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Can My Girlfriend Take Half My House in Australia? – What You Need to Know About Property Settlement Rights

In Australia, your girlfriend is not automatically entitled to take half of your house. The law requires you to take into consideration any contributions that both of you made to the house, and any future needs either of you may have.

For example, a relationship where one person entered a relationship with a property is different from a relationship where the couple purchased a property when they were together during the relationship.

When a relationship ends, one of the most difficult issues is property settlement rights.

What happens to half your house in Australia if you and your girlfriend split up? Can my girlfriend take half my house? Or does the house belong exclusively to you?


Quick Summary

  1. You will need to establish whether you are in a de facto relationship or not to determine whether your partner has a claim to your house.
  2. If you are not in a de facto relationship, then there is no claim.
  3. If you are in a de facto relationship – you will need to assess the contributions of each party as well as the future needs either of you may have.
  4. Couples may agree on a division of the assets or if an agreement cannot be reached, an application can be made to the court for a property settlement order.

Factors to consider – Can My Girlfriend Take Half My House?

The Family Law Act of 1975 sets out a number of factors that the court must carefully consider before determining how assets should be divided after the breakdown of a de facto relationship. Some of these things are:

  • What the parties entered the relationship with
  • What the current financial position is of the parties
  • The financial contributions each party made to the property
  • The non-financial contributions made by each party
  • The length of the relationship. For a short marriage property settlement the rules are different from a long marriage.
  • Are there any children?
  • Each party’s age, health, and ability to earn an income.

When is a Partner Entitled to Half My House?

A partner is entitled to half of the house if they can show that their contributions to the joint asset pool is equal to 50% of the value of the house.

Things like how long the relationship was, whether or not there are children and who paid for the initial deposit of the house are all important to answer this question.

For example, lets look at these facts to see if your partner is entitled to half of the house:

  1. You bought a house worth 1 million dollars and have been living in it for 2 years
  2. Your partner moves into the house and lives there for 2 years
  3. You dont have any kids together
  4. Your partner assisted from time to time making some payments to you and made payments to the groceries
  5. You separate after living together for 2 years

In this scenario, your partner would not be entitled to 50% of your house, as their contributions were very little.

Let’s take another set of facts and see how this would be different:

  1. You bought a house worth 1 million dollars and have been living in it for 2 years. You have paid $200k towards the initial purchase of the house and towards the mortgage repayments.
  2. Your partner moves into the house and lives there for 10 years.
  3. During that time, you paid an additional $200k in mortgage repayments. Your partner paid $100k in mortgage repayments.
  4. The value of the house has gone up to 2 million dollars
  5. The mortgage is now worth about $500k so the equity in the property is about $1.5m
  6. There are no kids

In this situation, there have been about $500k worth of payments made toward the house. Out of that, your partner has made $100k worth of payments, or about 20%.

The value of the house is $1.5m, so 20% of that is about $300k.

This is the minimum your partner may receive.

There may be other factors here to consider. Your partner potentially paid for other things, maybe the arrangement was that they pay more of the groceries and other expenses and not made payments towards the house. This could also potentially be counted for.

Couples have the option to reach an agreement on the division of assets and agree to either keep the house or sell the property and divide the profits between them.

In some cases, the court may allow one party to buy out the other’s share and become the sole owner of the property.

  1. During a separation, there is no assumption that both people will get half the family home.
  2. Asset division between separated couples is primarily guided by the Family Law Act 1975.
  3. In addition to division of the family home, superannuation and other property should be taken into account when determining the final settlement.


Property Settlement in Divorce - can my girlfriend take half my house?


Does My Partner Automatically Get Half My House?

It is important to know that there is no assumption that your partner will get half the family home.

In many cases, one partner may be entitled to half the family home, however, it’s important to remember that this varies depending on the specific circumstances.

The court will consider each individual case and decide on a final determination based on the contributions made by both parties and principles of equity.

It’s also important to consider all assets that are part of the asset pool. These assets may include inheritances, trusts, or family businesses. Superannuation should also be taken into consideration when determining the overall settlement.


What If One Spouse Wants the House?

In the event that one of the parties wishes to retain the family home, other assets such as money or property may be used to compensate the other partner. However, this must be taken into account when considering the overall settlement. If one partner wishes to keep the house, there may also be a requirement to pay the other partner their proportional share in return.

In cases where the parties have signed a binding financial agreement prior to a marriage separation, the court may take this into consideration when making the final determination on asset division.



