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Did You Say …Defacto Relationships?

What is a de-facto relationship? 

You might think you know but the Court may think something else!  This can be a really complicated issue and some people pretend it didn’t happen.  This may be happening to you.  If you believe you are in a relationship with someone that is more significant than just ‘dating’, you may be in a de-facto relationship.

Basically if you live with another person as a couple (‘on a genuine domestic basis’) for 2 years, you are in a defacto relationship. There are many variations to this that come before the Courts. If you have a child together or buy property (‘substantial contributions’), there is a defacto relationship.  Other considerations include the length of the relationship, whether there was a sexual relationship, whether there was a financial relationship, whether you appeared together in public as a couple, whether you shared your life, whether you cared for children together.  It does not matter if one party was married to someone else, in a defacto relationship with someone else or whether both parties are of the same gender.  A party can’t deny the existence of the relationship if it is established by the Court.  If there is a relationship, there can possibly be a property settlement.

When a de-facto couple separates, one of the parties must apply for a property settlement within 2 years from the date of separation.  You should record the date of separation somewhere or refer it to a specific event as you might need to prove it later.  If neither party applies, the Court can refuse to hear your application.  The Court has refused many such applications.  In a recent case before the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, an out of time application was refused even though the party claimed she would suffer financial hardship.  The Court found that the applicant had no excuse for the delay in proceedings and dismissed the application.

If you end a de-facto relationship, you should get legal advice from a specialist family lawyer as soon as you can.

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Michelle Porcheron Lawyers is a Gold Coast Law Firm which believes that clients’ success determines our own. So we ensure both by collaborating with our clients to achieve their goals.

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