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De Facto & Same Sex Relationships FAQs

What does ‘de facto relationship’ mean?

If you and your partner have a relationship and are living together on a genuine domestic basis, it is more than likely that you are in a de facto relationship.

Usually a de facto relationship commences when a couple in a relationship start living together, however this is not always the case. A couple can be considered to be in a de facto relationship if they have two residences.

If there is a dispute about whether a de facto relationship existed and the Court is asked to decide this point, the Court will consider various factors to determine the existence or otherwise of a relationship, including:

  • If there is a common residence;
  • If a sexual relationship exists;
  • If there are joint finances;
  • If one party is financially supporting the other; and
  • if the couple present themselves publicly as a de facto couple.

We can assist with de facto relationship issues and answer any questions regarding de facto relationships. Please call our office on (07) 5532 3199 to arrange an initial conference.

How are Bank Accounts, Property and Assets Divided in De Facto Relationships?

De facto couples who separated before 1 March 2009 have the right to apply to the Family Court for a property settlement if both parties agree.

De facto couples who separated after 1 March 2009 have the right to apply to the Family Court for a property settlement, without the other party’s consent, provided that the application is made within the required time limits (please refer to our section on time limits).

The Court will only make Orders for a property settlement if:

  • The de facto relationship has lasted 2 years or more; or
  • There is a child of the de facto relationship; or
  • One party made a significant contribution during the relationship and there would be injustice if the Court did not make an Order for property settlement; or
  • The de facto relationship is or was registered under a law of a State or Territory.

We can assist with de facto relationship issues and answer any questions regarding de facto relationships. Please call our office on (07) 5532 3199 to arrange an initial conference.

Same Sex Relationships & Separations

The Family Law Act 1975 (CTH) recognises that de facto partners can be same sex or heterosexual.

We can assist with Same Sex Relationship issues and answer any questions regarding Same Sex Relationships. Please call our office on (07) 5532 3199 to arrange an initial conference.

How are Bank Accounts, Property and Assets Divided in Same Sex Relationship?

In 2009 amendments were made to the Family Law Act 1975 (CTH) which gave same sex couples access to the family court system.

There are two ways assets (i.e. bank accounts and real property) and liabilities (i.e. mortgages and car loans) can be divided. First, you and your ex-partner could reach a mutual agreement. Alternatively, if an agreement cannot be reached, the assets and liabilities of the relationship can be divided by a determination of the Court.

Importantly, a division of the assets and liabilities is not simply a matter of an equal split. As a starting point, the asset and liability position of each party at the start of the relationship should be identified. It is then important to consider all of the financial and non-financial contributions which were made during the course of the relationship in order to determine an equitable division. Non-financial contributions include:

  • Being the primary care-giver for any children of the relationship; and/or
  • Being the primary house-keeper during the relationship.

Non-financial contributions can carry just as much weight as a financial contribution. They should therefore be taken into consideration when determining the manner in which the asset pool is divided.

If possible, attempt to reach an amicable solution with your ex-partner. If an amicable solution is reached, we recommend you have your agreement reviewed by a solicitor to ensure all financial and non-financial contributions have been considered and that the agreement is fair and reasonable for both parties. The solicitor will also be able to prepare a document known as a Financial Agreement which formalises the agreement reached so that any breaches can be enforced in a Court of law if need be.

We can assist with Same Sex Relationship issues and answer any questions regarding Same Sex Relationships. Please call our office on (07) 5532 3199 to arrange an initial conference.

 

If you're looking for an experienced Gold Coast family lawyer or divorce lawyer you can relate to, contact ABKJ.

Family Law FAQs