A party to a domestic or de facto relationship has the right to apply to the Court for orders:

  • adjusting interests in property owned by the parties in the relationship;
  • for the payment of maintenance; or
  • for both an adjustment of property interests and the payment of maintenance

The relevant law defines a domestic relationship as a de facto relationship or a close personal relationship:

A de facto relationship is then defined as a relationship between 2 adults who live together and are not married to one another or related by family. This is not measured by time although the Court will take the duration of a relationship into account as well as other factors, such as the nature and extent of a common residence, the degree of financial independence between the parties, ownership, use and acquisition of property and the care and support of children, in determining whether a de facto relationship exists.

A close personal relationship is defined as a relationship between two adults living together, whether or not related by family, who provide the other or each other with domestic support and personal care. This care cannot be provided for a fee or on behalf of another person or organisation. This definition includes same sex couples.

For the Court to make an order for the adjustment of interests in property, the parties must have been in a domestic relationship for at least 2 years unless there are children involved or if there is evidence that a party has made substantial contributions to property or to the running of the household.

These are factors you should bear in mind if you are living with someone and don’t have a formal agreement in place as to your property ownership.

If you would like further information in regards to seeking orders under the Property (Relationships) Act 1984 or advice on how to protect your assets when in a domestic relationship, including the option of entering into a private binding agreement, please contact Greg Dickson or email greg@wmdlaw.com.au

Subscribe to the WMD Law Newsletter

Stay in touch with the latest legal news and legislative changes that
impact you by subscribing to our legal newsletter. It’s delivered to
your in-box every month and is always packed with interesting articles
prepared by our legal team.