What Happens to Assets Acquired After a Divorce or Separation

What Happens to Assets Acquired After a Divorce or Separation

One of the most complicated things about getting separated is having to divide the property between spouses. A lot of people think that assets that they acquire after they separate from their spouse is no longer considered joint-property and is not included in the pool when either of the party seeks for a formal asset distribution agreement. But as previous cases have shown, it’s not as simple as it sounds.

In this post, Bickell & Mackenzie, trusted family lawyers in Redland Bay, clarifies the misconception mentioned above:

The Calvin v McTier Case

This case plays a big role in showing how important it is to have a binding agreement on finances and properties as soon as you can after the separation.

Mr. Calvin and Ms. McTier were married for eight years before they separated. They separated in 2010 and got divorced the following year. They also had a parenting agreement for their son sharing parenting responsibilities equally. Mr. Calvin brought the majority of their wealth to their relationship, but they both contributed once they got married.

Mr. Calvin got an inheritance from his father in 2014. The problem was they did not have a formal settlement of assets. The following year, Ms. McTier filed a property claim against Mr. Calvin, and because there was no legal agreement, the trial judge awarded Ms. McTier 35% of the entire asset pool, including what was left of the former husband’s inheritance.

The Appeal

As you can expect, Mr. Calvin appealed the court decision, as he claimed the inheritance should not have been included in the asset pool, given that it was received years after the separation. If you look at it, there’s no way the wife has a claim on that property. However, the Full Court rejected the appeal and stated that there’s no need for any connection to every asset included in the pool and that the court has full discretion as to which property or assets should be in the pool. Regardless of when the assets were acquired, they can still be subject to orders.

What You Can Learn from Calvin v McTier

The lesson must be clear now – it is imperative that you seek a binding financial agreement as well as a property order as soon as you get separated. This will help protect both parties’ independent gains in the future, including your inheritances.

When the property order is made, all the assets of both parties at the time of the trial need to be disclosed. The court will then decide which assets should be included in the asset pool that will be divided between the two.

By having this settled as soon as possible, you can avoid messy situations like what happened in Calvin v McTier. You won’t have to worry about losing assets that you have acquired after your separation from your spouse and know that what you work hard for is safe.


Cases like separation and divorce are always complicated, and issues about the division of assets can make it worse. If there are things that are not clear with you, like what will happen to your properties and other assets that you have both when you were married and after, it’s better to consult them with experts in family law who can provide you with accurate answers. You should never rely on what friends or family tell you unless they’re lawyers! You don’t want to end up losing a considerable chunk of your inheritance and other assets because you weren’t able to come up with a formal asset distribution agreement.

If you are looking for the best divorce lawyers in Redland Bay who can provide you with reliable legal assistance during the most challenging times in your life, Bickell & Mackenzie is here for you. We specialise in Family Law, Wills and Estates Administration, and Conveyancing. Contact us today to find out how we can help you!

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