Money: Kathryn wants to help her daughter buy a home with her partner. What happens if they split? - PressFrom - Australia

MoneyKathryn wants to help her daughter buy a home with her partner. What happens if they split?

07:26  15 august  2019
07:26  15 august  2019 Source:

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HOME HELP . Q. I am giving my daughter £100,000 for the deposit on her first house, which she is buying with her It is also increasingly common for the parents to try to ring-fence their contribution so it will be protected if their child splits from the partner with whom they are buying the home .

Q I am buying a house for me and my girlfriend to live in at a cost of £450,000. While I don’t want to be insensitive or come across as selfish, I feel it’s important to make sure everything is clear just in case we went our separate ways in five or 10 years’ time.

Kathryn wants to help her daughter buy a home with her partner. What happens if they split?© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation We've looked at what you need to know in the event your de facto relationship breaks down. (Unsplash: Pablo Heimplatz)

Kathryn has been putting some money aside to help her daughter buy a home.

"My daughter is in a relationship and they are considering buying a house in future, and will use the money I put aside for part of her home deposit," she told the ABC.

She says she doesn't have doubts about her daughter's partner or dislike him, but does wonder what would happen if they were to break up in future.

"It is a lot of money to save up over time that could be lost if my daughter's relationship were to not work out in future," Kathryn said.

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How will you split costs? Owning a home means coming up with a down payment and closing costs What if one partner wants to break up, not move out and bring somebody else to live in the house with What happens if one partner gets a great job offer in another city and the other partner can’t

They have split up because he was turning violent. My daughter has moved out but he says he does not want to sell up, they pay half and half on the I suggest your daughter calls his bluff and gets a solicitor as soon as possible. This would be one sure way of ensuring her partner gets the message

"Would they divide their assets? [Would it] be possible to have that amount I put in for the home deposit be kept with her in such an eventuality, or [would] it be divided with her partner in that case?"

"I'd like to ensure that in any possible circumstance in future that she would still have that nest egg to rely on."

As part of the ABC's personal finance project, you asked us to look at how de facto relationship splits can impact finances. This is what we uncovered about super, property, gifts, and inheritance.

Are you in a de facto relationship?

The definition for de facto relationships is the same across all Australian states and territories, and it applies to same sex and opposite sex couples.

If you've been living with your partner for two years or more, you're considered to be in a de facto relationship.

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Want to know how my wife and I used to split our expenses when we were dating? The method of contributing what you can is normally what ends up happening when a family is forced to live together or a spouse or roommate loses a job. And what happens if they boyfriend and sister break up?

Granted, you may want to report the passport as “lost” if you don’t want to explain to your home country why you were deported but usually you are fine. The longer you are outside your home country, the more likely a deportation will happen at some point in your travels, it’s a simple fact.

In legal situations, it can also depend on financial dependency, how long you've been in a romantic relationship, and whether you've registered your relationship in an Australian state or territory.

And that can have implications for you — and your finances — once you're separated, especially if you own a house together.

What happens when you split?

The Family Court doesn't discriminate anymore in relation to married or de facto couples (same sex or heterosexual).

So you have three options when you split: you can try to find an agreement without involving the courts, use an agreement formalised by the court (known as an application for consent orders), or apply to the court for orders.

In terms of the types of things that are looked at in the split, they can include the property you own together or separately, superannuation, as well as potentially spousal maintenance.

Other type of assets that can be divided include:

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No, instead she wants to go through with the pregnancy. You don’t want this baby—this isn’t your (No sane person wants to do this. She does it because she feels it’s better than the alternatives.) Given that all her choices actually suck, let’s talk about what happens when a woman gets pregnant

Things happen , but landlords often appreciate knowing you want to do the right thing, and communication is One collection account alone shouldn’t completely derail your plans to buy a home – it’s the overall What I want to know is how do I get it off of my credit report and can they do that?

