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Property Settlement Entitlement in a Short-Lived "De Facto" Relationship

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The Federal Circuit Court of Australia recently had to consider whether it should make property orders in respect of a relationship that had lasted just 14 months. Adesso & Payton (2019) involved a pilot and an unemployed woman who was caring for a child of a previous relationship.

The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) provides for the Court to make such orders that it considers appropriate in property settlement matters but only if the duration of the relationship has been at least 2 years; or there is a child of the relationship; or the applicant has made substantial contributions to the relationship and failing to make an order would be a serious injustice.

The couple lived in a listed property which required renovation. The woman argued she had made substantial non-financial contributions to the relationship in terms of managing renovations, gardening, cooking, home-making and helping the man's business, which he ran alongside being a part-time pilot.

However, the Court considered that her contributions were not above the ordinary and not “substantial”. Moreover, she and her child had received considerable financial support by way of private school fees, accommodation and holidays.

The Court concluded that it would not be a serious injustice to decline her claim for a property settlement.  The relationship was of less than 2 years duration and there were no children from the relationship. Accordingly, the Court considered there was no de facto relationship and dismissed the application.

Contact Us

If you are not sure about whether your relationship could be considered as de facto or not, whether you may be entitled to a property settlement, or indeed any other family law matter please book a consultation with our Family Lawyer today or call (02) 9281 5088 for a free 10-minute consultation.

At Szabo & Associates, Solicitors, we want you to get to the point where you can say, “I feel ok now, I have spoken to a lawyer and I now know exactly what my options are.”

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