Protecting My Assets in New Relationship

In a new relationship, my partner is renting a couple of rooms from me but we sleep in the same bed. I have a rent agreement with her and bills are 50:50.
I have a fair amount of assets, plus am doing well on my mortgage.
Currently we have seperate bank accounts and pay our own way (no one Person pays for everything, we half grocery bills or if we go out).
I’m five years from paying off my home and want to protect the considerable amount of money I’ve put into it over the years.

Is a rental agreement enough to prevent my partner asking for half my stuff if things go south? Currently she doesn’t work and lives week to week. I work full time on good money for what I do.
I’m in it for the long haul with my partner but if something goes wrong I want to protect my assets.

Comments

  • +49 votes

    Seek Legal advice.

    Renting a couple of rooms from me… can you explain this further?

    • +317 votes

      OP is banging their tenant…

      • +25 votes

        sleep in the same bed

        Tenant has already thought ahead and has a ploy.. and OP admits to that openly…

        OP may have already past the point of no return.

        Next thread from OP, tenant seeks 50% of my assets, and has proof of the depth of relationship in OzB.

        • +7 votes

          …sleeping with the enemy?

          • +13 votes

            @Dark Zeus: OP’s tenant can now reciprocate by “screwing” him back as a favor.

            The bargain for OP’s tenant is, invest via rent, get 50% of OP’s asset. Huge ROI.

        • +4 votes

          Shh, OP's partner (tenant) is reading this post…

          • +6 votes

            @xiangtan: Would be funny if they used this post of evidence of the relationship when they break up past the 6 month defacto timeframe.

        • +1 vote

          OP is past the point of no return.

          Fixed it for you.

      •  

        Sorry, the theme of William Hung - "She Bangs".

      • +2 votes

        … OP is so lucky… bang for free and still get money from the screwed tenant!

      •  

        Nice

    • +13 votes

      Can only use kitchen and laundry; no bathroom

    • +1 vote

      She pays rent on a room that’s hers, plus uses literally the rest of the house anyway.

      • +20 votes

        Doesn't really make sense…

        In your OP, you say that:

        my partner is renting a couple of rooms from me but we sleep in the same bed.

        and here you say that:

        she pays rent on a room that’s hers

        It almost sounds like a brothel/massage parlour operation or something! 🤔

        •  

          Not a brothel, she rents the spare room and uses the rest of the house

            • +5 votes

              @IIGnomeII: Sounds like op just need a rental agreement. Make sure it's not expired.

              Also get plenty of condoms or vasectomy.

              And don't buy more houses.

              Before 2 years, disappear.

              I feel sorry for your partner, sounds like she's screwed

          • +1 vote

            @imnotarobot: I'm surprised more people originally here to help, haven't continued calling you out on this.

            Your explanation makes no sense.

            You literally said 'renting a couple of rooms'.

            It goes without saying a tenant uses the rest of the house.

            A couple of rooms still sound suspicious.

      • +31 votes

        You’re living together and she’s contributing financially through paying rent but realistically she’s not just renting the room if she sleeps in your bed and uses the rest of the house.

        I think you need to consider where you see this relationship going, if you’re thinking it’s a long term thing, that’s okay you just need to get an agreement sorted. If you’re not really thinking long term best to end it and have her move out ASAP - of course treating her fairly to find another place etc.

        • +3 votes

          Great open honest advice. It's very true. They're dating and sharing bills. He's using her as a tenant to help pay rent but also she's his partner that lives with, shares bed, dating and shares bills.
          this is defacto in my mind and will be in the court of law if sustained more than a year?
          If you want to keep it separate and protect 'your' assets. She ONLY pays rent. You pay for everything else. Dating aspect, may or may not alter the court of law ruling.

          • +4 votes

            @FrozenFred: Agree. But if they are truly dating, this thread wouldn't be here in the first place I dare say.

            •  

              @burningrage: In real life there is a big difference between "My tenant and I sometimes have a friendly roll in the hay, so I share the odd bill" and "We love each other deeply and intend to live the rest of our lives together", though most relationships fall into one of the many possible intermediate steps. So long as both are on the same page there's nothing wrong with either IMO.

              But the law does not recognise the difference AT ALL because it has to draw a bright line. So you need to decide whether you value your assets or your partner more - get legal advice, then discuss it honestly with that partner.

