De Facto Relationships In Australia Can Expose Your Assets To Risk! Learn How

March 3, 2023    divorcelawyersperthwa
De Facto Relationships In Australia Can Expose Your Assets To Risk! Learn How

Though marriage laws in Australia and their possible impact on a couple’s assets are understood by the people. There is some confusion among the people on what constitutes a de facto relationship. And, how assets are treated in such a relationship.

Before hiring a de facto relationship lawyer Perth, know that many people are often uncertain whether their current relationship will legally be a de facto one. They also are unaware of whether they have to safeguard their assets in a de facto relationship. In this guide, you will learn more about a de facto relationship and if it can expose your assets to risk.

What Is A De Facto Relationship?

As per Australia’s Family Law Act 1975, a de facto relationship is considered between two people if:

  • Both partners are not legally married to one another.
  • Family does not relate to the partners.
  • They have regard for all the circumstances of their relationship; they also have a relationship as a couple who lives together genuinely on a domestic basis.

These definitions will apply to both same-sex and heterosexual couples. When an Australian court has to determine whether the relationship was genuine de facto or not. They will consider the following factors:

  • The duration of their relationship (2 years or more is said to be a de facto relationship).
  • The nature of the Australian couple’s ordinary residence.
  • If there is a sexual relationship between the two.
  • The level of financial dependence between both the partners.
  • If the couple has any children.
  • Public perception of their relationship.

The court can also consider a relationship de facto if you have lived with your partner for less than two years. There can be some exceptional circumstances, such as a child being born from a relationship.

What Effect Can Your De Facto Relationship Have On Your Assets?

If you are in a de-facto relationship, know that there are multiple implications on how your property or assets are treated during the breakdown of a relationship. It may also lead to a partner depending on the other after separation.

What Are The Initial Contributions In A De Facto Relationship?

For many Australian couples, an equal financial contribution will be made for both people while they stay together. They also share household expenses such as bills, rent and entertainment. They also bring some of their assets into the relationship, such as furniture for the house they live in.

If things do not go as planned, a typical property separation can be achieved with little to no argument. The items will go to the individual who brought both partners into the relationship. Joint purchases can also get divided up with an exchange of cash to make things seem even.

But if the property pool is large, or some disagreements cannot be resolved, you must take the help of a mediator or a de facto relationship law Perth to finalize the matters. Things can also get more complicated when the initial contributions to the de facto property pool are not equal. For instance, an individual may already possess a property with a large amount of equity; other than that, an individual may also own a business that is considered an income-producing asset.

Should You Acquire A Binding Financial Agreement?

Though a binding financial agreement is a way to safeguard your assets in a de facto relationship, it is not the only way. For instance, it can be better for you to safeguard your specific assets in a family trust. Other than that, the absence of BFA does not indicate that an individual will lose their assets in a property settlement.

An Australian court can also consider the initial contributions when looking at an application that consents for property matters. However, if you are considering a relationship and wish to safeguard your assets, you can speak to a top lawyer to receive the best advice as per your circumstances.

When Does A Relationship In Australia Turn Into A De Facto Relationship?

It is important to understand “what a de facto relationship is” before moving forward. A de facto relationship is regarding two individuals living together based on a genuine domestic relationship for at least two years. If you are going to look based on an honest domestic relationship, there are several factors you must take into consideration:

  • The duration of the relationship.
  • The extent and nature of the common residence.
  • If there is any sexual relationship.
  • The degree of interdependence or financial dependence.

These factors are only looking to establish the level of mutual commitment that is there between the partners. If it is seen that an Australian couple has been living together for no less than two years, the relationship can be considered a de facto relationship. Contact a top de facto lawyer in your area to know more.

Many instances have also been seen where an Australian couple have not been living together. But, Australian courts have determined that their relationship is a genuinely domestic one. Even with such kinds of information, a de facto relationship can be hard to define. If it is seen that you are in a de facto relationship, a property settlement will be needed.

When Can There Be A De Facto Claim On A Property?

If an Australian court considers a relationship de facto, then there will be a property settlement. The property settlement will be needed to retain your own assets or to provide a division of the combined asset pool. If you hire a top lawyer in your area, you must see the risks that are present.

In a legal sense, a property settlement doesn’t only mean real estate; it also includes other assets like investments, cars, boats, shares and timeshares.

Disagreement About a De Facto Status

The top family lawyers know that a de facto relationship is not like a marriage with precise dates for when the union happened. There is also no clear or agreeable date for when such a relationship begins. There are people who may view it as a relationship when they move in together. A de facto lawyer in your area can help you know more about this.

But, it is essential that you know that a de facto relationship does not always indicate that a couple moves in together. It has become common for people in Australia to be in a long-term relationship but not live together. It will also not be unusual for an individual to say that they were in a de facto relationship and another couple to say that it was not such a relationship.

There are people who may have been in more casual relationships or even been in several relationships at a time. You must be aware regarding this information if you are married, that if you are in a long-term extramarital affair, based on your financial arrangements that you exist. It can pose not only a risk to you but also to your assets.

But, it is essential that you know that a de facto relationship does not always indicate that a couple moves in together. It has become common for people in Australia to be in a long-term relationship but not live together. It will also not be unusual for an individual to say that they were in a de facto relationship and another couple to say that it was not such a relationship.

How Do You Protect Your Assets From De Facto Relationships Or New Partners?

It is advised to hire a de facto lawyer in such a circumstance. And if you have an accountant or a financial planner, they will always be close to your finances. They will also be aware of changes in your personal relationship. And if you are one of those people with considerable financial assets that you must protect, you must seek legal advice from a lawyer.

A Binding Financial Agreement or BFA is often considered the most effective approach in such situations. This type of agreement will take into account what every individual brings into the relationship. Their contributions at the time of the relationship and any other specific conditions that may come into effect, such as the birth of their children.

Both partners can opt for legal advice and will have to agree on how they will divide their assets if a relationship ends. When you have a well-drafted BFA, it can help provide you with a certainty of outcome. The outcome is that there will be a proper path to follow that can help bring an end to the relationship’s financial component.

The Outcome Of The Property Settlement

When you do not have a BFA or Binding Financial Agreement, the outcome of a property settlement will be uncertain. In any kind of dispute, you will see that it will take years and a significant number of funds. Finalize separation when emotions are at the highest levels.

But if you hire a lawyer and feel that BFA is not the appropriate course of action. Compiling a list of assets and liabilities at the beginning of the relationship is better. Both partners can also choose not to combine finances, opt for a joint bank account or have shared ownership of a property.

Associate With Divorce Lawyers Perth WA

If you are currently in a de facto relationship or it has broken down, know that your assets will be at risk. If you want to safeguard your assets in such a phase, you must take legal advice from a lawyer. Contact Divorce lawyers Perth, to hire the best lawyers in your area to advise you on the best ways to safeguard your assets in such critical circumstances.

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