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Family law - protecting your joint assets

Protecting your entitlement to joint assets after a relationship breakdown is an important step.

Uncertainties can occur when joint assets are held in the name of one party only; for example, the title to the family home or an investment property is only held in the name of one of the husband or wife.

We are often asked whether it's advisable to lodge a caveat against the family home and other investment properties or what to do if a former partner has lodged a caveat against their property without their knowledge.

Lodging a caveat in most family law matters comes from an interest in the relevant property (this can be implied, resulting or constructive) and the Caveator (the person lodging the caveat) asserts a Trust interest in the property, such as:

  1. Having made a contribution to the property's purchase price, where this is not reflected on the title,

  2. Transferred the property to their spouse/partner for no cost or below-market value, or

  3. Having made financial or non-financial contributions to the property's upkeep or improvement.

There are other non-financial reasons which may entitle you to an interest in a property.

The existence of a de facto relationship or marriage will not automatically give you an interest in a property. There may be cost consequences if a caveat has been improperly lodged.

It is important to seek family law advice as soon as possible after a relationship breakdown so that you are well informed and your assets are protected.

Nevin Lenne Gross’ family lawyers have extensive experience advising individuals on complex family law matters. Contact our family law team to discuss your individual circumstance.

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