“But it was my inherited property, not hers.” How will a court split the assets in a divorce? Which case won?
Husband brings valuable property to marriage
The husband and wife met in 1988 and were married in 1991. They had three children together who were all adults at the time of the first hearing.
When he was 12 years old, the husband had acquired a half interest in three blocks of land from his father, being Properties A, B and C. The husband and his father entered into a mortgage of $26,000 for this interest.
In 1988, the husband and the co-owner of the lots reached an agreement to divide the properties between them. This resulted in them each owning half of Property A, the husband owning all of Property B and the co-owner owning all of Property C.
In September 2001, the husband sold Property B for $215,000.
He used this money by contributing $105,000 to the family, and another $105,000 to acquire the co-owner’s interest in Property A.
Husband and wife split up and commence property settlement proceedings
The husband and wife’s marriage initially broke down in 2013. After several attempts at reconciliation, they separated in May 2015.
In the property settlement proceedings, the parties both conceded that their contributions during the marriage were equal.
The main issue of contention was Property A, which was rezoned in 2010 into an urban growth zone, permitting its use for residential purposes and significantly boosting its value.
By the date of the final hearing, Property A was sold for over $10 million, a significant leap from the $26,000 initial investment.
In May 2018, property orders were made in the Federal Circuit Court, awarding the wife 34% and the husband 66% of the net $9 million from the sale of Property A.
The wife lodged an appeal with the Family Court of Australia, seeking a larger share.