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Cecil Black Mediation and Family Law

Cecil Black has sensitively guided local and interstate families through the legal process for thirty years.

Property Settlements

Cecil Black can assist you at all stages of obtaining a property settlement.

Cecil Black Mediation and Family Law

Cecil Black has sensitively guided local and interstate families through the legal process for thirty years.

Mediation Services

We use creative problem solving in a way that you can reach your own agreement.

What Happens if I go live with my Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Prepared by Cecil Black Mediation and Family Law.

This information sheet is not intended to create any legal relationship between the author and the reader, although that relationship may already exist.

The material contained herein is general in nature and is designed to provide you with some important but general information and should be read in association with legal advice given to you. The reader should not rely or act on this information without seeking legal advice specific to their circumstances.

The author is excluded from all liability unless the relationship between lawyer and client already exists.

What happens if I go to live with my girlfriend/ boyfriend?

People often ask me if I go to live with my girlfriend/boyfriend how does it affect my rights meaning am I going to be subject to a claim in respect of property or am I able to make a claim in respect of property.

To answer this question is necessary to determine at the time of the claim, whether you have been in a de facto relationship or in a close personal relationship.

If there is to be a claim, the first thing to consider is whether yours has been a de facto relationship or not.

The answer will be determined by whether you and your girlfriend/boyfriend have so emerged your lives as if you were for all practical purposes living together as a couple on a genuine domestic basis. It is the idea of “coupledom” that is the centre of the relationship.

The same issue does not arise in the marriage because a marital relationship has a marriage certificate as an indication of the existence of community and a couple who are determined to spend their life together and to act in a joint way for the purposes of the relationship.

That existence of community and commitment may not exist in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship and it is not uncommon for many relationships to commence in a way that that there was no anticipated intent on the part of either of the parties for there to be a de facto relationship, often not more than something in the nature of a sexual or supporting role. It is only when the relationship develops and changes to one of community and commitment, that there is a recognition fact that the relationship changes.

There are many circumstances which constitute a genuine domestic relationship and those considering the nature of your relationship entitled to have regard to and attach such weight to any matters that seem appropriate in the circumstances. The Family Law Act sets out some of the circumstances which have to be considered.

A defacto relationship can exist between persons of different sexes or persons of the same sex, and that relationship can even exist if one of the persons is already living in a relationship with another person.

If it is possible to establish that a defacto relationship exists, then it is necessary to consider the length of the relationship.

Generally a claim cannot be made in respect of property between parties to a defacto relationship unless that relationship is at least for 2 years or if there is a child of the relationship, or unless in all the circumstances it is just unequitable to make the claim.

In addition, before an order can be made, both parties will have been ordinarily resident in a State or Territory of Australia (excluding Western Australia) during at least one third of the relationship or that if it was less than one third of the relationship, then the person making the claim must have made a substantial contribution to the property of the parties or either of them.

Also the claim must be made within two years after the end of the defacto relationship, but a party can apply to a court for permission to proceed after the expiration of that period of 2 years. Once a defacto relationship is established, a claim for property is considered on what is effectively the same basis as if the parties were married.

If a party to a relationship wishes to protect himself/herself from any claim, that person should consider entering into a binding financial agreement which is often called a “prenup”.

Current @ 23 June 2016.

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