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.


    • +13

      Not going into details that I ignore but … from reading what printed media reports stated Grant Hackett had to pay more than 2 million dollars when separated and he had a legally issued premarital agreement

      Apparently they are not worth the paper they are written on and any judge may decide to ignore them and shift all money to the female partner.

      If you are a male and have wealth you'll need stronger assurances.
      Unless happy with giving it away …

      • +9

        They work as long as there are no children. Once there are children it becomes about the best interests of the child, as it should. Also if you get married it dissolved the agreement and you need to get another one.

        Source: Had a relationship agreement with my wife before we were married. Now happily married with a child. Relationship agreement is null and void.

        It sucks that society these days threatens you with losing half your assets to try before you buy with a prospective partner. It creates a risk vs reward with even being in a relationship if you have accrued enough assets.

        I know a barrister who I dont think will ever get married because he is super wealth and spends all day seeing people be A-holes to each other over finances. Luckily being enormously wealthy and good looking gives him a lot of opportunity to short term try before you buy.

        • +4

          best interests of the child, as it should

          In theory yes, but most cases it will be decided that the child need to stay with female/mother and said female/mother suddenly needs massive financial support. Financial support taken from the male/partner/father.

          How many cases of daddy getting the child instead?
          And keeping all assets?
          Answer: What is less or equal than zero?

          a lot of opportunity to short term try before you buy.

          Good for him indeed!

          Hope he never ever falls for it. Because the more you try the higher the risk.

          • +14

            @LFO: This… 99% of the time the courts will favour the mother and she'll get at least 50% of combined assets, often more and usually the house. The amount money the father has to pay to the mother each month is then determined by how many nights he has the kids (ultimately determined by the mother) and how much each parent earns.
            If the mother want more money, she can easily make up some reason why the kids suddenly don't want to stay with the father and the CSA will automatically take more money from the fathers salary. The father pays tax on that and the mother gets it tax free.
            Meanwhile, the father has to keep his new home (usually rented as he now has no assets) suitable for the kids to visit which often means similar or higher costs of living than the mother.
            Meanwhile the mothers property is increasing in value >10%pa, so she's literally increasing in wealth, but that has no effect on anything. However should the father make a cent extra (shares, bitcoin etc) he has to pay a portion to the tax man and a portion to the mother.
            If the father LOSES HIS JOB and is out of work, he still has to pay the mother something.
            If the mother CHOOSES NOT TO WORK (eg. Finds a new wealthy partner), the father has to pay her MORE money as child support is based on her income and not her combined household income.

            They should teach this sh1t to all young guys before they get shafted.

            Yes, there are successful marriages with kids that do last forever, but it's the minority.

            • @OzzyOzbourne: Wow, thanks for the explanations, mate!
              I really never thought this has become a biggie in the Family Law of Act.

              If the mother has taken fair share of big sum after the split, and if the father loses his job but yet he still has to pay the mother,
              It is hard to imagine what life would be in that situation especially when the father have no more big assets…

              • +2

                @Yarra Warrior:

                If the mother has taken fair share of big sum after the split, and if the father loses his job but yet he still has to pay the mother,

                Luckily this claim is completely false, as you would expect:


                In short, child support assessment can be varied on a number of grounds including changes in the actual or potential income of the two parents.

            • -1

              @OzzyOzbourne: If the mother CHOOSES NOT TO WORK - in this case there's a possiblity of keeping child support at bay via Change of assesment request. But there are still ways around that, having a baby is one of them.

            • -4

              @OzzyOzbourne: I cannot believe people are upvoting this nonsense.

              Property settlements tend to favour women in terms of the division of assets. Why? Because women typically end up sacrificing their careers to stay at home with the kids while the male partner goes off any develops his career, but the law recognises those contributions as equivalent.

              The Family Court applies a relatively sophisticated approach to division of property by looking at:

              1. What is the current property.
              2. What the parties contributed to the current asset pool including financial and non-financial contributions.
              3. What the parties' future needs will be.
              4. What the parties' future earning capacity and 'financial resources' are (things like interests as beneficiaries under trusts would be a 'financial resource').

              The part that angry men like Ozzy here seem to hate is that the Family Court will tend to equate the non-financial contribution of a woman who stays at home and raises kids for 5-10 years with the financial contribution of a man who goes to work for that time.

