs to stay back in the dark ages along with I paid for the meal so that gives me the right to have you any way I want…..

          I actually didn't think that pre-nups were recognised in Australia? And if no children are in the relationship my thinking is that I'd try and work it out together - I mean lets communicate because if you can't or don't and you think that you should go straight to lawyers - @ $240 an hour for their time (charged in 6 minute time intervals) then they are the only winners and grinners as they walk away with the proceeds of your house that you've had to sell because you had to get nasty and not let her get anything.

          Start talking honestly about this - to her. Yes it is a big call and it means that you'll need to lose your current attitude about rights and privileges in a relationship but it is obviously your fear - and if there isn't an honest conversation about this - then it will always be the "white elephant" in the room. We all know that it is there but we avoid it because it makes us feel uncomfortable. If you don't think that you have sorted your own thinking out around the topic - talk to someone that you trust first and get all of the fear out of your thoughts and the choice of words that you use. Otherwise it will come across so loud and clear if you launch into a conversation - that it will make you appear as though you are obsessed by it and she will possibly wonder how can she compete and gain your trust.

          There are plenty of females out there who like yourself have worked in great careers; have scrimped and saved and have bought a house. Possibly they have similar fears when they hook up with a guy who either has minimal material possessions because he's been "taken to the cleaners" in a previous relationship; or for whom working, saving & purchasing large investments like a house has not been as important; or they simply couldn't afford the deposit.

        • +4


          Yes all this talk about charging her rent for the privilege of living with you. Do the calcs and to pay for someone to do what she does around the house might be a surprise. Cleaners are $30 an hour

          We don't know how they share the domestic duties, they might each contribute half.

          and a high class lady?….Well maybe a couple of grand a night.

          And what does a high class gentleman cost?

          NEWSFLASH: Women enjoy sex too!

          The sexual relationship is of mutual benefit to both individuals.

        • Yep, & if she is also sleeping with your best mate or anyone else she whilst you are faithful …….. She still gets half (From experience)

        • @Scrooge McDuck: I don't think who enjoys what is the question. The question is, what would it cost OP to fill the role of cleaning/sex if he didn't have a wife.

        • @cheng2008:

          The question is, what would it cost OP to fill the role of cleaning/sex if he didn't have a wife.

          But the wife derives utility from the relationship. She isn't merely a cleaner and prostitute who is compensated via free lodging.

      • name on the deed means nothing

        google resulting trust, and do it while on the toilet as you may soil yourself

    • You should not be worry about destroying anything, its just a precaution, you'll never know whats gonna happen.

      Pre-nup works exactly the same like car insurance.
      When you take up the policy you would not expect to have any accident, wouldn't you?

      • +1

        Pre-nup works exactly the same like car insurance.

        How much are the premiums?

    • -2

      Considering there's no breakup on the horizon, hows about just looking towards the positives, and not any remote negatives?

      All you people telling OP he should just forget about it will be the same people telling him he "should've been prepared" if it does actually happen.

  • +9

    But can she slap?

  • *I have been with my girlfriend for 2 years
    *We currently live together and pay rent

    Yes - she can claim your half asset already now

    • how unfair.. can guys the the same?

      • +6

        Yes - it is in both ways

        • +2

          Assume same for LGBT relationship?

        • De jure: yes

          De facto1: maybe not

          1. Excuse the pun. 

        • +1

          @tajid: yes

    • +4

      There's no actual proof we have been together for 2 years, apart from the 6 months we have lived together.
      Scary thought. Now I know why people die single and lonely, so they don't get screwed by the law.

      • No, these laws are new..

      • +21

        It's quite natural. The older we get, the more anxious we get. Simmering away, the small anxiety becomes a fear and then we change our behaviour to avoid that which we fear. We end up hardening our hearts and pushing away the ones that love us.

        Do we want to value money more than relationships? We'll be richer, but will we be happier?

        OP - it's good to acknowledge that you have this insecurity. There are two ways to deal with it the fear of losing your wealth:

        1. Fight hard to make your relationship work. Love more. Laugh more. Make it so good that it is to hard to even contemplate a break up. Think of the two of you as two halves of a whole.
        2. See a remote chance of a break up (based on your description) as a problem. build contingencies and prenups. introduce doubt into your mind and your partner's mind. start keeping account what belongs to you and what belongs to your partner.

        Too many people choose option 2 and see their fears manifest in reality.

        If you choose option 1 and do your hardest to keep things together for the both of you, you can have no regrets.

        our actions and behaviours also change the person we are with over time. Choosing option 1 will have a stronger and more positive impact on the way a loved one treats you over the long term..

        Also remember this… You might have brought more financially to the table. But without the support, sacrifice and love your partner have you, would you financially be where you are now? What about the future when your partner may bring in an income but you may not be working? What about the career that your partner may give up to raise your children? It's so hard to keep account of it all and we have to look at it fairly if we do. Why not motivated each other to be happy and successful together?

        When we get these thoughts, we've got to work harder to appreciate our loved ones.

        • +11

          Option 1 also leaves OP vulnerable to exploitation.

          I wouldn't call OP's response anxiety, more so a rational reaction to discovering that the rules are stacked against him and that his partner now has a huge financial incentive to screw him over.

        • Will she love still love him if circumstances change?

        • +10

          @Scrooge McDuck: first of all, huge props to OP for posting something that people think about everyday day in one form or another. Everyone had a worry that their loved ones will hurt them at some point in time. But people don't talk about it because it sounds selfish to try and protect yourself from your nearest and dearest.

          Yes option 1 leaves you to be exploited. But consider do your actions have a reaction? I would argue that option 1 reduces the risk of being exploited. Generally any change you want to see in the world had to come from within first.

          being kind leaves you open to be exploited. Be kind anyway. People will be kind back. You will be happy.

          Being a scrooge means you won't be exploited. But you'll be a scrooge.

          It's a choice.


        • @Scrooge McDuck: Married?

        • +1

          @lolbbq: who's to say if another person will love us? But should that stop us from trying to show them love?

          We spend ages trying to find someone to love us or find happiness outside and we keep chasing. How about we think of it as something that we have to create, sustain and share?

        • +1

          Eneloops are love, Eneloops are life.

          Won't hear you say otherwise. ;)

          Who needs a boyfriend when you can have all the Eneloops, Xiaomi Powerbanks and all the $30 SIM cards?

        • +1


          being kind leaves you open to be exploited. Be kind anyway. People will be kind back.

          Only some people will be kind back. Others will take your kindness for granted and expect more and more without giving back.

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