Family Law Act 1975 is the one relevant legal document when it comes to different family law matters. But 1975, when it was introduced and adopted, was a long time ago, and times have changed since then. To keep up with the changes in society, FLA has received a number of amendment. One of them is the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Act 2008.

The FLA Act 2008 amends the FLA in relation to several important issues: opposite-sex and same-sex de facto couples accessing the federal family law courts on property and maintenance matters on relationship breakdown; financial agreements between married couples; separation declarations and superannuation splitting; and certificates provided during family dispute resolutions.

What Does It Mean?

The reforms introduced by the FLA Act 2008 are the following: financial obligations, that had been confined to marital couples, are now imposed upon de facto couples once they have lived together for two years, and sometimes even less if the parties have a child together or if one party can point to substantial contributions made during a short relationship. These reforms extend not just to heterosexual couples living together, but also to those in same sex relationships.

What Happens with Me If I Break Up a De Facto Relationship?

Everything that would happen to you if you are legally married! So if you’re not sure you are in for the long run, take the necessary steps to protect your assets.

Young couples who may not think of living together as a test of whether the relationship should progress to marriage may deliberately wish to keep their finances and assets isolated. That way, should they break up, no property division will cover these. They can also wish that all or some of the assets that they have acquired prior to the beginning of their relationship be protected from a future claim by their partner.

Similarly, older couples who live together and have the experience of one or more earlier divorces, may also wish to keep their financial affairs isolated for the benefit of their children and grandchildren.

What Can I Do to Protect My Financial Position?

If you are in a de facto relationship, due to the Family Law Amendment (De Facto Financial Matters and Other Measures) Act 2008, it would be wise to seek legal advice on whether you should consider the security of a financial agreement.

It is possible that you and your partner enter into a Binding Financial Agreement (“BFA”) to determine how your property would be divided in the unfortunate event of your relationship breaking down. BFA should include each party disclosing the assets in which they have an interest, and obtaining independent legal advice.

If you want to protect your assets, it is best if you do it before actually entering the relationship. This rarely ever happens in practice, but if you want to be safe, you should consider this even before you consider to start a de facto relationship with someone.

If you have any concerns relating to asset protection and other financial matters in your de facto relationship, please contact Withstand Lawyers at any time. Having a strong theoretical background and rich experience, we will be happy to assist with all your questions. We are also ready to offer you a free consultation and provide you with free legal advice!

Call Withstand Lawyers today at 1800 644 541, email us at info@withstandlawyers.com.au or send an online inquiry, and we’ll schedule a meeting with one of our professionals as soon as possible!

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