              So to take a typical scenario - couple of similar age married in their early 20s without many assets, had 2-3 kids, paid off say $500k on a mortgage and accumulated a few other assets, wife stayed home to raise kids until late primary school, man worked. They separate in their late 30s.

              1. Current property: equity in house, a few other low value items (cars etc).
              2. Contributions: likely to be assessed as close to equal, one party has contributed a huge amount of unpaid parenting and domestic work, the other has contributed a full time income.
              3. Future needs: likely to be similar.
              4. Future income/financial resources: husband likely to have much better future earning capacity as wife has taken the career hit of staying home for 5-10 years when she could have been developing her career.

              So in that scenario the Court will probably make an adjustment quite heavily in favour of the wife to offset the disparity between the parties' future income potential.

              Men with 1950s views think that's totally unfair. After all, they paid for the house by earning the money, right? But that completely ignores that this was only possible due to their partner agreeing to stay at home to look after the kids. So the husband thinks that's a raw deal, he needs to explain how he could have earnt all that money whilst also pulling 50% of the childcare responsibilities so that the wife could also go to work and have a career.

              But test it out. Let's say the husband is earning $100k per annum but the wife can only earn $50k per annum due to being 10 years behind in her career, losing skills and her professional network in that time, etc. So of the $500k asset pool, perhaps the division is $350k to the wife, $150k to the husband. Outrageous, right? But then (assuming no expenses) it unfolds like this:

              First year: W $350k H $150k
              Second year: W $400k H $250k
              Third year: W $450k H $350k
              Fourth year: W $500k H $450k
              Fifth year: W $550k H $550k

              That also ignores that frequently the wife will end up with more care responsibilities whether she likes it or not and so will actually not be able to earn a full time salary for another decade.

              This fantasy that women somehow get a sweet deal under the family law system is pretty much never borne out in reality.

              Not legal advice, of course…

        • +3

          It's really interesting how having lots of money have trapped people into maladaptive behaviours.

      • Apparently they are not worth the paper they are written on and any judge may decide to ignore them and shift all money to the female partner.

        This is completely wrong. They are frequently upheld if they are done properly and neither party has lied about their assets.

        Here's an example if you'd like to read about the way the law actually works in this area rather than getting bullshit from blokesadvice:

    • +2

      When it goes to court later it will cost 10x more and you will be paying for both sides too.

    • What if she didn’t have money for her own legal

  • +6

    Step 1: Seek Legal Advice to protect what you have built
    Step 2: Be open and honest with your partner about it all and make sure you are compatible financially
    Step 3: Pray you never have to go through asset separation - it sucks

  • +5

    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.

    One thing I learnt is everyone has their own ideas. If other half lives week to week and you work. Expect it to continue as is, if it doesn't go backwards. People love to move the goal posts to their own advantage.

  • +1

    does she know about all your 'considerable' assets?

    • Most of them. Most of it is in the house.

    • +16

      Given they are sleeping in the same bed, you would presume so.

  • +4

    If she doesn't work, how does she pay rent?

    • She’s on medical leave

      • +1

        So when did the sleeping in the same room begin? When she went on medical leave or before?

        • +8

          The better question is did it happen before or after she started living and paying rent there?
          tenants with benefits

        • +32

          It's part of her medical treatment.

          OP is also her physician.

        • I'm more curious if the room or sleeping together came first. If you're a couple first, then she moves in, then they rent a room off you?? I'm betting it's the former.

    • +9

      Furry cheque book …

      • +6

        These days the cheque book is mostly smooth. There are 50% sales on laser hair reduction quite often.

  • +2

    The only thing you need to answer is if she is included as one of those "assets" you are trying to "protect"?

  • +48

    You're playing with fire. Protect your future (your assets) at all costs. Saw lots of guys who were taken to the cleaners and had to start from scratch in their 30s and 40s. If you had been together for a long time and you had family together, then that would have been a different situation.

    As you've pointed out here, you're well established financially, and the lady you're dealing with has almost nothing. What could go wrong? If you want a relationship and the company of a woman, try to date someone who's financially stable like you're. In that case if sh!t hits the fan, the damage won't be as severe as it would be in the other case. Good luck.

