Question from Polly, Are Partners Entitled to Property After a 2-Year Relationship in WA?
Answer from AI:
In Western Australia, the division of property after the breakdown of a de facto relationship, which includes those with children, is governed by the Family Court Act 1997 (WA). It’s important to understand that simply living together for two years does not automatically entitle someone to half of the property. The division of property is based on various factors and is intended to be fair and equitable, rather than an automatic 50/50 split.
Criteria for Property Division
When determining the division of property, the court will consider:
- The duration of the relationship.
- The financial contributions made by each party.
- The non-financial contributions, including as a homemaker or parent.
- The future needs of each party, including age, health, financial resources, care of children, and earning capacity.
- The effect of any proposed order on the ability of a creditor of a party to recover the creditor’s debt.
De Facto Relationships in WA
For a relationship to be considered de facto under Western Australian law, certain criteria must be met:
- The couple must have lived together in a marriage-like relationship.
- The relationship must have been genuine and continuing.
- The couple must not be legally married to each other or related by family.
- The relationship must have lasted for at least two years, or there is a child of the relationship, or significant contributions have been made, and failure to issue an order would result in serious injustice.
Steps to Property Division
If you are in a de facto relationship that has ended, and you wish to seek a property settlement, you should:
- Attempt to reach an agreement with your former partner about how to divide property and assets.
- If an agreement is reached, you can formalize it through a Binding Financial Agreement or by applying to the court for Consent Orders.
- If you cannot reach an agreement, you may need to apply to the Family Court for a property settlement. This must be done within two years of the end of the relationship.
Seeking Legal Advice
It is highly recommended that individuals seek legal advice from a family law solicitor to understand their rights and obligations and to ensure that any agreement or application to the court is based on a fair assessment of the entire situation. A lawyer can also assist with drafting a Binding Financial Agreement or preparing documents for court proceedings.
For more information on de facto relationships and property settlement in Western Australia, you can visit the Family Court of Western Australia website.
Remember, every situation is unique, and this information is not a substitute for personalized legal advice. If you are dealing with a property settlement matter, consult with a legal professional who can provide guidance tailored to your circumstances.