Inheritance and Divorce Law

We have seen a lot of family law clients who have come to see us recently asking for advice about an inheritance that they are about to receive, an inheritance they have received or an inheritance they are going to give their married or de facto children.

They want to know how such an inheritance might be treated in the event of divorce or separation in Perth, Western Australia.

An inheritance does arguably affect a family law property settlement in Perth, Western Australia.

We refer our clients to our family/ divorce law blogs so they can get ongoing legal information.

They are also great for our new or potential family law clients to read.

This very recent inheritance case is of great interest to many of our Perth family law clients.

The parties were married but similar principles may apply to de facto couples in family law in Perth, Western Australia.

This was a 15-year relationship in which the husband inherited about $3 million from the estate of his father who died just before the parties’ separated.

The Full Court awarded the wife 47.5 % of the 7.4 million dollar property pool (which included the inheritance her husband received) based on her superior contributions during the marriage.

The parties had two children aged 13 and 10.

Both parties worked for periods through the marriage although the wife made more contributions during the marriage.

The wife assumed the majority of care for the children after separation.

The first judge, being the family law trial judge found the wife was entitled to a 20 per cent share of the husband’s inheritance.

The family law trial judge found the wife’s entitlement was because of her contributions over the four years since separation when she had assumed primary responsibility for the care of the children.

The Full Court found that the trial judge erred in only looking at four years of the wife’s contributions to the children rather than across their 15-year marriage relationship.

They took a more global approach when altering the family law property interests of the parties.

The Full Court on appeal said, “ Despite the timing of the receipt of the inheritance we consider that over this long marriage a global approach is appropriate”.

Please remember that this blog is not legal advice and you should consult a very experienced family lawyer from a long-established firm for specific family law advice and more detailed advice about this very recent and important decision of the Full Court about inheritances and how they may be treated in divorce family law in Perth, Western Australia