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Property Settlement - Case Study 1

Retiree property settlement and tax issues

Our client, (“Betty”) came to see Armstrong Legal when she assessed her relationship with “Bill” was in trouble.  Betty and Bill had previously been married and each came to the relationship as retirees. They were both relatively financially secure. Betty owned her own home and Bill moved in with her. Bill had also owned his home which he sold when he moved in with Betty. With those funds they had travelled extensively together. Bill had also bought himself a new car and a boat. Betty had her own car from before she met Bill 9 years ago.

Betty had quite a substantial share portfolio, but Bill’s funds had been diminished throughout the relationship to the extent that he would not be able to buy a house of a similar standard to that which he had owned before his marriage to Betty.

Betty and Bill were not hostile towards one another but disagreed about how their assets should be divided. Betty wanted to keep her home and her share portfolio. She did not want any part of Bill’s car or boat. She said “they were his and were a sign of his extravagance that had led to his poor financial situation”.

Bill did not think it was reasonable that both he and Betty came into the relationship with houses of equivalent value. Betty wanted to keep her house, but Bill would not be able to afford to buy an equivalent property.

Armstrong Legal realised Betty’s share portfolio had increased substantially over the years and for her to keep it would mean that she would have a considerable Capital Gains Tax debt when she sold shares. However the valuation of those shares by the court would not take into account the tax payable on the shares. We were able to restructure Betty’s affairs whereby her shares were sold, realising the capital gain and minimising her assets for family law purposes. We were then able to negotiate effectively from this altered position to minimise the amount she paid Bill. By referring Betty to an appropriate accountant and financial planner we were able to ensure she retained her home, negotiated a smooth and cost-effective settlement with Bill, restructured her financial affairs and had ongoing income to maintain her lifestyle in Bill’s absence.

Armstrong Legal would be pleased to be able to discuss your situation with you and let you know realistically what we would be able to achieve for you. If you would like free preliminary advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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