Formalising defacto property settlements
The law regarding how defacto couples separate their property and formalise such arrangements has not always been “smooth sailing”. Now however, the vast majority of former de facto couples are able to have their property settlements dealt with under the Family Law Act, in virtually the same manner as married couples.
For a person to bring a claim for property settlement under the Family Law Act upon the breakdown of their de facto relationship, a number of requirements must first be satisfied including the following:
- A de facto relationship must have existed.
- At least one of the parties must be an Australian citizen or a resident in Australia, or domiciled in Australia on the date the proceedings are commenced.
- The period, or total period of the de facto relationship must be at least 2 years, subject to some exceptions and qualifications.
- One or both of the parties is ordinarily resident in a state which has conferred its power in regards to de facto 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.
Same as for married couples
As long as you are eligible to make a de facto property settlement claim, in almost all other respect, the rules are the same as for married couples.
Same sex couples
The law for same sex defacto couples is the same as for all de facto couples and if the same sex couple have married then the law for them is the same as for any other married couple.
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 de facto property settlements. Springwood Lawyers is well able to assist you in this regard.