      • +1 vote

        Did “new relationship” start after you rented a few rooms to her i.e. you’re just shagging your flatmate

        Or was it before i.e. your new girlfriend was invited to move in by you and you both agreed she’d rent a few separate room and split bills

    • +1 vote

      Don’t kid yourself OP your in a defacto relationship… this renting of rooms crap is a silly distraction. You sleep together, share a bedroom and the rest of the house and also share bills.

      Pretty open and shut to a court.

    •  

      Exactly. Btw, no matter what you write, someone can contest it. So when she gets a lawyer, will they be good enough to fight your prenup? Did you use a good lawyer to get a strong prenup, or a cheapo one that can be taken down easily?

  • +89 votes

    stay away from her if you really want to protect your assets. kick her out from the house.

    • -1 vote

      Why? Has he indicated anywhere that she's a freeloader? Not sure where that aggression's coming from.

      • +64 votes

        It's best to never have a relationship in order to protect your assets

        • -13 votes

          Wow that's shallow.

          • +32 votes

            @MassEffect: Shallow but true

            • -7 votes

              @unwashed00: You can't make a blanket statement like that just because you were in a crappy relationship. A lot of successful relationships out there, mate.

              • +24 votes

                @MassEffect: but he's right, that's how the law works. The only way to be 100% sure of asset protection is to not be in any marriage or de facto relationship.

              • +11 votes

                @MassEffect: That's irrelevant lol. Their "blanket statement" is irrefutably true.

            • +22 votes

              @unwashed00: Yes as i learnt the hard way. Even if you think the person wont become a gold digger, and of course it depends on the person. But once they no longer have a care factor for you, then they can suddenly change into wanting to take as much as they possibly can especially if thats what their friends tell them to do. When i told my ex why dont we sit down and work out whats fair between us, her response was " I want to use lawyers because its my job to try to take as much from you as i can and its your job to stop me"…..This was after she had been physically, emotionally and financially abusive to me during the relationship. I would have thought, i should have been the one who was trying to screw her.

              • +1 vote

                @lonewolf: I wonder if it's better to just not have any assets then, or date a woman who is richer than you. If you spend all you earn, then no one can take anything hey

                • +9 votes

                  @p1723: It's possible but the problem is society and the courts. Even the girls I have dated who earnt more than me sometime 2 or 3 times ..still expected me to spend more or pay for them etc.even the case of my ex, she overall earnt more than me , spent far less on our relationship than I did.and her family or friends or society thought it's ok. But when I spoke to people and said it means I am spending everything I earn to just pay bills and mortgage etc. They said well your money is her money and vice versa of course then when it came to the split she still wanted and got around 70% or more of the assets. She had a huge bank account too since she spent so little of it unlike me …

                  • +1 vote

                    @lonewolf: The solution is to move to a country which values liberty. Misandrist feminism has ruined the West.

                  •  

                    @lonewolf: This is why people should date financial equals. Too much drama otherwise.

                    • +1 vote

                      @GourmetFoodie: She was my financial equal.thats the problem. It's society, even though she earnt the same and sometimes more (she changed jobs alot) . In society it was expected and normal to have me pay for everything or most things. I have dated girls who earnt 3 or 4 times as much as me and same scenario.except every other girl was definitely more fair in the long run and more willing to pay for things than this girl.

              •  

                @lonewolf: oof how did it turn out

                • +2 votes

                  @echelon6: It wasnt good, but I was still in the mindset of having to keep her happy otherwise she would go off at me so even during the financial settlement i gave in far more than i should have. If I could do it again now maybe i would be different but at that time i was just always so afraid of when she was going to get angry again and i just didnt have it in me to handle it anymore so people just told me to get it over and done with. Saying that the toughest part for me these days isnt even the fact that she physically, emotionally or financially was abusive. Its the stigma i deal with everyday that people still think it wasnt "that bad" ,or that shes a girl, she cant hurt me or that shes a girl, girls never leave a marriage unless the guy did something wrong. Her mum told me, if i would just do everything my ex asked and to the timeline that she wanted then everyone will be happy (that was what her parents advice was to me when i went to them for some advice on how to handle their daughters temper.

                  The funny thing is, the only people who seem to really understand what i went through is the 3 different relationship / couple counsellors / psychologists we went to while we were together. Each time the one we were seeing would eventually get to the point that they started to say i was in a domestic violent situation and that my ex had to make some massive changes (they would say that to me bluntly but to her in a more diplomatic way), she would want to find another counsellor and stop going to the one we were seeing. To this day i have gone back to see a couple of them to update them on the divorce and life after. And they are the only ones i realise who really seem to see how i was treated.

