What Happens if a De Facto Relationship Ends?

what happens if a de facto relationship ends | Dandenong Family Lawyers

What Happens if a De Facto Relationship Ends?

When a de facto relationship ends, several important matters must be addressed, much like in the case of a marriage breakdown. These can include property settlement, financial support, and arrangements for children. Here’s a detailed overview of what to expect:

Property Settlement:

Equitable Division: The division of assets and liabilities accumulated during the relationship is based on principles of fairness. The court considers various factors such as financial contributions, non-financial contributions, the length of the relationship, and the future needs of both parties.

Court Involvement: If an amicable agreement cannot be reached, either party can seek orders from the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court to determine the division of property. The court’s aim is to reach a just and equitable division of property.

Financial Support (Spousal Maintenance):

Eligibility: To be eligible for spousal maintenance, the party seeking support must demonstrate a financial need, and the other party must have the capacity to pay.

Court Assessment: The court considers various factors, including the age, health, income, and earning capacity of both parties, to determine the necessity and amount of maintenance. The court also looks at the care and support of children under 18 years of age.

Children’s Arrangements:

Best Interests of the Children: The primary consideration is the children’s best interests, focusing on their safety, emotional well-being, and the benefit of maintaining meaningful relationships with both parents.

Parenting Plans or Court Orders: Arrangements can be formalised through parenting plans agreed upon by both parties or, if necessary, through court orders.

Legal Timeframes for Claims:

Time Limits: There are strict time limits for making claims related to property settlement and spousal maintenance, generally within two years of the de facto relationship breakdown.

Prompt Legal Advice: Seeking legal advice promptly is essential to ensure your rights are protected and to meet necessary deadlines. Delays can jeopardise your ability to make a claim.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):

ADR methods, such as mediation, can help resolve disputes amicably without going to court. These methods are typically less stressful, more cost-effective, and quicker than litigation.

Mediation: Mediation involves both parties working with a neutral mediator to reach a mutually agreeable solution. This method offers a less adversarial and more efficient alternative to court proceedings.

Mutually Agreeable Solutions: Through mediation, both parties collaborate with a neutral third party to reach mutually agreeable solutions. This process can significantly reduce the emotional and financial strain compared to traditional court proceedings.

Key Takeaway: Mediation provides an effective, less adversarial, and more cost-efficient way to resolve disputes following the end of a de facto relationship, often leading to quicker and less stressful outcomes than litigation.

Need a Lawyer?

Understand Your Rights

Ending a de facto relationship involves significant legal considerations, much like the breakdown of a marriage. Being aware of your rights regarding property settlement, spousal maintenance, and children’s arrangements is paramount.

A qualified family lawyer can provide tailored advice on your specific circumstances, help you understand your legal rights and obligations, and guide you through the legal process.

They can also assist in drafting agreements, representing you in court, and exploring alternative dispute resolution options such as mediation. Timely legal advice ensures that you meet important deadlines and make informed decisions that protect your interests and those of any children involved.

Overall Key Takeaway: When a de facto relationship ends, it involves important legal matters akin to those in a marriage dissolution, including property settlement, financial support, and children’s arrangements. Understanding your rights, seeking timely legal advice, and considering alternative dispute resolution methods can help ensure a fair and amicable resolution.



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