Valentine’s Day – roses, chocolates and de facto relationships

by CLW Family Lawyers | Last Updated: Feb 14, 2020 | De Facto & Same Sex Relationships

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The roses have been delivered, the chocolates devoured and the relationship has gone to the next level. Young love has moved in! Enjoy the ‘honeymoon’ phase but take a moment to remove the rose coloured glasses and see with some clarity where your relationship is at. You may have entered the ‘de facto zone’ which comes with some important consequences (other than just someone not putting down the toilet seat!)

A common question we are asked as Family Lawyers is ‘my boyfriend has moved in; does he now get half of my house if we break up?’ It’s an important question to consider.

It is interesting that “de facto” is Latin for “in fact” or “in reality”. So in a relationship context, de facto means that despite no big white dress, you are ‘in fact’ or ‘in reality’ treated like a married couple. Under the Family Law Act, if you are in a de facto relationship, same sex or hetro, you share the same rights as married couples in relation to property, financial settlements, spousal maintenance and parenting arrangements for any children of your relationship. 

So when are you considered de facto for the purposes of family law? Broadly speaking, if you are a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis, then you are in a de facto relationship. If you are in such a relationship for a period of at least 2 years and that relationship breaks down, either partner may be able to approach the Family Court for a property settlement.

If you have any concerns regarding what rights your partner or you have under the Family Law Act, we can assist you. We can also assist you in protecting your assets should you be in, or entering into, a de facto relationship. Getting legal advice may not sound romantic, however, equipping yourself with knowledge allows you to focus on your relationship and not worry needlessly about what might happen if you break up.  

And if you happen to be going through a divorce or separation this Valentine’s Day, here are five quick tips to help you through what can be a difficult day:

  1. Share your love with you! Do something for yourself that you have been putting off.
  2. Make a schedule for the day and stick to it! Minimise your downtime and make some plans to keep your mind busy and positive.
  3. Exercise! Do anything from an intense gym workout to a long stroll. Get those endorphins pumping!
  4. Don’t isolate yourself. Surround yourself with others and try to go out of your way to help others – positive vibes guaranteed.  
  5. And take a social media break!

Happy Valentine’s Day from Clinch Long Woodbridge.


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