Formalising defacto arrangements
The law regarding how defacto couples separate their property and formalise such arrangements has not always been "smooth sailing". The law changed in late 2008 and since that time ex-defacto couples who separated after 1 March 2009 have had their property settlements dealt with under the Family Law Act, in virtually the same manner as married couples. Ex-defacto couples who separated prior to 1 March 2009, unless they both consent, have their property settlements still governed by state legislation.
For a party to bring a claim for financial settlement under the Family Law Act upon the breakdown of a de facto relationship, a number of requirements must first be satisfied including the following:
- A defacto relationship must have existed.
- At least one of the parties must be an Australian citizen or a resident in Australia on the date the proceedings are commenced.
- The period, or total periods of the defacto relationship is at least 2 years, subject to some exceptions or qualifications.
- One or both of the parties is ordinarily resident in a state which has conferred its power in regards to defacto property settlements to the Commonwealth. There are also associated requirements in terms of the amount of time which the parties have lived in a particular state and where they made contributions with respect to the property.
- There is a 2 year limitation period following separation in which parties must have formalised their property settlement or have commenced court proceedings for property settlement. If they do not then they may not be able to obtain a property settlement. In certain circumstances a court may grant leave out of time for parties to commence property settlement proceedings notwithstanding the 2 year limit has not been complied with.
We can help
You should not undertake a property settlement without first receiving the advice of a family lawyer. This is especially the case with respect to defacto property settlements. Springwood Lawyers is well able to assist you in this regard.