Navigating a marriage separation can be an emotional and difficult process. At Justice Family Lawyers, we understand the complexities of ending a relationship and are here to provide support. Our team of experience family lawyers can provide advice and guidance on when a partner is entitled to half of your house during a marriage separation. We can help you understand your rights and the legal processes involved in dividing assets and property during the separation.

If you are considering a marriage separation, don’t hesitate to contact us; we are here to help.


It is essential to seek legal guidance when tackling issues of property division in Australia. Justice Family Lawyers provide experienced professionals to help navigate complex property settlement arrangements and arrangements that are specific to any individual situation.

46 thoughts on “Can My Girlfriend Take Half My House in Australia? – What You Need to Know About Property Settlement Rights”

  1. Can one party make post asset purchase claims?
    Is it legal??
    My partner has gone to court with his ex girlfriend to sell their house but this story doesn’t seem yo end. It’s been nearly a year and he’s now got an offer to settle for post sale at 5% of the value of the house and land, plus pay their legal fees. He’s not going to accept but why isn’t the magistrate making a decision? Can someone please help me to understand why isn’t the magistrate deciding?
    I thought this is the whole point of going to court.
    What’s the general timeframe? Thank you

    1. Hi Silvia, generally what happens when you go to court is that there are a number of court events before the judge makes a decision as to the final split. It normally takes about 1 year for a matter to be ready for a final decision.

  2. Hi Hayder,

    What about in this scenario, how might this be different to the above?

    – You bought a house single worth $500k and have been living in it for 3.5 years. You have paid $100k towards the initial purchase of the house and $20k towards the mortgage repayments.
    – Your partner moves into the house and lives there for the 3/4 years.
    – During that time, you paid an additional $20k in mortgage repayments. Your partner paid NO contribution towards mortgage repayments.
    – The value of the house has gone up to $100k since partner moved in.
    – Partner pays for groceries and makes contribution to some household purchases.
    – Chores are split relatively 50/50
    – There are no kids

    If my partner has made no significant contributions i.e. no mortgage repayments towards the house. Would he/she have anything to try claim?

    Thank you

    1. Basically – no. In this scenario the partner will not receive anything. It is certainly the situation where the partner has received the benefit of living in a house (not paying rent or mortgage). The partner could technically try and get something, but i would be strongly arguing that they would be receiving nothing.

      1. Thank you – would this situation change if we were to get married in the future? Or is it still largely based off contributions and benefit of not paying rent?

  3. Hi Hayder,

    What if this is the scenario:
    – You are in a 1 year defacto relationship
    – You bought a house worth $600k and did a down payment of $100k on your own
    – You bought most of the furnitures
    – Your partner tries to give some but not half of the mortgage
    – Your partner gives $35k for the house
    – Your partner tries to contribute with groceries but minimal
    – House chores is relatively 50/50
    – You have no kids

    Will your partner claim half of the property in the near future?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Rebecca, if you were to separate now, the funds will be split in the proportion they were contributed. If you relationship continues and you have kids and you are together for over 7 years, it is likely that the contributions could start blurring and you will therefore be in a position where half the house could be paid out to either one of you.

  4. My partner of 16 years has left me.
    For the first 14.5 years she did not work and therefore paid nothing towards bills or mortgage.
    She has now been working for 18 months and has been paying for food and other minor bills. I have continued to pay the mortgage, the rates, house insurance and electricity. She has not contributed anything to the property financially.
    We have two children, one (14) which is our child together, the other (17) is her child, both children are with me and will remain with me.
    I am retired and on the penson, she earns circa $90k.
    I have paid for most of the house with money from properties I owned previous to our relationship.
    I paid her the following:
    Cash $15,000
    Car $16,000
    Australian Citizenship $10,000
    Land in Thailand value circa $20,000, which is in her name.
    Multiple trips to Thailand circa $20,000

    She also has $20,000 in super.
    Can she come after part of my property and can I go after her for some of her super, I have no super, (long story).

  5. Hi,

    I bought a house in 2008 with my mother, both of us were on the title.
    My mom moved out and I became the sole home owner.

    Met my girlfriend 2019, she moved in with me 2021. I refinanced the house October 2022 and put her on the home loan.

    We share an offset account that both our pay goes into.

    All bills and mortgage repayments ($600 a week) come out of our Joint Offset account.

    Is she entitled to anything?

  6. Hi Hayder, I’m seeing some assuring examples here.
    My situation is a failed 12 year de facto relationship where I bought and paid for property just before the commencement of the relationship and paid 100% of the mortgage.
    The property is in my name.
    The ex partner contributed around 50% of bills and living expenses and no more than 10k worth of unremovable improvements.
    She was able to work part time the whole 12 years and amass savings of around 100k.
    I have just over 200k in super.
    What sort of payout would she be entitled to?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Paul, if you were both working through the relationship, and you were both contribution to the mortgage of the property, then it would be a contributions based argument, meaning you would calculate the percentage of how much you both contributed towards the property and divide it accordingly.

