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In March 2009 the operation of the Family Law Amendment Act (2008) commenced. This changed the way in which property division for people in de facto relationships including same sex relationships was dealt with by the Court. Prior to the amendment the property division was dealt with in the State Court system but following amendment the matters started to be dealt with in the Federal system by the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The position of de facto’s is now similar (but not exactly the same) as the situation for people who are married.
The Family Law Act states that a de facto relationship as a person is in a de facto relationship with another person if:-
The Court takes into account the following factors when determining (in circumstances where there is a dispute about the existence of the relationship) the following factors:-
Even if some of these apply there is no guarantee that the relationship will be considered a “de facto relationship”. These are indictors which the Family Court considers. This can be considered when discussing factual matters.
It is not usual for there to be a dispute about whether or not there is a de facto relationship or a dispute as to the length of the de facto relationship. Subject to exceptions, the relationship must have been in existence for at least two years. Exceptions are where one party has made significant financial contributions to the acquisition, maintenance and improvement of assets, there is a child of the de facto
Time limitations apply to the commencement of proceedings by a de facto spouse for property division. The property division application must be made within a period of two years after the end of the de facto relationship. This period of time is known as the standard application period.
The Court may grant leave to a party to apply after the end of the standard application period if it is satisfied that:-
If you have recently separated from your de facto partner and would like to know your rights, please do not hesitate to telephone Dennis Grant our experienced de facto relationships lawyer at Watson & Watson today on (02) 9221 6011.
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