It has become increasingly common for the parents (or family members) of one or both of the parties to a relationship to provide financial assistance to their children, including to assist their children to purchase property. But how is this ‘financial assistance’ regarded when the relationship breaks down?
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A question we frequently get asked by clients is whether or not they are in a de facto relationship. Unlike a marriage, which has a formal piece of paper that identifies that the parties were married on a particular day, it is rare that there is any formal document recording the “terms” of the parties’ de facto relationship or indeed if they are even in a de facto relationship.
Marriage equality is at the forefront of many Australians minds. There has been debate surrounding whether de facto couples receive the same legal benefits as married couples in Australia. The short answer is, no! The most fundamental right that not all de facto couples have is the right to marry.
In 2008, the law was changed to give people in same-sex relationships the same rights and responsibilities as people in heterosexual relationships. The Family Court has greater powers, including recognising parents of children born through artificial conception procedures (“ACP”), non commercial surrogacy arrangements and children adopted by same-sex couples.
Since 1 March 2009 de facto couples across Australia have had substantially the same rights and liabilities as married couples in relation to financial and property settlements. Once a relationship becomes a de facto relationship, a Federal Court has the power to adjust the financial and property interests of the parties following separation.
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