                  The general public just seems to treat it like a misunderstanding, miscommunication, i didnt try hard enough to keep her in the marriage. Its odd, especially when i never once left, it was always her who would walk out everytime i didnt say yes or agree to what she wanted and wouldnt come back till i did agree. Even the divorce wasnt my idea as i always thought with time i can make this work somehow, and we can fix it but in hindsight i realise it takes 2. I could never fix it if she wasnt that interested in making it work. But even though she left all the time and i never once walked out, its funny after the divorce, people still seem to just assume i didnt try hard enough. I also get the feeling that almost no-one looks at a man being abused the same way as a woman. I was told :- its just anger, shes just having a temper tantrum, or that she could never be as angry as i make her out to be. I still get that now from people who are my friends. I can only imagine what her friends and family were told by her.

                  I realise that one of the biggest issues we had was she (after being identified as having narcissistic tendencies by the counsellors) would always lie to make herself seem without fault to her friends and family. So due to that she could never really get good or reliable advice from them as they never were told the full story or even close to it . I only realised when i went to her parents for advice and some of the things her parents told me about the stories (our arguments), i was shocked because it was completely mixed up tales, alot of it was fantasy or different tales combined into one. Hence without anyone being able to properly advice her, she was never going to be able to see things or learn . Hence why even though i thought we could figure it out together, we probably never could because people around her would never have been able to provide her the advice that a good friend or family member usually can. You know the kind that can play devils advocate and be an "inconvenient" friend and actually tell you the truth about your own faults.

                  •  

                    @lonewolf: username checks out.. your only fault in this matter is getting into relationship, this will not happen if you just get into partnership instead.. have the contract and everything lay out..

                    • +1 vote

                      @Dotherightthing: Sadly i dont think in our current society it works that, its all messed up. I believe even in a partnership, even with a contract or prenuptial agreement you can still get screwed. My lawyer told me i was lucky i was less than 5 years, if you are married for more than 5 years then your partner is able to get even more…

                      Its funny when people talk of wanting equality, they dont want equality. They just want the pros of it but none of the cons. A couple of my friends mentioned this to me and i realised i was in the same boat after they told me their experiences which is, pretty much every girl they have ever dated regardless of if the girl made more money or equal amounts of money, they still expected the guy to generally pay for most of the things or more things and especially early on in the dating process. Which in and of itself doesnt sound terrible until you go back and see how many times you have done this with how many dates and girls and you realise over the course of 20 odd years, thats a lot of extra money you have spent on dates as opposed to the girls. How is that equal?

                      • +2 votes

                        @lonewolf: easy solution, date another guy..

                      • +1 vote

                        @lonewolf: Mate, you and your friends are dating awful women! Back in our dating days, No one in my Gen Y female friendship group of financially successful professional educated women ever expected men to pay for everything. Going Dutch was standard or taking turns to pay. Generally whoever asked for The first date offered to pay for that date and some men would insist on paying for the first few weeks of dating but anything longer or exclusive became about sharing costs.

                        I have noticed these days there is a group of younger millennial women who seem to be seeking a “sugar baby” lifestyle where they trade off their looks in exchange for everything being paid for.

                  •  

                    @lonewolf: I believe you.

                    Did anyone come up with a psychiatric diagnosis for her? It sounds like her parents may have been dysfunctional too.

                    • +1 vote

                      @Scrooge McDuck: Yes so one of the relationship counsellors told me that we need to go to a family and child psychiatrist to help her as the issues and dysnfunction was above the counsellor's training. So we did. The psychiatrist tried a few things but every time we got close to the deep issues and problems she would get angry or back off or not want to go. In the end he told me that this kind of thing will take decades to really sift through and that's only if she is willing to look at herself and the problems. Basically he also ended up telling me that I was being abused and it may only get better at a very slow pace over the decades. He said her kind of case was one in a million type as she sort of had this ability to have different / split personalities depending on the situation and people around her. So because of that her own friends and people around her were never going to give her good advice or help fix the issues and her treatment of me. Basically that either they will never see it as she won't show that side and the few that she does show that side too ( like her family) are too afraid of her to say no or anything that goes against her wishes.

              • +2 votes

                @lonewolf: Ooof I've had the identical happen. Home to her, cars etc. Very ugly stuff.

        •  

          Hahaha that's awesome!! Haha sad but true and true but sad

      • +1 vote

        Yeah I'm confused as well. Kinda shitty to judge people based on their financials.

