If you’re in a de facto or same sex relationship, understanding your legal rights in Australia relating to family law matters such as parenting, property and separation can be confusing.
You might be wondering whether your relationship meets the criteria of a de facto relationship, or what the time limitations applicable to you are. If you are separating, you might be confused about your legal rights when it comes to assets or children, or if your matter will be treated the same as a marriage in terms of entitlements.
In Australia, de facto couples (including same sex couples) are now able to deal with their property matters under the Family Law Act.
How do you establish if you are in a de facto relationship?
To establish that you are in a de facto relationship with another person, you cannot be legally married to that person or be related by family, but you must have a relationship as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis.
When determining whether this requirement has been satisfied, the Court considers many issues including (but not limited to):
- The duration of the relationship.
- The nature and extent of your common residence.
- Whether a sexual relationship exists.
- The degree of financial dependence or interdependence, and any arrangements for financial support between the parties.
- The ownership, use and acquisition of property, the degree of mutual commitment to a shared life.
- The care and support of children.
- The reputation and public aspects of the relationship.
What weight and regard is given by the Court to any such matters is at the Court’s discretion.
Importantly, parties have a time limitation of two (2) years from the date of separation to resolve their property matters. If this time limitation period expires, it will be difficult for you to proceed with your matter as you will be out of time.
Do you need a free consultation to discuss your legal position?
If you are entering, or you are already in, a de facto or same sex relationship, it’s never too early to seek legal advice to get your questions answered. Why not book your consultation with Vanessa today.