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In a relationship breakup can you get more than 50 percent?

By Fiona McGeorge - 14 Mar 2019

Recently I had a new client who in our initial meeting said "my friends have told me I can get more than 50% of the assets". How many people going through a separation have heard the same thing from friends or family who have either gone through it themselves, or heard about "someone" who got more than 50%?

In my client's case she was not entitled to claim more than 50% because of the facts of her case, but in some cases it will be appropriate to make a claim for more than 50%. It's important to note this is not a blanket rule nor one that can be claimed by anyone or everyone, it must have a legal basis.

The ability to claim more than 50% of relationship property is most often based on a claim for economic disparity under section 15 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976. In order to be able to make this claim you must first satisfy the following criteria:

  1. After relationship property has been divided, will your income and living standard be significantly lower than your former partner's?
  2. Is the reason your income and living standards are significantly lower than your partner's because of choices/decisions you and your former partner made during the relationship while living together? For example, during the relationship did you take time out of the work force to raise children or in order to support your former partner's career or business?

If the answer to the first question is no, then you do not have the grounds on which to claim more than 50% based on economic disparity.

If the answer to the first question is yes then you must also satisfy the second criteria.  If the only reason your former partner's income and living standards are higher than yours are because they are in a higher paid job and this has not come about due to you helping them achieve that position then you will not have a claim for economic disparity.

If you or someone you know is separating and there might be grounds to make a claim for economic disparity then contact me on or on 09 300 7638 or another member of our family law team.


Fiona McGeorge


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