Recent case: Farming partnership, long marriages and how to divide up the pie

A recent case from the Family Court decided in Brisbane looks at a a long marriage where the parties had a 36 year marriage and there were issues relating to a partnership that the husband and an adult child were involved in.

Talbott and Talbott

The husband and wife were married in 1973 and separated in 2009.

They had worked hard through their married life on various ventures including a farming business that they conducted on a number of properties that had been bought during the marriage.

A number of those properties were purchased through a partnership between the husband and an adult child of the parties.  When the matter went to trial, the parties owned  assets in their own names and through the partnership of the husband and their son worth approximately at $1,500,000 including superannuation.

The issue of the partnership between the husband and the son ultimately did not end up being a major issue in terms of contributions to the acquisition of property or contributions during the marriage.  Although there is no starting point of equality in contributions, it appears that the parties had both worked hard during the marriage in their respective roles.

Justice Hogan found that the wife had made substantial direct and indirect contributions including:

  • undertaking administrative work for the partnership;
  • cooking and cleaning for the partnership’s workers; and
  • contributing her time and manual labour.

The husband received his interest in the partnership and the son’s interest was quarantined for the purposes working out the property pool to be divided between the parties.

The issue of contributions, particularly when there are third parties involved, can make a huge difference in how a property pool might be divided.  It’s best to obtain some advice about how these contributions might affect your situation.

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