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Australian Dream Slows Marriage But Not De Facto Relationships


Many young Australian couples are facing the harsh reality that purchasing their own home together is financially impossible. Such a problem as experienced by Nicola Greenberg and her partner Julian Cheung, as reported by NewsCorp. To deal with the issues, Nicola and Julian decided to forego marriage and use the money they would put towards a wedding, for their house deposit. Their savings were also assisted by the fact they each lived at home with their own parents while saving.

From a family law perspective, Nicola and Julian, despite saving together, would not be considered a de facto couple as they were not residing together. They will become de facto once they have lived together for a period of two years. Under section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (“the Act”) Nicola and Julian may be considered de facto if they are able to prove that despite not living together for a period of two years, they have made contributions to each other’s property and common residence, there is a sexual relationship existing, and there is interdependence financially between them.

When Nicola and Julian do become a de facto couple or indeed marry, the house that they are purchasing will become a part of the property pool available for distribution if Nicola and Julian are to separate. The contributions they each made to the deposit of the property and improvements of the property once they’ve moved in will be taken into consideration if a property settlement is to occur.

Therefore, the fact that Nicola and Julian have decided to wait to marry in order to purchase their home does not necessarily preclude them from entering the family law jurisdiction. Of course, purchasing a property is a much wiser investment than paying for a wedding (despite the wedding most likely creating much more fun). It is also important to note that if Nicola and Julian were to separate after paying tens of thousands of dollars for a wedding, they cannot say that their respective financial contributions to payment of the wedding was a financial contribution to the property pool available for distribution upon separation as unfortunate as it may be, a party’s choice to pay for a wedding, or indeed the honeymoon, is not a financial contribution. Their money would be better left in the bank account rather than on the buffet, house wine and beer.

If you require strategic advice in relation to your family law obligations prior to entering into a marriage or de facto relationship, Armstrong Legal can advise you on what the Family Court will take into consideration upon breakdown of relationship, or indeed advise you on entering into a financial agreement prior to entering into a de facto relationship or marriage. Similarly, we can provide you such advice if the unfortunate circumstance has occurred where you have purchased a property with your spouse of de facto partner, and your relationship has broken down. We are only a phone call away!

Image Credit – Piksel © 123RF.com

Written by Bree Staines on March 21, 2017

Bree has a long held passion for family law, as she believes the law can be a mechanism to achieve positive and just change and resolutions for her clients. The diligence Bree puts into her work ensures she is always has a comprehensive understanding of the law and will be striving to achieve her client's goals, both efficiently and cost effectively. View Bree's profile


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