“De facto spouse” is defined as either of two persons whether of the same or opposite sex who are living or have lived together as a couple. There are certain criteria the court must consider in determining whether parties were actually in a de facto relationship.

Property settlement between de facto spouses is governed by the Queensland Property Law Act, rather than the Family Law Act. The Act applies to all de facto relationships that ended after 21 December 1999.

Time Limits

There are strict time limits that apply in relation to commencing an application for de facto property settlement. You must apply to the court within two years of your relationship ending. We recommend that you consult a solicitor at an early stage to protect your rights.

You can contact us at either of our offices to make an appointment to discuss your de facto property settlement.

If you reach agreement

De facto couples may to come to an agreement in relation to dividing their property by way of a written agreement. There are certain criteria that must be met for this agreement to be enforceable. This may include each party obtaining independent legal advice as to the effect of signing the document.

We recommend that you have your agreement drawn up by a solicitor to ensure it will be a legally binding document and to protect your rights. We can assist you with drafting this agreement and providing you with independent advice about an agreement.

Getting to court

If you cannot agree as to the division of your property, you can apply to the appropriate court for an order dividing each party’s interest in the property.

The court must consider various matters in relation to making a declaration, for example:

  • The contributions by each party to the acquisition and improvement of the assets (including contributions as a parent or homemaker);
  • The effect of any order on the earning capacity of the parties;
  • Age, state of health and capacity for employment; and
  • Whether there are any children of the relationship.

However, de facto relationships are still not afforded the same status as married couples in certain aspects of property settlement. For example, superannuation between de facto couples cannot be split in a property settlement as it can with married couples.

If your relationship is not covered by the Property Law Act (i.e. it ended before 21 December 1999) you may also apply under common law principles such as contract, equity and trust laws in certain circumstances.

After your settlement

After the breakdown of a relationship, there is often more to consider in addition to dividing the assets and liabilities. We can provide advice about issues associated with your property settlement including:

  • Wills and estates;
  • Company and trust restructures;
  • Taxation consequences; and
  • Commercial and residential conveyancing.
  • Arrangements for the Children.

If you need assistance with a family law property matter please do not hesitate to contact us at either of our conveniently located bayside offices.

Call us Now –
Wynnum (07) 3893 3388
Cleveland (07) 3821 6288

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