De Facto Relationships and Property Settlement

The property of the couples who were married, in civil union or in de facto relationships (same-sex couples included) who have completed living together for a minimum period of 3 years gets divided in case of a dispute in accordance with ‘equal sharing rules’ under the Property Relationships Act.

The Property Relationships Act comprises a single range of laws that is applicable to married, civil union and de facto couples in the same way with certain exceptions. In cases where no dispute exists and a couple would like to separate, then you can go into a separation agreement.

If the couple went into a lawful Property Agreement, the de facto relationship property will be shared out according to that agreement terms and not according to Property Relationships Act, if the agreement was made in accordance with stringent requirements.

A de facto relationship is defined in the Family Law Act 1975. It denotes a relationship between two partners who may be of the opposite or same sex who live together as a couple on a real domestic basis, but are not married to each other, and are both 18 or more years of age.

To decide if two partners are living together as a couple, the court takes many relevant circumstances into consideration. A de facto relationship will end if the two partners stop living together as a couple. You need to obtain legal advice to find if you are entitled to property settlement in the Family Court and for that don’t hesitate to contact Property Settlement Lawyers Perth through email or phone.

A marriage, civil union or de facto relationship will be considered for application to equal-sharing rules, only if the partners have lived together for at least 3 years. If a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship has a duration of less than three years, it is called a ‘relationship of short duration’, and generally is not encompassed by the equal-sharing rules.

In the Property Relationship Act, property is classified under two headings ‘relationship property’ and separate property’. Equal division will be made for relationship property, unless extraordinary circumstances make equal sharing ‘repugnant to justice’. In such cases, the relationship property will be divided in accordance with each party’s contribution made to the relationship.

Separate property will remain separate. Usually, separate property – that is, all property that is not named as relationship property) – will remain the property of its actual owner and it will not be divided. It comprises: (1) property owned by the parties prior to the beginning of the de facto relationship and kept separate during the relationship (2) any inheritances and gifts the parties obtained during the relationship and were kept separate.

If you had de facto relationship with your partner, you will get two years from the separation date to apply to the Family Court about property settlement. For de facto relationships, superannuation is not embraced as property, but it is considered when the future requirements of the parties are looked at by the court.

For more information please get in touch with Property Settlement Lawyers Perth WA. We are here to help you!

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