Section 39B Family Law Act discusses de facto financial causes. Also, a de facto financial cause includes proceedings for the distribution of property or financial resources. De facto relationships are marriage-like relationships between two people. A de facto financial cause includes proceedings for:
- Distribution of property
- Financial resources
- Provision of maintenance between de facto partners
- Involved parties
- Binding financial agreements
- Related bankruptcy matters.
Section 39B of the Family Law Act also allows de facto financial causes to be instituted under certain courts. These courts are the:
- Family Court of Australia;
- Federal Magistrate Court of Australia;
- Supreme Court of the Northern Territory; and
- Courts of summary jurisdiction in a participating jurisdiction.
This article will further discuss Section 39B of the Family Law Act.
Section 39B Family Law Act: Defining A De Facto Relationship
De facto partners have had the same rights and duties as married couples under Australian law since March 1, 2009. The Family Law Act 1975 has provided the Family Court to deal with property and maintenance issues once a de facto partnership ends. Here are the qualifications of a de facto relationship:
- Firstly, parties must have a geographical link to one of the states or territories which referred their powers to the Commonwealth.
- Secondly, the relationship must be a genuine de facto relationship and not merely a dependent domestic relationship.
- Thirdly, the relationship broke down after March 1, 2009
Here are the indicators that confirms a genuine de facto relationship:
- Duration of the relationship
- Nature and extent of their common residence
- Existence of a sexual relationship
- Financial dependence or interdependence
- Ownership, use, and acquisition of property
- Degree of mutual commitment to a shared lifestyle
- Whether the relationship is or was registered in a state or territory that has a relationship register
- Care and support of children
- Reputation and public aspects of the relationship
Ultimately, at least one of the following must apply:
- The partnership has lasted at least 2 years (in all or in part);
- The partnership has created a child;
- A serious injustice would follow if an order were not made or;
- The relationship is documented. While documentation is important, it is not sufficient to assess if a de facto relationship exists.
Financial Contributions And Properties
As time passes, each person’s initial financial contributions receive less emphasis. For example, who brought what property into the relationship. Fair property divisions also include non-monetary contributions such as being a parent and being a homemaker.
Additionally, it is possible to split superannuation and order spousal maintenance. A de facto couple needs a consent order or a binding financial agreement for property divisions. They can do this by filing an application to family courts.
Importance Of Seeking Legal Advice
When de facto partners contemplate separating, they should seek legal advice. De facto couples can have disputes much like married couples and this may escalate when not approached properly. JB Solicitors advice de facto couples to seek mediation services to avoid higher legal fees.
Our mediation services can help de facto couples peacefully finalise their financial and property settlements. Furthermore, our family lawyers will guide you in the mediation process and provide jargon-free advice tailored to your legal needs.
Send a message to JB Solicitors today