    • +5

      she gets pregnant and has your baby - everything changes ;-)

    • i think hes far to way past playing with fire… She thanks him for few 100k..

      • Not too far. OP is in a 'new relationship'.

        He just needs to get out before 1 year and 365 days and there's no issue.

        • I hate to disappoint you but it can be a whole lot less than 2 years.. can be south of 6-12 mths

  • +4

    Convert the tangible assets to digital assets. Memorize or hide the 12 or 24 seed words. This will protect the assets from unlawful seizure or loss.

    • +3

      I’m just wondering how someone unlawfully seizes a tangible asset, like a house in Ops case.

    • +2

      OP is worried about lawful seizure, i.e. they're classed a defacto relationship and she takes half his stuff.

      • Nobody can confiscate OP's digital assets neither unlawfully nor lawfully as long as they keep their seed words safe.

        It is the only true protection for the freedom of property rights.

        • +11

          They can, however, throw you in prison for contempt of court.

          Just because no one can force you to hand over your seed words doesn't mean there aren't repercussions to not doing so. Hiding funds from your spouse to avoid having to pay it out is illegal, in Family Court you are required to disclose all your assets and hand them over as the court decides.

          • +3


            throw you in prison for contempt of court.

            I believe you can also be held for contempt indefinitely. They bring you out every so often and ask again; if you still say no, back you go…

          • +1

            @freefall101: In order to do that, they would have to know your holdings. How?

            • +5

              @sareth: The same way spouses find out about all other financial assets, subpoena their financial records. It's a bit of a giveaway when there's a huge outgoing of cash to a crypto exchange. Same as the suitcase full of cash example, same as hiding gold bars in the backyard.

              Hiding all traces of financial transactions is very difficult. And if you're so scared of your spouse that you go to the effort to hide all your investment activities from them you shouldn't be in that relationship to begin with.

        • +4

          Digital assets will be treated like any other asset.

          If you try to hide them or refuse to hand them over it will be you who is acting unlawfully.

          It will be no different from you emptying the bank accounts and hiding the cash in a suitcase.

  • +16

    but we sleep in the same bed


  • +25

    In a new relationship

    How new?

    Currently she doesn’t work and lives week to week

    Oh no.

    • +15

      Oh contraire - she is working! ;)

    • +2

      the relationship being housemate/bedmate

    • Sounds like she's putting the hours in.. Tomato tomato..

  • +19

    Gift all your money to a trust that you are a beneficiary of, then make the trustee and appointer of that trust someone you trust and exclude that trustee and appointor as a beneficiary.

    • This.
      Cheaper than you think and could save you a huge headache later on.

      • +1

        But let's say OP went into a trust with his mum and dad (for illustration only), doesn't the court view it as (Total Assets/3) and his partner would be entitled half of that?

        • +1

          It really comes down to the type of trust and how it's set up, there are ways to hide your assets in the family trust that prohibit your spouse taking them such as your parents taking ownership over your house i.e putting their name on the title if it's yours to begin with (even though it's in the trust).

          • @Drakesy: How would one go about setting up a family trust? Through a lawyer / solicitor, I assume? Or, accountant?

            • +1

              @DoctorCalculon: Keep in mind, your superannuation cannot be relocated to a private trust fund. Therefore, if things become sour with your missus, then she can make a claim against your super within the Family Court.

            • +4

              @DoctorCalculon: This is solicitor territory. An accountant can set up a trust but for something specific like this you would really want a solicitor. Unfortunately for OP, this sort of arrangement would generally have to be in place prior to the relationship taking off. There are protections in place to prevent this sort of thing, similarly in the case of bankruptcy the court will look at any assets you disposed of in the last 4 (I think) years.

              There would also be a whole host of potential tax issues with this strategy - first and foremost would be that transferring your property title to your parents or a trust would mean you'd most likely be up for stamp duty on the transfer.

    • I wouldn't have a ton of faith in a puppet trust being protected from divorce

  • +6

    If you want to protect your assets, you should slip in a cricket box prior to any arguments.

  • +23

    Currently she doesn’t work and lives week to week.

    get rid of her ASAP

    • But she's a solid 9.5

      • +5

        and gives top quality BJ - for now …

        (until baby appears, when the fun stops and shit goes down)

      • +2

        So she gets 1 year 11 months, then it's time to bail haha

  • +2

    Tell her your lawyer said it is better to rent the room to someone who is just a tenant and that you would like her to be your girlfriend but you need to live apart until you as a couple decide to get married and have a family

  • +2

    new relationship and protecting your asset idea will NEVER mix.

    damn luck if ever work!