  • Money
  • Investments
  • Insurance policies
  • Inheritances
  • Shares
  • Any other assets, such as cars, furniture or jewellery
  • Debts, such as mortgages, loans, credit cards and personal debts

These will be considered when settling no matter whose name is on the documents, who bought it, or who is in debt.

But family and relationship lawyer at Landers & Rogers Stephanie Doyle says every matter is "slightly different".

"I can't give you an exact figure on every matter because … every matter has its own nuances," she told the ABC.

How exactly can it impact my financial situation?

Well, it could mean that you need to divide up your property and superannuation.

On the issue of property, Ms Doyle says there is "no blanket rule" when it comes to dividing up assets.

She says what usually happens is the assets are added up and then there is a process to work out how it is divided.

Her advice is usually for couples to resolve issues of furniture and other small property between themselves rather than getting caught up in a protracted legal battle.

"I generally say to people let me know the things that you will die in a ditch over and then we will try and get that one or two items," she said.

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My daughter and her boyfriend want to buy a house and I would like to help them financially. If they split up, how will Confirm this arrangement by way of a "declaration of trust" covering the share you each get, responsibility for insurance and maintenance, and what happens if one of you wants to sell.

What happens if we can't reach an agreement? You want to be sure to avoid conflict over taking these items - you don't want to get into a screaming match with your spouse that could turn violent. Are assets bought before the marriage split in divorce?

"But, you know, it doesn't commercially make sense to have letters passing between lawyers for you to get your DVD collection."

How does super splitting work?

Senior policy adviser at Women's Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) Tania Clarke, says in a lot of cases superannuation can be a main concern, especially for women who have stayed at home to look after the kids.

In fact, a 2018 report by WLSV found that for 21 per cent of matters in the small claims, large battles project — which was established to investigate and document the experience of vulnerable women seeking family law property settlements — superannuation was one of the only significant assets (if not the only asset) in the property pool.

"Generally speaking, the court looks at what the contributions of each party have been," Ms Clarke said.

"One thing that some people don't really seem to fully understand is that the court will look at both financial and non-financial contributions. The court will also look at future needs.

"Non-financial contributions includes being at home looking after children and contributing to the house in that way, even though this work is often considered unpaid work."

Ms Doyle says under superannuation-splitting laws, part of a property settlement can include the divvying up of superannuation entitlements depending on the length of the relationship.

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That has helped make a healthy dent in her loan bill. But a home loan comes with more zeros. And Ms. Wills said she is not exactly jumping at the prospect of “taking out another massive amount of debt and “We want to start making our own kind of home , where we would stay for a while,” she said.

Have you opened your home time and time again, then your daughter comes home and you and your family try and help her through the drama she’s having with her abusive partner , but then she goes right back to him? Is watching the way he treats your daughter breaking your heart?

"Typically in a long relationship there will be an equalisation of super contributions," Ms Doyle said.

"That means that we add together everyone's superannuation and [sometimes] we just divide it in half so if one person's got slightly more super than the other, they will receive an adjustment [to] their superannuation from the other party's superannuation."

But Ms Clarke says there is no clear-cut rule for superannuation division and again it is treated on a case-by-case basis.

She also says it can be difficult in some situations to find out what super is available, particularly in circumstances of economic abuse.

"Often that involves the perpetrator having total control of the finances and the victim has no idea what super is there or anything else really," she said.

In those situations, previously you had to apply to the super fund for the information. It is legally complex and nearly always requires the engagement of a lawyer.

A further cost is the fees charged by the superannuation fund to access super information — often there are multiple super funds, so these fees add up.

Ms Clarke says the Government is now working on a Women's Legal Service recommendation that courts should be allowed to directly access super information via the ATO.

What are your other superannuation options?

In cases where it's a shorter relationship, Ms Doyle says each party might decide to keep their superannuation in their own name (so opt not to split super) if they both continue to work during the relationship.

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Instead, they bought a home in Florida with a pool and yard. They also acquired a pet. Several falls (some from walking their new dog) and multiple Her dad passed suddenly and since then, her mother has been hospitalized four times. Now she’s in rehab but plans to move in with her daughter

Ms Doyle also says some people might also opt to forgo a super split, in exchange for a greater share of other assets such as property.

