When a de facto relationship or marriage breaks down, the assets and debts of each party must be divided. In Australia, the same laws and rules apply to same-sex couples as do apply to heterosexual couples.
Due to same-sex marriage now being legal across Australia allowing for the recognition of couples married in overseas jurisdictions, same-sex couples can now also divorce in Australia.
When a same-sex de facto relationship or marriage comes to an end, the assets and debts of the relationship or marriage must be divided between the two parties. It is essential that your interests be protected to the highest standard during the property settlement process through expert legal representation.
A de facto relationship refers to a relationship where two people who are not married or related by family live together on a genuine domestic basis. The law does not distinguish between people of the same-sex or of the opposite sex in this regard.
Property settlement is a difficult and complex procedure and requires professional expertise to avoid an unfavourable outcome for a person whose relationship or marriage has come to an end.
Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers can ensure the best possible outcome is achieved for you at the end of your de facto relationship or marriage. Where there are assets located in different jurisdictions, including both nationally and internationally, it is essential that an expert family and property settlement lawyer is able to act in your best interests to ensure an equitable outcome is achieved for you.
There are a number of ways the assets and debts of a relationship or marriage may be divided.
Firstly, you and your spouse or ex-partner may agree on how the assets and debts are to be divided. This may be formalised in a financial agreement, which may be drafted by an expert family lawyer at any time in a relationship.
It is essential for a financial agreement to be drafted by an expert family lawyer to ensure the legal rules surrounding financial agreements are abided by and to avoid having the agreement set aside for lack of precision or for failing to properly address the requirements of each party. If this occurs, a party may find their assets are dealt with in a manner contrary to their interests.
Secondly, you may formalise your agreement on how the assets and debt are to be divided through consent orders in the Family Court. Consent orders make an agreement binding and those affected by the orders must follow them. The Family Court must be satisfied that the orders two people seek to have the court consent to be just and equitable. If there are children of the relationship, the court must also be satisfied that the orders are in the best interests of the children. Where parties seek orders from the court, an application should be filed within 12 months of a divorce or 2 years after the breakdown of a de facto relationship.
It is vital to retain expert legal representation in seeking consent orders to ensure the most appropriate orders are obtained and the process is complete as efficiently as possible.
If you cannot reach an agreement as to how your assets and debt should be divided, you can apply to a court for financial orders. Financial orders can include orders relating to the division of property as well as payment of spouse or de facto partner maintenance. Financial orders may be made in accordance with an agreement between the parties or following a court hearing or trial.
There is no specific method a court applies in settling the property of two people who were previously married or in a de facto relationship. The general principles a court applies include establishing exactly what assets each party has and the debts each party owes. A court also considers the direct contributions of each party, such as wages and salary. There are also considerations of a non-financial nature, such as homemaking contributions and caring for children. The court will also consider the future requirements of each party; this may include aspects such as the financial resources of a party or their ability to earn.
The court has the ability to take into consideration many aspects of a de facto relationship or marriage and make determinations on the facts of each case.
It is vital for the protection of your children, assets and interests that an accredited Australian family law specialist advises you on your legal position and where necessary represents you to ensure the best possible outcome where your interests may be compromised.
For more information, contact Sarah Bevan Family Lawyers. Our offices are conveniently located in Surry Hills, Crows Nest and Parramatta. To speak to a specialist family lawyer about property settlement or any family law matter contact Sarah Bevan Lawyers on 1300 007 235 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.