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Family Lawyers in Cranbourne Offering De Facto Separation Advice

Family Lawyers in Cranbourne Offering De Facto Separation Advice
 

De facto relationships are in some ways similar to a marriage when it comes to dividing property after the relationship breaks down. Family lawyers in Cranbourne provide advice about what to do to protect your property and what you will be entitled to in your particular circumstance.

 

Navigating De Facto Relationship Breakdown


In Australia, de facto relationships are recognised by law. A de facto relationship is one where two people aren’t married to each other and live together in a domestic situation. According to Family Law, a relationship is given de facto status when the couple has lived together for at least two years or other cumulative factors show a de facto relationship exists.

When de facto couples break up, they have similar financial rights and responsibilities as their married counterparts. This includes property, spousal maintenance and child support – and just as married couples who are unable to reach agreement on financial and parenting matters, de facto spouses can also pursue a legal route when they apply to the court for a decision.

 

Passing the Threshold


Under the Family Law Act, you are in a de facto relationship if you are not married, but living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis depending on the individual circumstances of each couple. To determine a genuine domestic basis exists, some questions the court will consider are:

  • The length of relationship;
  • The degree of financial dependence or independence existing between you and your partner to financially support one another;
  • Whether joint assets exist;
  • The extent that you have a mutual commitment to a shared life.

 

What Am I Entitled To?


In a de facto relationship, you have similar financial rights and responsibilities, including property, spousal maintenance and child support to a married couple when you separate. When deciding a fair property settlement, the family court will consider the following:

What you owned prior to the de facto relationship;

  • Direct financial contributions made by each person during the de facto relationship, such as wages or salary and property payments;
  • What you currently have (the net value of your current assets, such as houses, shares and superannuation and your current debts);
  • Indirect financial contributions made by each person during the de facto relationship, such as gifts and inheritances;
  • Non-financial contributions made by each person during the de facto relationship, for example caring for children or the family, domestic and household improvement work;
  • Your future needs, such as care of any children, earning capacity, respective financial resources available, age and health.

 

If an application has been made for spousal maintenance for future financial support, the court will consider relative financial circumstances. There is also a time limit for property settlement and spousal maintenance claims. You must bring your application against your former de facto partner within two years of the relationship’s ending or seek an exemption from the time limit.

 

Seek Legal Advice from Family Lawyers


With so many misconceptions out there about de facto relationships, especially when it comes to what happens when a de facto couple separates, many de facto couples themselves don’t even know where they stand legally. That’s why it’s important to find out sooner rather than later in the event of a separation with the help from family lawyers in Cranbourne.

 

Court Involvement for De Facto Financial Matters

In a de facto relationship, it isn't necessary to file for divorce based on the nature of the relationship. Lawyers are essential in the separation process to help navigate through the legalities associated with ending a de facto relationship.

Since March 2009, couples can apply to the federal court to have their financial matters handled in the same manner as a married couple. You and your ex must apply within two years of the breakdown of the relationship for the court to consider your case. If you exceed two years of separation, you must apply to the court for formal permission, but may be denied. Before the court can consider the financials of your separation, you must satisfy the court on all of the following:

1.       You and your ex were in a genuine de facto relationship and can satisfy the court as such;

2.       The relationship meets one of four requirements; you were in a relationship for two or more years; the relationship was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory; there is a child in the de facto relationship or significant contributions were made by one person in the relationship.

3.       The relationship broke down since the inception of this legal ruling in the court (March 2009)

4.       You and your ex live in a participating jurisdiction in which the courts can hear financial matters of de facto couples filing for separation.

It is recommended by the Family Court of Australia to seek legal advice when applying for the court’s involvement in de facto relationship financial matters. Family lawyers in Cranbourne are knowledgeable in the state’s specific laws governing this rule.

 

 

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