Am I entitled to a property settlement as a de facto spouse?

Figures representing same sex and de facto relationship separation

Am I entitled to a property settlement as a de facto spouse?

Section 90SM of the Family Law Act gives the Family Court power to make property and financial Orders in a same sex or de facto relationships following a separation. The provisions are similar to the provisions applied to married couples and include the power to alter property interests held between the parties either solely or jointly.

So what sort of relationship gives rise to an application for a property adjustment as a de facto partner?  Unlike a marriage where there is usually little or no dispute as to the nature of the relationship, a de facto relationship can be more complicated to define.  Factors taken into consideration include:

  • The duration of the relationship;
  • Characteristics and nature of the parties’ cohabitation;
  • Whether there are children of the relationship;
  • Intimacy of the parties; and
  • Financial interdependency of the parties.

 

The Family Court is also able to make Orders for the maintenance of a party to a de facto relationship who, following separation, is unable to adequately support themselves (or child of the de facto relationship) financially.

Due to the complexities that often arise in de facto or same sex property and financial matters, you should seek independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer prior to entering into any property settlement.

For more information about de facto partner property or spousal maintenance, please read our blog:

What is spousal maintenance? and, am I entitled to it?

Changes to out-of-time De Facto Property Applications