A defacto spouse can now apply to the Court for a division of property where:-
(a) The relationship was for a minimum of two years; or
(b) There is a child of the relationship under the age of eighteen; or
(c) Where you can’t bring yourself within (a) or (b) but can show that a serious injustice would result from failure to recognise a defacto spouses financial or non-financial contribution.
So even for relationships of a relatively short duration say six to twelve months, you can still make application to the Court for a division of property where you can show a serious injustice would result.
Such applications must be brought to the Court within two years of the end of the relationship.
A defacto spouse still has the right to seek child maintenance pursuant to the Child Support Act and other disputes concerning children such as residence and contact can still be dealt with by the Family Court.
Unfortunately, couples cannot always agree as to the division of property upon the breakdown of a marriage. Others simply don’t know what they are entitled to and need advice as to their entitlements.
At McLaughlin & Associates we take a caring and sympathetic approach to matrimonial matters. We try our hardest to ensure that property disputes are resolved between the parties without the need to go to Court and on average 90% of disputes are able to be resolved without the need for a Court hearing.
If agreement can be reached with your spouse on how to divide up your assets/liabilities an Application for Consent Orders can be made to the Family Court. If you are unable to reach an agreement, you can apply to the Court for Property Orders.
The law governing the division of assets is complex and therefore, we strongly recommend that you seek our advice before making any decision on such division.