Frequently Asked Questions – Defacto
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions pertaining to Defacto relationships and the irretrievable breakdown. If you have a question that is not listed please call us or book a time so that we can give you peace of mind with an answer.
1. How long do I have to be in a de facto relationship before I can make a claim for property settlement against my partner?
2 years or, if there is a child of the relationship. In other words, if there is a child of the relationship, there is no time period How long do I have to be in a relationship before my partner can make a claim against my partner. If a party has made substantial contributions, the two year time limit can be waived.
2. How long do I have to be in a defacto relationship before my partner can make a claim against me for property settlement?
2 years or there is a child of the relationship. In other words, if there is a child of the relationship your partner can make a claim against you even know you’ve been together for less than 2 years or if your partner has made substantial contributions to the acquisition of assets acquired during the relationship or to the maintenance or improvement of already existing assets.
3. What is a de facto relationship?
Having regard to all the circumstances of the relationship, it is that of a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis. Accordingly, there is no strict definition and every case must be decided on its merits. However, whatever the relationship is, it must be that of “living together on a genuine domestic basis”.
4. What do I have to prove in order to make a claim for property settlement?
You need to prove that you made a financial contribution to the relationship. This can be in a number of ways. Every case must be decided according to its merits. However, in a general sense, typical examples include money towards the acquisition of assets or contributing money to pay for expenses of the relationship which in turn allows your partner to acquire assets because you are paying other expenses that your partner would otherwise have to pay. Another way is to contribute your labour to maintain assets e.g. building, maintaining or improving a home, real estate or other assets. It can also include non-financial contributions such as caring for the children of the relationship, including step-children.
5. What sort of evidence do I need?
Bank statements, mortgage statements, receipts, contracts, agreements. Statements from witnesses such as your accountant, bank manager, business Partner or anyone else who would know the personal financial arrangements with your partner. Get printouts or photo copies of financial records, bank accounts, bank statements etc.
6. What if I don’t have any documents either because when I left I didn’t have time to find them or my partner is kept them all and I don’t know where they are or, if my partner is destroyed all the documents?
Do not worry. There are specific procedures that apply in situations like this and you’ll still be a to make a claim even if you don’t have any documents at all.
7. How long do I have to make a claim?
Generally speaking, 2 years from the date of separation. In some circumstances, extensions of time can be granted.
8. What should I do if I think my relationship is going to end?
Contact us immediately. We have a First Interview Free Scheme that you can participate in at no cost and with no obligation. Whatever you do, get advice before you finally separate as you may lose the opportunity to gain valuable evidence that will be critical for your case. Getting advice does not mean you necessarily have to take court action. What is important is that you get the right advice early so you know what your rights are and where you stand. That will enable you to prepare and be ready for whatever needs to be done and to ensure that you do not lose your entitlements inadvertently.
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