When considering the legal aspects of a de facto relationship, it is always advisable to seek the advice of a specialised Family Lawyer. The team at Rattigan & Associates are experienced De Facto Lawyers who can guide you through the whole legal process.
Couples who have ended a de facto relationship are, in certain circumstances, entitled to be treated exactly the same as a married couple when it comes to property and financial matters.
WA legislation grants maintenance rights on the breakdown of a de facto relationship.
What is considered a De Facto or Same Sex Relationship?
The Family Court Act defines a de facto relationship as a relationship between two people living together on a genuine domestic basis. To determine whether a relationship is truly de facto, a Court will look at a number of facts. These include:
- The duration of the relationship;
- Whether a sexual relationship exists;
- The existence of a common residence;
- The care and support of children;
- The reputation and public recognition of the relationship;
- Financial dependence;
- The ownership and use of property;
- The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life.
In addition to this, the Family Court Act provides that a Court may only make property or maintenance orders in relation to a de facto couple in the following circumstances:
- There has been a de facto relationship for at least two years; or
- There is a child of the de facto relationship; or
- A party has made substantial contributions and failure to make an order for property adjustment would result in serious injustice.
This criteria applies to couples in both opposite sex relationships and same sex relationships.
The Family Court determines issues relating to the children and property of a de facto relationship.
De facto Relationships, Property Settlement & Separation Entitlements
Any property and financial resources fall within the definition of property under the Act. The law now provides that any person who is leaving a de-facto relationship can pursue a De facto Relationship Property Settlement in the same way that a married couple can. This is the law regardless of when the property was acquired or by whom. All property, whether in individual or joint names, will be considered.
The Court will consider the financial and non-financial contributions made by each party and divide the property in a manner that is just and equitable. Non-financial contributions, including domestic chores and contributions to the welfare of the family, are recognised by the Court when considering a division of property.
De facto Relationships & Spousal Maintenance
A claim for Spousal Maintenance can be made in certain circumstances by either party of the relationship.
At Rattigan & Associates, we can advise you on all aspects of your rights concerning Family Law and Property Matters if your de facto relationship has broken down.
As de facto relationships and family law is a complex process, it is always advisable to seek the advice of an experienced family lawyer. Align with our de facto separation lawyers today and work alongside them to achieve realistic and holistic solutions. Contact our Perth office for more information, or make an appointment with our leading team.