"One party might end up wanting to retain the former matrimonial home or a property for their children to live in, or might have greater upfront needs if you will, and generally forgo a superannuation split or a division of the superannuation for a greater share of those real assets," she said.

What about inheritances and 'gifts'?

Going back to Kathryn's question for a minute, inheritances and gifts can be a tricky area in the event of a split.

Ms Doyle says she gets clients who come to her and they might say they've got some money, say $50,000, from their mum and dad for their house deposit.

She says working out a fair split in those circumstances is not necessarily an accounting exercise.

"Remember, you don't necessarily get the $50,000 back, that's why you need a financial agreement which sets out, for clarity, how matters or how property should be divided between you if your relationship comes to an end," she said.

"In these cases, it might not be a 50/50 split because some party or a party wants an acknowledgement for their financial contribution [for example the $50,000] and the other party might say 'well, I've done other things you know'."

Ms Doyle says in cases where a couple has split and property is their biggest concern, there can be disagreement over who has contributed what.

For example, one party might ask for an adjustment arguing that they had to wait some time for you to invest because you were more risk-adverse.

"So it's not clear cut and emotions can also make it even more difficult," Ms Doyle said.

It can be the same for inheritances, which if they are received during the relationship, are still considered property.

Someone may be able to access their partner's inheritance if it makes up the assets they share between them.

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"Also if the inheritance is received some time ago and the party then invested it into a joint property or venture, it is hard to then identify and/or quantify the value of the inheritance in the new asset, just like it is hard to unscramble an egg," she said.

What about maintenance?

You might be surprised to know that if you're the main breadwinner, you might be up for paying maintenance.

According to Ms Doyle, you could be liable to "maintain" your ex-partner if you are reasonably able to do so and the other party is unable to support themselves.

In that case, the court would look at what someone needs in terms of financial support and how much the other person can afford to pay. This circumstance arises because of:

  • Someone having the care and control of their child whose under the age of 18
  • Age, or physical or mental incapacity for appropriate gainful employment
  • For any other adequate reason

Ms Doyle also points out that orders for maintenance can take many forms and can be a lump-sum payment or periodic.

Can you be in more than one de facto relationship?

Yup. The Family Court recognises that people can be married to one person and still be in a de facto relationship with someone else.

And according to Legal Aid Victoria, you must apply for a court order about property settlement and partner maintenance within two years of separating from your partner. Otherwise, you will not be eligible for the division of assets.

So, how can I protect myself?

In most cases you're encouraged to make a financial agreement (similar to a prenup) about your property before, during or at the end of your relationship so that you don't have to go through court.

It can cover things like how your property is divided, ongoing financial maintenance and other issues.

But experts advise that there are strict requirements which must be met for a financial agreement to be considered legally enforceable.

According to Legal Aid Victoria, both people are required to sign it and it must also contain a statement that each person has received independent legal advice covering:

  • How the agreement will affect their rights
  • Whether or not the agreement is to their advantage

And each person's lawyer must sign a document saying legal advice was given.

Once agreed upon, the agreements are legally enforceable unless in instances of fraud, practicality, changes in parental care, unethical handling, someone's failure to comply or the confiscation of property through criminal activity.

But Ms Clarke says the financial agreements can still be overturned by a court if they're found not to be "just and equitable", and in cases of economic abuse or family violence it's important to seek out independent legal advice.

This article contains general information only. It should not be relied on as finance advice. You should obtain specific, independent professional advice from a registered financial planner in relation to your particular circumstances and issues.

Are you a young woman who needs help to manage your money?

We know you have unique challenges as overall, :

  • Earn less than men
  • Have less superannuation
  • Are more likely to have career breaks
  • Have lower levels of financial literacy

It's time to change things. We want to help you to become more confident about money and have the skills and information you need to shore up your financial future.

So let's do it together.

Send in your questions about money using the form below and we'll try to get our journalists to find you an answer.

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