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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
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
Husband and wife split up and commence property settlement
The husband and wife's marriage initially broke down in
2013. After several attempts at reconciliation, they separated in
In the property settlement proceedings, the parties both
conceded that their contributions during the marriage were
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
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.
case a - The case for the wife
case b - The case for the husband
My husband quite rightly concedes that our contributions during
our relationship were equal. Therefore, all our assets, other than
Property A, have been divided equally. Given the extent of the
financial and non-financial contributions I made during our long
marriage, Property A should also be divided equally.
By giving my husband a 66% share of Property A, the trial judge
effectively gave my husband credit for the serendipitous increase
in the property's value. Property A only increased in value
because it was rezoned, not because of anything my husband did
In fact, but for me, we wouldn't have even benefited from
the rezoning of Property A. Although we were struggling
financially, I agreed to my husband using half of the funds from
the sale of Property B to gain sole ownership of Property A.
I then continued to support my husband in his decision to
maintain ownership of Property A, pending possible rezoning. This
was a significant contribution to our marriage. Instead of selling
the property as I would have preferred, we had to borrow money from
my husband's family to support our children.
The court should order that the proceeds from the sale of
Property A be divided equally between me and my husband.
It's true that my wife and I contributed equally during our
marriage. However, the law requires the court to have regard to
Property A's value at the time of these proceedings, not at the
time my wife and I got married. Therefore, I contributed a $9
million asset to our marriage, which I should get the benefit of as
I leave the marriage.
But for me bringing Property A into our relationship, there
would be no property of significant value to divide. In this
context, a 34% allocation to my wife seems more than fair.
In addition to Property A, I have made other contributions
justifying a 66% to 34% split. Prior to our marriage I purchased a
property, which I then made available as our family home. I also
repaid the $130,000 loan that my mother made to my wife and me. I
paid all the outgoings for Property B and C until their sale. I
paid for a family holiday during our period of attempted
reconciliation, as well as the cost of a holiday my wife took on
her own. I also paid child support at a higher rate than
The court should dismiss the appeal and uphold the 66% to 34%
split of the value of Property A.