  • -2

    Well, technically she s already entitled to some of your assets if somethibg happened to you like your super will be her. Unless you got some legal advice and papers. After a couole of year even if you re not married or de facto , as long as she can prove that you share everything financially she will be able to claim quite a good percent of your assets ( happened to my partner and ir was a real mess).

    • +5

      Well, technically she s already entitled to some of your assets if somethibg happened to you like your super will be her.

      • +1

        They were engaged lets not forget, not just in a relationship.

        But still, poor form by the magistrate.

        • They were engaged lets not forget, not just in a relationship.

          But not yet married, yet the fund trustee choose to ignore the binding nomination.

          But still, poor form by the magistrate.

          Extremely poor form considering he is raking in $300K+ from his job.

          • @DoctorCalculon: I agree this case looks pretty bad due to the age gap and creepy old man vibe etc

            But in principle why shouldn't your fiancée get your assets if you die? (and have no children) It's not that unreasonable really.

            • @trapper:

              But in principle why shouldn't your fiancée get your assets if you die?

              Yes, I agree with you in principle. However, not all cases are equal.

              In the above case, it defies some semblance of justice when there was a binding nomination by the deceased to have the super transferred to their elderly mother, who probably is less financially well off than the magistrate.

      • This is only if he dies…

  • +6

    Yikes. See a lawyer, not OzB. Cheaping out on a binding financial agreement now may be a lot more expensive down the track, even if you have to pay for her legal advice as well.

    Don’t just think about your house, she can go for your super as well.

  • +10

    When I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) we had a conversation about it and agreed that if we split and we didn’t have kids neither of us would seek the others assets. However we are fairly evenly matched financially, I had slightly higher income and assets. I also trusted him. Our first ‘big’ purchase together was a TV 🤣 (which was excellent and we had for many years). We only started completely sharing finances once we got engaged and bought a house together 7ish years later.

    Your situation is different as you don’t have matched financial situations and it sounds like you don’t trust her enough to just have a verbal agreement. I think your only way forward is to enter into a formal agreement with the help of lawyers. You need to be upfront with her and explain to her what you have here. Not knowing her, I’m not sure how this will go but be ready for things to get messy as it sounds like it might have already gone too far without an agreement in place. Probably get legal advice before having the conversation - but do it soon.

    Also consider that if you do end up having a kid together all this goes out the window. But there will be something around that in any agreement you draw up.

    • +9

      The problem is that agreeing not to seek each other's assets is not legally enforceable.

      And people tend to change their minds, especially if there's bitterness (e.g. cheating) involved.

      • yep - but you'd be better served by having some sort of agreement than not I would imagine. I think the main thing is don't enter into this kind of relationship unless you trust the person and are intending for it to be a long term relationship. Perhaps a little late in OPs case.

    • However we are fairly evenly matched financially, I had slightly higher income and assets.
      I also trusted him

      To be frank (and I am not pointing you out intentionally, but making a broader point for the rest of the thread), your trust was/is irrelevant in the broader scheme of things.

      The law may have been designed to be equal, but it isn't necessarily applied equally. He's the one who would and will have to deal with the financial consequences.

      Prima facie, only when there is a significant disparity in the parties asset pool (in favour of the woman) are the Courts forced to apply their rulings more liberally and equitably. And even then, there is a reason why ideum that money buys justice, rings true.

      we had a conversation about it and agreed that if we split and we didn’t have kids neither of us would seek the others assets.

      It's funny how no couple on their wedding day ever thinks that they will get divorced. And how you can one day be lovers, and the next day be each other's worst enemies.

      • +1

        He's the one who would and will have to deal with the financial consequences.

        Not sure if you're talking about OP or my husband here. If my husband, I really don't think your comment is accurate, he would have been able to try and access my funds as much as me his, and since I had more at the time and have contributed slightly more since, it would be me who stands to lose. Yes, when it comes to OP it will be him who has more to loss, but also bear in mind that his partner is essentially paying part of his mortgage - this thing about here being a tenant doesn't add up, poor planning on OPs part.

