“I am going through a property settlement with my partner. Do I need to tell my partner about any property which I hold overseas or is held on my behalf by a relative, a trust, a company or any other third party even if they have not contributed to it? Do I need to disclose any inheritance I have received? What will happen if I reach a property settlement agreement with my partner and my partner subsequently finds out about them?”
Under Australian family law, both parties have a legal obligation to disclose all assets in which they have an interest in, irrespective of their location, and the manner in which the interest is held in those assets. This includes assets which are located both in Australia and overseas.
You should explain to your solicitor exactly what the nature and extent of your interests are in all assets as well as whether they are registered in your name or are held in the name of a third party or another entity on your behalf.
You should also advise your solicitor whether you are simply a beneficiary under any discretionary trust and whether you are expecting to receive any inheritance.
You should also provide details of your spouse’s involvement and contributions toward such assets so your solicitor can properly advise you on how those assets should be treated for the purposes of assessing your overall entitlements in a property settlement.
It is a good practice to keep notes and records of all assets which you purchased or received before, during and after the relationship and to take them to your solicitor so they can assess both your’s and your partner’s contributions properly and what proportion of assets each party may be entitled to.
If you do not disclose to your partner the existence of any overseas assets, an inheritance you received or your interest in an asset simply because you thought it was not relevant in a property settlement agreement, there is a risk that your partner may be able to overturn or challenge the property settlement agreement once they find out.
Contact us to find out more or to arrange a consultation with an experienced family lawyer in Sydney.