      If it was the case that you paid 100% of the house and mortgage, then she would need to show that she made contributions to the property and that there were an intermingling of funds in order to get a portion of the property.

      1. Hi Hayder
        I just got divorced recently. I have a house on my own and I just meet my new girlfriend . I paid huge deposit on the house and also have a saving on my offset account. She doesn’t own a house or anything . Can my girlfriend be in title of anything to the house if we get engaged or married in the future and how can I protect myself to make sure whatever assets I have prior of meeting her is mine and cannot be touched by her?
        Regards Simon

          1. Hi Hayder
            I am in same situation as Simon,
            I just want to add on, if my current girlfriend and I decide to have kids in the future does binding financing agreement protects me if we split up in the future?
            Also would a family trust be more protective then ( BFA) which means if my current relationship doesn’t work out there is no need for (BFA) in the future.

          2. Hi

            You are best off getting a BFA as opposed to relying on containing assets within a family trust. A BFA will protect you if you have kids in the future.

          3. Hi Hayden
            How much it cost and how long it takes to finalise ( BFA) please??
            I’ve been with my girlfriend for 6 months now, things are getting serious and I definitely want to protect my assets.

          4. Hi Daniel, Please get in touch with our office directly to receive our costs estimate for drafting and finalising your BFA.

  7. Hi Hayder, I had a partner of 4 years we built together in 2015 lived in the house together for 2 years or maybe just under they moved out of there own choice contributed to the mortgage only for 3 months post break up and hasn’t contributed for the last 4 years at all, we had started the processes of transferring the property in my name solely she has changed her mind and instead of signing off the house in my name now that there might be profit after i have payed enough off and the markets has gone up she wants a payment I am considering selling and settling in court would I be entitled to her half of the payment for the mortgage in the last 4 years and also including the council rates and improvements to the house such as solar which also would add value to the house or not?

    We have no children together, although I do now have 3 kids with my now wife

    Thank you

    1. Hi Timothy, her claim sounds very weak. It will be about what she actually contirbuted to the property given that it was a short relationship. It will be down to contributions and it appears your contributions vastly vastly outweigh hers.

  8. Hi Paul , I have a friend who has received a letter from his x girlfriends Lawyer stating half of his property is to be given to the x. The x lived on the property for 7 years with my friend , my friend paid $45,000 to pay out her mortgage on a property she owned, during their relationship they bought a parcel of land jointly through his bank which he has been paying the mortgage . She left in 2018 to move in with another local
    in our area. Can you please advise on this situation

  9. Hi,
    Im building a house.
    My partner has a property that i wont contribute towards.
    We have agreed on 60/40 mortgage repayments going forward.
    We have discussed my contribution of $220k plus being deducted from the equity if we split. Then the the division 60/40 of remaining equity.
    Your post at the top reads similar to this i believe.
    Am i correct with that? And that i can’t touch her property?
    My question is though.
    So we split and she gets in theory “her rent money back plus any capital growth”. Is that correct?
    In essence people who split get all there money back that put the roof over there head??
    We are setting our prenups up currently.
    Im just trying to understand why a person doesn’t lose some part of that percentage as they would have lost that if we were renting🤷🏻‍♂️
    Help in understanding would be great.

  10. Hi there
    I’ve just recently let my ex stay with me until her house is built she’s been living rent free with me for 5 months we have a 12yr old son together. I’ve set up a joint account with her for us to pay 50/50 in shopping and bills
    What are her rights if she decides she wants to put in a property claim

  11. My husband put his salary towards a house he bought in his mother and father’s name,seven years ago. My in laws have got their own house as well.

    I want him to buy a house in both of our names & then we contribute towards the payments for that house. he does not want to do that.

    I am not sure why he is doing like this?

    Is he worried that in case of divorce, that property can not be touched.

    1. Hi, it is hard to ascerrtain his intentions, but he may think that this will ensure that the property will be kept out of the asset pool and will not be split between the parties. The reality is, this is not the case, and it will be able to be placed into the asset pool if he has been making financial contirbtutions towards that property.

      1. I am building a house with my partner and we have separated but still haven’t moved into it yet.. is he entitled to half of the house if he has only put in $30,000? I have paid the rates and other fee’s

        1. Hi, the property entitlements for you and your ex-partner would depend on various factors including the length of the relationship and the financial and non-financial contributions you have both made. For comprehensive advice regarding your circumstances, please contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.