        It's funny how no couple on their wedding day ever thinks that they will get divorced. And how you can one day be lovers, and the next day be each other's
        worst enemies.

        Very true and I don't know what the future holds, things are fine at the moment. Whilst things get messy for lots of people, I've also seen people separate successfully, fairly an amicably. We have a child now, so he would centre of both our concerns if we were to split. I have confidence we both behave well and treat each other with respect as both of us play a significant caring role for him. Also I think it helps that we're in a good financial position and would be even if we split. It gets difficult when there's either not enough to go around or either or both parties are lazy, greedy or selfish.

        • I think my wife and I are similar. We've had some rocky moments and we've always put the children and our finances first. Spending thousands on legal fees just hurts all of us.

          However I did see my parents have an incredibly bitter divorce where they both spent a huge amount of money on legal aid. It's hard to convince people who've had an acrimonious split that all separations aren't like that. As you can see from some of these comments, some very hard learned lessons and unfortunately, maybe the wrong lessons learned as well (ppl can't be trusted, all women are gold diggers etc).

  • Hypothetically if the house and loan (if any) was in 100% in a family members name, eg parent,

    Is it untouchable?

    • +2

      Unless that family member decides to sell it.

    • +1

      Not necessarily, it may just mean the money goes to his Ex's lawyers instead of her by the time the battle is sorted. If you want to shield asset's from courts you need serious legal advice and deep pockets to defend it in court.

  • +19

    Dont be in a relationship with someone you don't trust, simple.

    You obviously have a low opinion of her.

    If it is a woman who showed me such distrust, I would be offended and tell her to piss off.

  • +8

    Mate you are five years away from losing half your house. Move her out ASAP and then continue to see her.

  • +1

    Thanks for the posts everyone

    • +6

      No, thank you.

      • No. Thank you. I've learnt a lot from this post!

  • First mistake made was sleeping with the "client".

    What were you thinking?

    Why would she pay rent, if you are technically in a defect relationship?

    Tell her you made a mistake… get out of the situation NOW!

  • +1

    How did the relationship start, was she your tenant and you renting a room to her? Irrelevant, but I'm curious!

    I have rented out a room here and there, and I ALWAYS maintain such a boundary to never allow this to happen as I don't want to wake up one day and end up in a defacto situation with someone that I have vastly more assets than. If the relationship has a future, you should enter into a BFA before you are legally classified as a defacto.

    Next time only rent rooms to same sex, or people you are not attracted too!

  • Binding Financial Agreement (the Australian equivalent of a pre-nup) is the only thing that will be binding. Rent agreement etc. won't stick in a family law breakup situation.

    To do a BFA properly you each need your own lawyer for independent legal advice. Be wary of the cheap kits online: they often send you off to your own lawyers for the advice, but often it's done on a shoestring so there's a question of whether advice was received, whether it was legal, whether it was independent etc.

    To have it done properly, you're probably looking about $4k - $6k combined across the two lawyers.

    Do it properly or don't bother.

  • +5

    Living together, she uses most of the house for free, your assets appear necessary to maintain her lifestyle, looks like you're supporting her to a family court. She will start to "earn" a percentage of your assets every year from the start of the third year as cohabiting partners.

    Or you can "accidentally" have her pregnant and all of a sudden she gets 75% of everything including your super! Fun times. Get the snip champ. And move her the f out.

    • So you think she'll end up having twins?

      • 60/40 her way would be a pretty good result for the dude even with one kid.

        I think.

        I am not a divorce lawyer (imagine).

  • +1

    Dear OP

    You are worried about your "significant" assets and you want to skimp on legal advice?
    And when it all goes wrong on you who are you going to call?….OZ Bargain again and get the same skimpy advice
    That's just hilarious

    Seriously mate, go and pay to see a solicitor.
    They will give you the correct advice and draw up the necessary paperwork

  • +8

    I'm not a lawyer.

    But binding financial agreements have recently changed in Australia, they're not as iron clad as a prenup. They won't work if your partner is at a special disadvantage of some sort. And you need to update it as necessary if things have changed.

    • This.

  • +17

    It’s a two-way street. You got into her pants so be prepared that she could/would get into your pockets.

  • +2

    You should think about this before she moved in with you, it may be too late now.

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