      • +5 votes

        The longer OP is in a relationship, the more will eventually go to the partner should they ever split.

        • +1 vote

          Yea I heard that the court considers you and your ex partner's ability to earn as well. So if you're in a good job and have lots of assets whilst your ex partner is a bum with no job prospects or savings then they'll be getting more out of you

          • +3 votes

            @p1723: Not only that, even if your ex then ends up with someone else, they still dont look at that persons salary. It was better for my friend's ex to not work than it was to work because she then ended up getting more cash from my friend regardless of how much cash her new partner got. They only look at your salary and your ex's not of the total family income. (They had kids together before she had kids with the new partner) My friend was fine paying money because he wanted his kid to go to a private school. But basically the way it worked was it was better for her to not work / earn an income so she could get a lot more from my friend. Worst part was when the kids with the new partner were old enough, they got put into the private school and the kid she had with the old partner, got taken out of the private school even though my friend had been paying a lot of money especially for it. He later discovered from the kid that all that money was being used for the new kids "new family". The kid got depressed, the mum kicked the kid out of home and he went and lived with the grandparents. This was all after my friend had fought hard for a few years with courts / lawyers to have custody of the kid but the ex didnt want to give him custody (after he had relocated to a new state to be closer to the kid, she ended up moving again because the new partner lived in another state).

  • +26 votes

    Lol. Good luck.

  • +14 votes

    F

  • +61 votes

    If you're living together as defacto you get 2 years until she/you are entitled to half the other person's assets.
    I feel it's a tad unfair tbh and have had many friends see half their life savings/inheritance stripped from bitter girlfriends (in their 20's)

    So test the waters for 1 year and 364 days and see how you go.

    • +23 votes

      Yes agreed on this. OP, please do more research and talk to people about defacto relationships and breakups. It’s not fair someone gets half of your money just by staying with you and “renting”

    • +33 votes

      [after] 2 years … she/you are entitled to half the other person's assets

      This is really not how it works.

      Firstly determining if someone is a defacto is not quite as simple as looking at if they have been together for 2 years.

      Secondly, if she was a defacto, and there is a breakup and property settlement, then the court has a four-step process they use to determine who gets what. This is basically:

      1. Identify and value the assets, liabilities and resources of the parties;
      2. Consider the contributions of the parties made throughout the relationship;
      3. Consider the future needs of each party; and
      4. Determine whether the proposed settlement is just and equitable.

      (Copied from here, which has some good info about what these steps entail.)

      • +49 votes

        You didn't include the astronomical legal fees associated with this process.

        • +2 votes

          Oh boy. Mate is going through divorce, the ex-wife feigns sickness (he saw her getting manicure after missing court) and repeated court proceedings to waste his money in legal fees. Good dad not much he can do.

          •  

            @blorx: Hey i didn't know my ex wife had remarried and divorced again so soon.

      • +7 votes

        Consider the contributions of the parties made throughout the relationship;

        Definately this. just be aware that that longer they are together the less this counts as well (not saying that negatively).
        My parents went through a slightly messy divorce. My father fought that gifts he was given by a family member should all be his (not a huge amount, but he fought anyway), both solicitors stated that after 45 years, that's insignificant regarding an initial contribution and he should forget it.

        I would suggest that by the time your initial contribution matters, she wouldn't be paying rent anymore anyway. If she is, you may want to rethink what a relationship is.

      • +2 votes

        I put it into layman's terms, all of your points are valid and yes, if she is on a much lower income (zero in this case) she could be entitled up to half your assets (Possibly more).

        • -4 votes

          Your comments are generally inaccurate and unhelpful.

          • +2 votes

            @humdogg: Thank you for your contribution

            • -4 votes

              @Drakesy: Firstly, commented below.

              Secondly, better lack of contribution than wrong contribution.

    • +3 votes

      Does this rule still apply if the genders are reversed?

      •  

        Goes both ways.
        Will just depend who has the higher future earning potential and savings/assets.

        You could try getting a arrangement signed, kind of like a pre-pre nup, however i hear these are very hard to implement in the family court.

        • +2 votes

          I think a lot of people make the mistakes of doing pre nup very last minute, which then the other party can argue that they were not in the best position when they signed such agreement. I believe the key is to make sure both you and your partner are represented by lawyers (on BOTH side), so that each party can't claim that they have been duped into the agreement. Plus, make sure you do this like 3-4 months before the wedding or even longer!

