Treatment of a Large Inheritance in a Property Settlement – What Can Happen
The court recently had to consider how to treat a large inheritance received by the wife during the relationship. In particular, the court had to consider whether those assets should be excluded and quarantined from distribution, or whether everything should be included in the pool available to distribute.
The wife received an inheritance of approximately $3.5 million a few months after the parties were married. The inheritance included investment properties and a company which provided the wife with a substantial annual income. The husband also worked during the relationship.
The wife’s argument was that the inherited assets and her post-separation assets should be quarantined and only the property and assets acquired jointly during the marriage should be divided between the parties.
The court did not agree with the wife’s argument, saying that she was downplaying the husband’s contributions during their nine-year relationship, including his non-financial contributions to the care of their child.
The court determined that the property pool should include all assets, and noted that the wife had made the overwhelming financial contribution to the asset pool. The court assessed that the husband should receive 8% of the asset pool for his contributions. The court also awarded the husband an additional 2%, taking into account the wife’s superior earning capacity and financial resources. The husband received approximately 10% overall, with the wife retaining the balance.
The outcomes in Family Law matters can be unpredictable, but it is worth getting professional legal advice to ensure you know your rights and achieve the best possible outcome. We specialise in all matters of Family Law, please call us (07) 3221 4300 to organise your initial fixed-fee consultation – protect your rights!