The end of any relationship can be a difficult and emotional experience. However, many couples are not aware of the legal obligations, implications, and defacto relationship entitlements resulting from separation when it comes to de facto relationships.
The purpose of this article is to provide a guide on what these defacto relationship entitlements are and how they may affect you.
What Is A De facto Relationship?
According to the Family Law Act 1975, a de facto relationship is defined as a couple living together in a genuine domestic situation who are not married or related. This definition also includes same-sex couples. This definition is quite broad, so If matters involving de facto relationships were to proceed to court – whether a de facto relationship that brings about defacto relationship entitlements exists in the eyes of the law will need to be examined individually.
In making its determination, the court will consider factors such as:
- whether the relationship is sexual
- The extent to which the couple combines their finances
- The length of the relationship, including any separation periods of separation
Typically, a relationship must be of at least two years for a relationship to be considered a de facto and for de facto relationship entitlements to arise. However, there can be exceptions to this rule. This exception usually applies when there are children of the relationship or significant contributions, either financial or non-financial, made to the property that the de facto couple resides.
If you share a child with your former partner, there is no minimum time you must have lived together before the relationship can be recognised legally.
Simply having a child together is sufficient in establishing that you have lived together on a genuine domestic basis.
Children of de facto parents are protected under the Family Law Act. This means the court will consider both parties to be responsible for all parental duties of their children, regardless of any new partnerships or other separation matters.
Division of Property
Claims about property are typically more limited and usually necessitate either living together on a genuine domestic basis for two years or having a child together.
However, the court may consider some other issues in determining your de facto relationship entitlements regarding the division of property.
These other considerations include:
- Whether the relationship is registered
- If a significant injustice will result if one of you is at a substantial financial disadvantage (mainly when one of you stopped working to look after the home and children)
- Suppose one of you made a significant contribution to the relationship’s finances or assets. This includes payments on the home, contributing to the bills, any renovations or work you may have put into the house to increase the value of the property etc.
Registered De facto relationships
You are not obliged to register a de facto relationship. However, the rise of de facto relationship entitlements resulting from doing so is an important reason to consider registration. Once you are in a registered relationship, de facto relationships have similar rights to married couples under the law. The significant difference being having to prove the relationship in a de facto is more challenging because of the lack of legal documents compared to the case of marriage.
De Facto Relationship Property Rights
- Homes & Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Investments such as shares
- Business assets
- Personal property
You may have de facto relationship entitlements to your partner’s property. These rights may arise under the Family Law Act 1975 when:
- The de facto relation is registered
- You have lived together on a genuine domestic basis for a minimum of two years before separating
- You share children together
- You have reached a property settlement agreed and have now asked the Family Court to make consent orders based on that agreement.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is vital to note upon the breakdown of a de facto relationship that depending on your situation, legal obligations, implications, and defacto relationship entitlements will rise as a result of separation. This is why it is important to seek out a family lawyer in such a situation to discuss your particular circumstances.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
If you have any more questions about defacto relationship entitlements or any other family law matters, please check out our blog section for some more informative articles on a wide range of family law topics!
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