        • +8 votes

          Goes both ways, just not applied equally

          • +12 votes

            @elixe: Yup, this is so true, apparently it goes both ways but never actually treated like that. My ex earned the same amount and at times more than me, paid for almost nothing during the whole relationship and few bills i asked her to pay for while i looked after everything else would not take place everytime she was annoyed about something. Got the new car while i kept the old one as well as took about 60-70% of the assets, even though most of it was mine and paid for by me and we were only together for 3 years….

            • -1 vote

              @lonewolf: Mate, you were being used from the start.

              How did you not see this coming after the first month together… expensive lesson.

              • +15 votes

                @trapper: Because I was constantly putting out fires and always "at fault", so was always trying to fix things.never really had a say or control.thats how abuse works, you don't realise what's going on when you are caught in it especially when it's done by someone you care about and you are told by them that they care for you too.

              • +3 votes

                @trapper: Give him a break mate, it's not a level playing field and it takes a jolt to wake up to evolutionary biology and societal conditioning

      • +5 votes

        Yes the only difference is society has an assumption that women take on the primary care-giving and housekeeping roles so these will be assumed in their favor unless proven otherwise.

        Not saying this is correct or good, just stating the reality.

        •  

          But this is pretty much reality. I am the primary earner but as a woman, also take care of the cooking and housekeeping roles. Same with my mum. Worked full time but still did all the house stuff. I think it's cultural a lot of the time too

      • +4 votes

        Does this rule still apply if the genders are reversed?

        In theory, but women are much less likely to get themselves in that situation. Women tend to want to date men who are taller than them, and have more money.
        So they go for older men. Men are attracted to younger women, so that evens out a bit.

        Men work hard to accumulate assets to attract a mate. But they don't think about how they will attract the next mate when the first takes the assets.
        If you come from a wealthy family, you might have assets in a trust which gives some protection. The rich are somewhat shielded from the laws that hurt ordinary people.

        • +1 vote

          And women from rich families don't care about taking assets from a man from another rich family. Afterall, they have a family to protect.

          They're more concerned in keeping their reputation, status, and making money from their businesses etc etc.

          Rich people really do play a different Game of Life.

    • +1 vote

      "If you're living together as defacto you get 2 years until she/you are entitled to half the other person's assets."

      You just made up both of those claims.

      • -1 vote

        Might want to check yourself bud

        •  

          I did, which is why i wrote my comment, "bud".

      • +6 votes

        There is a lot of misinformation here, as always.

        It's seemingly a popular thing to do, but obtaining legal advice on this forum is particularly risky.

        At least @djkelly69 attempted to look up the law.

        De facto relationship is generally 2 years+.
        Binding Financial Agreements ("Prenups") are specifically regulated under the Family Law Act so therefore, if made properly, will be 100% effective (especially to protect existing assets which OP has) Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule.

        Also, once you are two years, it is absolutely not the case that you are entitled to 50%. It's case by case on the 4 steps above.

        Don't get legal advice from Ozbargain.

        • +1 vote

          Correct.

          De facto. 6 yrs. Owned house together. I certainly didn’t get half because he was the “higher net value individual in the relationship” on paper based on his income. Even though we split costs…

          Go figure.

    • +2 votes

      2 years

      Since when??? I thought it was 6 months!

    • -2 votes

      God this is just absolute rubbish. It is straight up not true. Talk to a lawyer if you're this paranoid some woman's gonna steal half your mountain dews and doritos.

      • +1 vote

        Stop worrying - no-one takes the OzB forum bush lawyer advice seriously ….. do they? 😮

  • +26 votes

    Maybe a contrarian view and too late, but perhaps consider not living together? Removes your current anxiety and may help with the relationship over the long-run

    • +6 votes

      At that point it's a lost cause, if they're living together and he's worried and his solution is to not live together it won't function long-term, there's a lack of trust already and going to a situation where they aren't living together will make the trust levels stoop… which will be better for OP in the long-run I guess :)

      • +3 votes

        Maybe, but the OP has not said it is anything about his partner that gives rise to his concern.

        If it was me, I would have that concern in the back of my mind at the start of any relationship that begins with cohabitation — simply because one doesn't know how it may pan out. If dating doesn't involve cohabitation, at least if things go south then you're not up for half the assets. It just removes that anxiety, at least during the dating phase.

        •  

          what if we class as "tenant with benefits"?

  • +10 votes

    I recently entered into an agreement with my partner, cost about 2k

    https://financialagreements.com.au/defacto.html