  12. Hi Hayden
    Unfortunately I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have been separated from my partner who we have two children with for seven years now I have substantial amount of cash and I wondering if I buy a house in her name paid for out right and later on she meet somebody they move in. Do they have any rights to half the house if they separate later on as it is my kids inheritance for later on in life, basically I am doing this so that I know my children will grow up to their adult lives having a safe roof over their head,
    I would hate for all my hard work to be lost just like that

    1. Hi Michael, essentially, it is possible that the new partner could take a portion of that property. The best thing would be to ensure that the funds are placed in a trust for the benefit of the children.

  13. Hi Hayder
    I’ve been seperated for 2 years and currently applying for a divorce. I now have a new girlfriend who has moved in with me. My ex has mentioned she only wants half of the house , we have no children. Is it 50/50 . Since our seperation I have paid for all payments and rates.
    What should I do ?

  14. I own my own house in NSW and have other assets. My girlfriend stays over several times a week but does not contribute to anything including bills, she does not own anything in her own name.
    As she stays over, would she be able to claim anything against me if we split up? or if she did move in permanently in the future, could she claim anything of mine then?

    1. Hi. Right now with your current living arrangements, unless you have a child together, it sounds like you are not in a de facto relationship. That means she cannot make a claim. In the future, if you start living together, or do something else that puts you in a de facto relationship, she could potentially have a claim.

  15. Hi there.
    From Melbourne.
    Just wanted to ask a couple questions.
    I have been living in my newly built home for 9 months now. It was purchased at $450k I had put a deposit of $150k down and have paid for all my furniture upon moving in.
    My partner of almost 4 years has now just moved in.
    Our plan is for him to pay half of the mortgage as rent. I will be paying the other half along with rates/insurance etc.
    He will also contribute to bills/groceries.
    1. Will he be entitled to anything if we were to split?
    2. Even though he wont have direct access to the mortgage account, will i need to declare any money i get from him towards repayments? (Rent)? Even though its not considered a profit ?
    Ive been hearing mixed messages about this and its incredibly confusing!
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    1. If you are moving in with a partner and they are making payments towards anything, it could be considered a financial contribution meaning that they could make a claim to the property in the event of separation.

  16. Hi Hayder,

    2018 Moved in with my partner in a rental
    2019 I bought a house, only me on the title. I payed deposit and all fees.
    2020-2023 We both lived in the house, she paid me approx 1/3 of total mortage payments as we combined her business rent and split the total amount in half.
    There was also some contributions made from her brother renting a studio on the property.
    My contribution: 5/10
    Her contribution: 3/10
    Rent in come: 2/10

    I have done a lot of work/renovation on the house, including all maintence on the property.
    No kids.

    What is your estimation of the split?


    1. Hi, you will need to quanitfy your non financial contributions to get the maximum value out of the split. It also depends on how much you paid for the deposit and fees. If you paid the deposit and all the fees + 2/3 of all mortgage repayments + non financial contributions, it looks like a strong argument for over 70%.

  17. Hi Hayden
    I am divorced and now in relationship with my new girlfriend.
    I have a house on my own and pay all the Mortage and such myself.
    Looking to buy an investment property on my name only.
    Does my current girlfriend can take anything from me if we seperate.
    She’s not contributing to anything towards the mortgages.
    We do live together and she’s asking to have a joint account and such.

    1. Hi, the answer to this is, the longer you stay together and intermingle your finances, the more likely it is she can make a claim on the house and any other property you have. If you want protection of your assets, you will need to prepare and sign a BFA. If you want a more detailed consultation about this please get in touch with our office.

  18. Hi Hayden

    I have one child with a guy that although we have a good co parenting relationship and friendship we have never been in a relationship I have recently asked him if he would rent a room in his house to me and our daughter, I don’t know the law very well at all surrounding property as I have always rented but he has raised concerns about apparently if I were to live there long enough especially with our daughter I could lay claim to half his house. I don’t intend to do this but understand his concerns if this is true, as he holds all the risk in this arrangement

    My question is if he’s correct in that? Could I lay claim? And if so are there any kinda documentation I could sign agreeing I won’t lay claim, that can’t be disputed in court easily later just to give him peace of mind

    1. Living in a property with your ex-partner, even if you are not in a romantic relationship, could potentially be seen as a de facto relationship under Australian law. It is important to consult with an experienced family lawyer to receive detailed advice on your best options moving forward.

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