What is not relationship property?
If you get married or enter a civil union, or if you’ve been in a de facto relationship for at least three years, then almost all of your property becomes ‘relationship property’. In some de facto relationships, this can happen before you’ve been together for three years; for example, if you have children together or if one partner has made substantial contributions to the relationship and it would cause serious injustice if they were not covered.
All relationship property is legally shared property. This means that if you and your partner break up, any relationship property will likely need to be shared equally between you.
Separate property is all property that is not relationship property; it generally stays with the person who owns it. It is property kept separate from the relationship during the marriage, civil union or de facto relationship.
Examples of this are:
- Property bought by either spouse or partner while they were not living together.
- Income that is earned from separate property.
- Any increase in the value of separate property.
- Family heirlooms.
- Gifts and inherited property, unless it has been mixed with relationship property.
Working out how relationship property should be divided can be complex as it also includes debts. You should always seek advice from a lawyer before agreeing to a division of relationship property.