De facto relationships

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Have you recently separated from your partner and you are not married?

Perhaps you have joined some of your assets and you are not sure how to divide them?   Maybe you do not have joint assets, but you have been living together for some time and have contributed to joint expenses.  Or, perhaps there are children to the relationship.

You may have been in a de facto relationship which may give you rights in relation to a property settlement or spousal maintenance.

Am I in a de facto relationship?

A de facto relationship is where two people who are not married and are not related to each other, are in a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.

There are a number of factors which indicate that a de facto relationship may have existed. These factors are not exhaustive (meaning any other relevant factor can apply) and no all factors have to apply in order for there to be a de facto relationship:

  1. The duration of the relationship;
  2. The extent of common residence;
  3. Any children together;
  4. The existence of any sexual relationship;
  5. The public aspects of the relationships; and
  6. If there has been intermingling of finances between the parties, such as owning property together, having a joint bank account, paying “rent” to the other, or sharing of household expenses.

What does it mean if I was in a de facto relationship?

If you were in a de facto relationship, you or your former partner may be entitled to a division of property of the parties’ assets and/or the payment of spousal maintenance.

There mere existence of a de facto relationship on its own is not enough to have the right to seek a property settlement or spousal maintenance as the relationship must include either:

  1. A duration of at least two (2) years; or
  2. There is a child of the relationship; or
  3. One party made a substantial financial or non-financial contributions that the failure to make an order for property division or spousal maintenance will result in serious injustice.

Further information about property settlements can be found here and information about spousal maintenance can be found here.

How we can help

Navigating a separation and reaching out to obtain advice about your family law matter can be daunting.  Receiving the right advice is therefore critical. Coulter Legal can assist you to understand your options, your entitlements, and the best course of action based on your individual circumstances.

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