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Marriage or relationship breakdown

Last updated 9 September 2010

Read this chapter if your marriage or relationship ended on or after 20 September 1985 and:

  • you transfer an asset or a share of an asset to your spouse
  • you receive an asset or a share of an asset from your spouse, or
  • a company or trustee of a trust transfers an asset to you or your spouse.

New terms

We may use some terms that are new to you. These words are explained in Definitions. Generally, they are also explained in detail in the section where they first appear.

When we talk about 'your spouse', this includes your former spouse. 'Transfer' of an asset means transferring ownership of an asset to the transferee spouse and includes 'creating' an asset in their favour (such as a right to use property). Where we talk about 'an asset', this includes a share of, or an interest in, a jointly owned asset.

The term 'transferee spouse' refers to the spouse to whom an asset is transferred, while the 'transferor' is the person (or a company or the trustee of a trust) who transfers an asset to the transferee spouse.

End of attention


As a general rule, CGT applies to all changes of ownership of assets on or after 20 September 1985. However, if you transfer an asset to your spouse as a result of the breakdown of your marriage or relationship, there is an automatic rollover in certain cases. You cannot choose whether or not it applies.

This rollover ensures the transferor spouse disregards a capital gain or capital loss that would otherwise arise. In effect, the one who receives the asset (the transferee spouse) will make the capital gain or capital loss when they subsequently dispose of the asset. If you are the transferee spouse, the cost base of the asset is transferred to you.